It is still early in the morning, but Cornelia Nketia, a
mother of four, is up and waiting in line for water. Six months ago, her
only option would have been to fetch the murky, brown water from the Asukawkaw River, a 15-minute walk away. Tainted
by the livestock that enters in slowly to drink and cool down from the hot and
arid December air, the river was the community’s water source for all household
activities, from drinking to bathing to washing dishes.
Cornelia Nketia mit ihren Söhnen Dominic, 11 und Ransford, 3
“We knew the water wasn’t clean and made our children sick, but
we had no other choice until this water center was built,” she says in the
local Ewe language, looking off in the distance.
Today, Cornelia and others can pay a modest usage fee for
clean, potable water, thanks to the water treatment center her community
received through The Coca-Cola
Africa Foundation and USAID’s Water and
Development Alliance (WADA). The alliance also provided improved sanitation facilities
to schools and households.
Water Made Clean
The water center, which opened in May 2012, sources water
from the same river, but treats it through a multi-step filtration process,
which meets World Health Organization (WHO) standards. Cornelia and other
community members arrive early each morning, carrying containers of various
shapes and sizes with their money in hand, ready to purchase clean water.
Das Asukawaw Wasserzentrum
The Asukawkaw water center, built and operated by
WaterHealth Ghana, sells water at 10 pesewas ($0.05) for 20 liters. As soon as the center opens at 6:30 a.m., community members begin to line up for this new, reliable source of water. Cornelia says that, on average, her household purchases
80 liters of water a day to use for cooking, bathing and drinking.
They also keep water stored in a large, covered metal drum next to their
“The difference between the river water and the water
facility is that the facility’s water is clean and safe for drinking and the
river water is not,” she says.
Changes in the Making
While Cornelia and others are ready to patronize the new
water center, some still continue to source water from the river.
Cornelia says these households know the water makes their families
sick, but that it will take time to change everyone’s behavior. For Cornelia and her household, the cost of
staying healthy outweighs the cost of the water. For others, it
will take time to see the situation through her eyes.
Asukawkaw is one
of 16 communities in Ghana that have benefited from these water treatment
centers financed by The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation and its partners including
USAID and the Diageo Foundation. Through the Safe Water for Africa initiative,
The Coca-Cola African Foundation is working with its partners to raise $20
million to build up to 200 of these centers in Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia.