Ensuring long-term sustainability of water and sanitation infrastructure interventions has long been a challenge in rural communities in Ghana. For years, significant investments in water and sanitation infrastructure have rarely translated to sustained access and use of services and achievement of improved health outcomes. Approximately 25 percent of water and sanitation infrastructure established in Ghana becomes non-operational after just five years, and a large percentage of the remaining facilities are either underutilized or diverted for other purposes.
Furthermore, organizations working in water, sanitation and hygiene are challenged by community initiative in addressing issues – rather than taking the initiative to address their own problems, many communities instead wait for a government agency or NGO to provide them with services.
The Ghana WASH Project worked to improve rural and peri-urban communities in the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene by linking up with communities, local NGOs, government agencies, as well as international organizations working in the sector. Through a multi-level approach, the project worked to build the capacity of local communities and organizations, and not only improve water, sanitation and hygiene, but also empowered these actors to continue promoting development well after the project has reached completion.
The project provided water and sanitation facilities for communities and their schools, clinics and households. In constructing boreholes, hand-dug wells, small-town piping systems, and supporting the development of surface water kiosks, the project ensured potable water access for thousands of people.
The project also improved community sanitation through the construction of household latrines and institutional latrines for schools and clinics. Rainwater harvesting systems, most of them in kindergarten, primary and junior high schools, provided hundreds of thousands of liters of potable water and ensured young children have access to clean water for hand washing and hygiene.
The project’s major goal was to improve access to safe and adequate water supply and basic sanitation infrastructure for schools, clinics and households and promote complementary hygiene practices to maximize the health impact from this improved infrastructure.