The Complex Problem in Ghana

The Complex Problem in Ghana

The warm morning sun rises early to a new day in Ghana, to the sound of familiar chatter around your dwelling. The women of one rural village are preparing to fetch water for drinking and bathing, as they do every day, so you join them. You are greeted with “Ɛte sɛn?” or “how are you?” which is a common greeting in Twi, to which you respond “Ɛyɛ” or “I’m fine.” On your walk to the water source, which is little more than a pond, you notice that some of the children are full of life and energy, but others seem sluggish and tired. You want to ask them, “Ɛte sɛn?” but part of you doesn’t want to know the answer.  

Rural Ghana

For Ghana’s rural population, life is not easy. Things we take for granted in the Western world, like water and electricity, are hard to come by. In a prosperous Southern village of Ghana, there may be several local teachers in a concrete school building. But in rural areas, especially Northern Ghana, there may be only one or two teachers in a structure made of mud and thatch roofing. In these areas, children usually only complete primary school because secondary school is too far away from their village. These children will instead join their families to fetch water, complete chores, and help with the farm. Many Ghanaians tend to fields or livestock for their livelihood. While agriculture employs over half of Ghana’s population, particularly in these rural areas, the farmers’ irrigation needs can upset the town’s already insufficient water supply. As a result, many farmers become displaced during seasons of flood and drought.

Migration to Cities

Urbanization is a complex trend occurring across the African continent. In Ghana, many people began moving towards cities in the 1990s during the presidency of Jerry Rawlings. Since then, Ghana’s government has successfully increased access to public education, healthcare, and WASH services in urban areas. According to the Radiant Ghana Guide, 93% of Ghana’s urban population now has access to clean drinking water. The massive growth of Ghana’s urban population has also come with a boost to the economy, mainly due to the development of Ghana’s oil industry (International Monetary Fund). But many people still living in rural Ghana have not felt the benefits of governmental stability. Ghana’s success is slow-reaching for the rural population, where only 35% of people have access to clean drinking water.

Illegal Mines

Noticing these desperate rural communities of Ghana, Chinese nationals have begun ‘moving in’ to operate illegal mines. Locals in need of cash will “galamsey”, or “gather them and sell” to the Chinese, who smuggle the precious minerals out of the country. This is exceedingly dangerous work. Many men either die in homemade mine-shafts or from exposure to toxic chemicals used during extraction. The heavy metals brought out by extraction during these small-scale mining operations have a large impact: they contaminate waterways, sometimes for entire communities (NASA). Because of the serious environmental impact of galamsey, Ghana’s government has taken a strict stand against this illegal mining. After deploying 200 soldiers to lakes and rivers in Central and Western Ghana, President Akufo-Addo said, 

“Mining becomes a danger to the society when, after extracting the gold, diamond, or other stones and minerals, the land is left degraded and poisoned with toxic materials.” (Reuters)

The success of Ghana’s government in standing up to these external forces again proves their strength and resilience. Still, the current situation is far from solved for the men, women, and children living in rural areas. These mines are hard to locate since they are on such a small scale. They are also hidden away in dense forests and sometimes only contain a few men per site. Often illegal mines are also scattered near legal mining operations. This makes the distinction between legal and illegal mining hard to spot. 

Oftentimes, we want to make a difference by setting goals for ourselves. Perhaps we promise to take shorter showers or turn off the tap. Unfortunately, being fully sustainable and waste free is unfeasible. The good news is that small changes make a big difference. If more people subtly changed their routines, it would make more of an impact than anything else.

Help Ghana 

Rural Ghana has a need you can help us fulfill. Interested in helping Ghanaians access clean water? You can make an impact on their lives today: we have several ways to help. If you want to receive more stories like this or have a question, fill out our connection form here. Go to our giving page if you’d like to become a water sponsor, are interested in championing a project, or simply give.

Haiti – Distributing Clean Water After the Earthquake

Haiti – Distributing Clean Water After the Earthquake

Haiti - Distributing Clean Water After the Earthquake

“The situation continues to be overwhelming and there is such a devastating need for even the most basic supplies.”

Our hearts are broken when we hear of all that is happening in Haiti. 

On Saturday, August 14th, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the southwest region of Haiti, reportedly resulting in more than 2,200 deaths and 300 missing. Response efforts were further complicated when just two days after the earthquake, a tropical depression lead to heavy rain and wind in that same area. The earthquake also comes a little over a month after the assassination of the country’s president, Jovenel Mose, on July 7.

We are thinking of our partners at God’s Vision for Haiti, Juska and Jona. They shared with us that the situation continues to be overwhelming and that there is such a devastating need for even the most basic supplies. They distributed water a few days ago and the response was frantic.

They are working with an international organization that has placed three medical doctors and a nurse on the God’s Vision for Haiti campus. They have also been helping with basic medical care and the distribution of water. 

Jona and Juska are also connecting with local organizations to ensure their efforts are coordinated as good stewardship of their time and resources is critical. 

Recently, they were going to check on some of their foster families and distribute emergency kits. They heard that two of their foster families’ homes have been completely destroyed by the earthquake, and that extensive damage has been done to some of the others. They are already feeling the weight of the work that desperately needs to be done in the months ahead. 

Aftershocks continue to be unsettling for everyone as they are still suffering from the trauma of the first ones. The relief work there remains at a critical stage and Juska, Jona and their team are working around the clock to meet as many needs as they can.  

With clean water being such a huge need in Haiti right now, Connect for Water is working with our partners to send water filters. We are also providing solar lights to those who no longer have access to electricity. But with such a huge and critical need, we need your help. Please partner with us. A simple water filter will make such a difference to those who are in desperate need. 

 

Haiti – Distributing Clean Water After the Earthquake

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US Southern Border – Providing Access to Hygiene Products

US Southern Border – Providing Access to Hygiene Products

US Southern Border - Providing Access to Hygiene Products

More than 1,119,204 migrants were reported to or found by border portal in the first half of 2021.

The United States is known for being a country of immigrants. Many people came to seek refuge from persecution and build better lives for their family. This is a theme that continues today for the United States. It is legal to arrive in the country and seek asylum. An asylum seeker is a person seeking protection that is not available in his own country due to past persecution or a well-founded fear of being persecuted in the future on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. This has been part of American refugee law since 1980.  

One of the most crossed borders is the southern border that separates the United States from Mexico. In the first half of 2021, more than 1,119,204 migrants reported to or were found by the border patrol. They then are kept in detention centers and their personal belongings are taken from them. One of the larger facilities in the southeast is in Donna, which at times houses up to 4,000 migrants who await their future. Once a border officer is satisfied that they fit the definition of an asylum seeker, they are approved and given a court date in their destination city. From that point, they are often taken on a bus and are dropped off on a street corner to find their way to that city for their court hearing. Once there, the judge will determine whether or not they will be granted refugee status.

When they come to the United States through Mexico, they may ride a series of trains, often referred to as “death trains”. Why? Because of the dangers of injury, victimization by violent crime and even death. Migrants see the risk as worth it because of government corruption, gang violence, poverty and violent crimes in their home countries. Many are seeking better futures for their children. The pandemic-related economic downturn and the pair of hurricanes that devastated Honduras and Guatemala last year only increased the already challenging situations.

 

Many near the border are sympathetic to the plight of these people and establish respite centers such as one run by Catholic Charities in McAllen,Texas. Centers such as this do the best they can, depending on volunteers and donations to help people get rest, food and clothes before heading on to sponsors awaiting them in different parts of the country. Several hundred individuals and families sleep on mattresses and share facilities in situations such as this one where there are four toilet stalls for women, a few showers and one table for bathing small children with wet wipes. 

As this is such a pressing current issue, our founder Lou Haveman, and his justice focused small group of friends, are headed down to the southern border to understand this situation better. They will be visiting this center where they will deliver clothing and other necessities. 

Our partners at Business Connect will support the team with one of Business Connect’s new products, the Crud Cloth. This cloth is essentially a shower in a bag that contains a terry cloth washcloth and a pod of soap and water. Once opened, the cloth can be reused again and again. This will be helpful in situations of limited shower access and desperate need. 

If you would like to partner with the team going to help those seeking refuge, please consider donating to provide Crud Cloths. This unique product will welcome families and individuals who have left everything in hopes of finding a better life in the United States. 

US Southern Border – Providing Access to Hygiene

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Uganda and Kenya – Building Water Filters and Water Businesses

Uganda and Kenya – Building Water Filters and Water Businesses

Uganda and Kenya - Building Water Filters and Water Businesses

Over 200 million hours are spent looking for clean drinking water each day.

(according to research by the United Nations)

With this in mind, We Make Impact is on a mission to co-create a world where everyone has access to clean water and no one lives in poverty. 

In Uganda & Kenya, they teach people how to build biosand water filters and water businesses, providing access to the skills, tools, and resources to build filters for sale in the community & break out of the poverty cycle. 

Within 1 week, a local entrepreneur passes the Filter Fountain assembly, maintenance, and sales tests through hands-on training with their experienced entrepreneurs.  

Over the course of a month, the entrepreneurs go through biosand and sales training to become a self sufficient and profitable business. We Make Impact offers ongoing support as they grow their business including access to our partnerships, raw material discounts, Knowledge Library, and many more perks. 

 This approach empowers Water Entrepreneurs to sustainably get more and more people access to clean water – creating jobs & a ripple effect of positive change!

Uganda and Kenya – Building Water Filters and Water Businesses

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Sudan and Ethiopia – Protecting Tigrean Refugees and IDPs with Clean Water

Sudan and Ethiopia – Protecting Tigrean Refugees and IDPs with Clean Water

Sudan and Ethiopia - Protecting Tigrean Refugees and IDPs with Clean Water

Protecting Tigrean Refugees with Clean Water

Recently, the Ethiopian government launched a military offensive against a rebellious regional government. Because of the war crisis in Ethiopia, there are close to 100,000 Tigreans that have been displaced. The conflict has created a great humanitarian crisis threatening the life of innocent Tigreans.

An area in eastern Sudan has become a temporary home of tens of thousands of Tigrean refugees who have fled their own country.

In the refugee camp, no clean water source exists. Refugees are sleeping in makeshift tents and in abandoned buildings, some even sleeping outside with no shelter. In many cases children and parents have been separated. Due to lack of safe water supply, the refugees have been suffering from water borne communicable diseases.

Yet we can make a difference in the lives of these refugees. By distributing water filters, we can save lives and help them stay strong during these difficult times. Would you partner with us as we come alongside the Tigrean refugees?

#HPN4Tigray

Sudan – Protecting Tigrean Refugees with Clean Water

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