A community in the eastern Akim district of Ghana has access to safe water again, after the Ghana Red Cross Society rehabilitated its failing water systems.

For more than two years, around 3,000 people in the community of Akooko were at risk of disease and thirst after their groundwater-based piped system, which was built in 2008, broke down.

The Ghana Red Cross Society engaged the government’s Community Water and Sanitation Agency to restore the system as part of a water, sanitation and hygiene project funded by Nestlé.

Akooko now has a mechanised borehole capable of producing 192,000 litres of clean water per day, distributed through eight standpipes located strategically within community for easy access. This translates to 65 litres per person per day, well above the minimum standards of 15 litres per day for a population of 2,924 people.

The Ghana Red Cross handed the system over the community on 8 May – World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day – at a ceremony attended by the traditional chief and community elders, senior management and representatives from the National Society and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and senior government officials.

It will be operated and managed by a trained water and sanitation management team led by an operations manager from the Ghana Red Cross.  

Uli Jaspers, IFRC’s head of water, sanitation and hygiene, said: “Having the Ghana Red Cross as part of management structure of the community water scheme is a new approach in our efforts to improve accountability, and hence ensure the sustainability of water infrastructure.

“It is only through innovative approaches like this that we will achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” he added.

Residents note that their community has become cleaner since the system was repaired, with less plastic and waste flowing in the street. “A cleaner village is better for my kids,” said Georgina Asari, adding that community life will become easier and safer with the new water supply. Previously, villagers had to cross the main road to draw water from a source that regularly failed during dry seasons, and became contaminated during rainy seasons.

Akooko is one of 50 communities being supported by the Ghana Red Cross Society with funding from Nestlé. The project is part of a long-term partnership between Nestlé’s Creating Shared Value concept and IFRC’s Global Water and Sanitation Initiative that began in 2002.