Home to 29 million people, Ghana is one of West Africa’s most densely populated countries. Critically, handwashing levels remain dangerously low exacerbating the coronavirus pandemic’s effects in Ghana. According to the Joint Monitoring Program, only 41% of Ghanaians have a basic hygiene service of a handwashing station with soap and water. This means that even the simplest public health action - frequent handwashing - is out of the reach of the majority of the population. The problem is intrinsically linked to poor water services. Without convenient access to a reliable water supply, the use of water for handwashing is difficult and time-consuming. Additionally, physical distancing is not possible for populations with inadequate water and sanitation because meeting daily needs often requires queuing at rural and urban hand pumps or using a shared toilet facility.
As the Ghanaian drinking water sector remains riddled with grave challenges, the rural poor are the hardest hit, mostly concentrated in the Upper East Region of the country. According to the 2019 Ghana Malaria Indicator Survey (MIS), 49% of households in the Upper East Region must spend over 30 minutes per trip to collect water, as compared to an average of 6.7% in the rest of the country. Due to the significant time burden and physical strain in carrying water, water quantity is a challenge for many households that are far from safe water sources. Lack of access to safe water translates directly to a rise in waterborne illnesses that is responsible for: 70% of diarrheal deaths in children younger than five years of age in Ghana. Diarrhoea is Ghana’s fourth leading cause of death in children under five, responsible for 8% of child deaths.
Recognising our role as a key safe water enterprise in the Ghanaian rural water space, we have focused our COVID-19 response on rural communities in the country. Not only do we continue to provide sustainable access to safe water to over 50 rural communities, we have reached more than 75,000 people with handwashing trainings, soap, and zero-touch handwashing stations – the Maji Buckets. Our teams on the ground are working around the clock to shield the communities we serve from a potentially catastrophic virus outbreak – equipping them with clean water hygiene awareness and hand hygiene essentials.
Ghana Water Facts
Our work contributes directly to SDG 6.1, helping to achieve universal access to basic drinking water from an improved source with collection time under 30 minutes for a roundtrip. Click on the interactive map to see the GPS location of each kiosk we operate in Ghana.