Managing Water: Ghana
Water in Africa
- Africa, Ghana
by Sasha Bennett, Bongo-Soe, Ghana
The official manager of the borehole is called the "Pump Management Team." The team consists of seven to nine members, three or four of whom are women. They are in charge of making sure the surrounding area is clean, and two members are trained to fix boreholes should anything dire happen.
In my opinion, it is the women who manage the borehole. It is the women who come out every day to pull out weeds between the rocks and around the concrete slab. It is the women and children who fetch water to bring to their homes. Men do not take part in fetching water and say it is "women's or girl's work."
by Molly Campbell, Amisano, Ghana
In Amisano, the women and children usually get water at the seminary borehole (about a quarter of a mile from the center of the village), at one of the three wells, at the river, or through the pipes. Villagers, however, have to pay for piped water (40 cedis, or about three cents a bucket), so not many use this. Farmers do not irrigate; they depend on the rainy season year after year. If a drought occurs, the crops die and there is no food to eat or sell. In the Peace Corps Project Nursery we hand-water during the dry season—each tree (there are thousands of them) getting a small "drink," one cup of water at a time.
by Nell Todd, Mafi-Dove, Ghana
Mafi-Dove has a water and sanitation committee, which is in charge of all water facilities. They also work on health education and improving sanitation in the town. As a water and sanitation Peace Corps Volunteer, I work directly with this committee. A member of the committee is a trained caretaker of the pumps. The committee has also set up a pump-maintenance fund for all upkeep and repairs.
Women usually weed around the boreholes. Women are also in charge of the water in their homes.
Farmers in Mafi-Dove depend on the rain unless they are nursing red pepper near their homes. There are no irrigation systems and farmland is often far from people's homes.
by Amy Wiedemann, Gbefi, Volta Region, Ghana
Women and children bear the burden of keeping their households supplied with water, through numerous daily trips to and from the borehole or river. Rainfall is so plentiful in my area that there really isn't an issue of community management, as there is in communities that face drought. Farmers, in times of plentiful rain, deal with the threat of rot, the need for suitable drainage, etc. During times of little rain, they face the enormous task of hauling bucket after bucket of water to save their parched crops. Regrettably, there are no irrigation systems.
by Steve Tester, Odumase-Krobo, Ghana
Water management is truly the responsibility of the woman in almost all Ghanaian households. If the water barrels are low then it is a woman who tells the children to haul water (by bucket) from whatever the source back to the house. Children are truly the labor force for "menial" tasks in Ghana.
by Chris Botzman, Akome, Volta Region, Ghana
Adam Akude and Sama Aklaw are responsible for checking the streams for being clean. If the weeds are getting too big, they get someone to cut them. The children are responsible for getting water from the borehole and filling the water barrels at the house.
by Michael Nelson, Gbani, Northern Region, Ghana
Traditionally, it is the women of Gbani who have been in charge of managing the water supply. Occasionally, they call in men to assist in cleaning debris from the stream or digging from the stream or digging new water holes along the streamside.
As a Water and Sanitation Peace Corps Volunteer, I have helped alter and expand on that. In Gbani, we have created the Gbani Water and Sanitation Committee, a group of five women and four men charged with leadership, accounting, and proposal writing. And I think it has been successful. Our first well is almost finished and two more are on the way, all on the community's initiative. Additionally, the committee has initiated a community farm (of soybeans and groundnuts) to raise money for future projects.