The Royal Bank Foundation quenches thirst of deprived communities
The drums beat, the women sang and danced heartily, and at a stone’s throw, children happily filled their buckets with water from a borehole. It is an end to an agonising long walk to muddy, and sometimes dry streams in search of water.
In Kukuo in the Nanumba South District of the Northern Region, the newly inaugurated borehole also marks the end to snake bites and lateness to school; thanks to The Royal Bank (TRB) Foundation which provided the borehole to the people of Kukuo and surrounding communities.
These women and girls, according to experts, bear many risks including, the physical strain from carrying the water, resulting in a higher risk of spinal injury, uterine prolapse, rheumatism hernia and spontaneous abortion.
The Chairman of TRB Foundation, Rev F. Asogba Cofie (right), handing over a calabash of water to the Chief of Kahaa in the Upper West Region
Kukuo is one of the 61 communities and a school that have benefited from the boreholes the foundation has drilled under a project called ‘Water for Life’.
Pupils of Tikarini EP Primary taking their turn to pump water from the boreholeThis year, 11 communities in the Northern Region, 20 in the Upper East, 18 in the Upper West have benefitted from the project, while another at the Tema Secondary School is expected to be completed before the end of the year.
Other schools that benefitted are the TI Ahamadiya SHS at Fomena and Bonwire senior high school (SHS).
The remaining eight are in the Volta, Eastern and Greater Accra regions.
Nalerigu community fetching water from a TRB Foundation funded boreholeIn 2015, the foundation dug 42 boreholes throughout the country. It spent GHȼ1.3 million on its activities that year.
The foundation carries out the CSR activities in four thematic areas, namely water and sanitation, education, culture and sports.
Its activities are supervised by an eight-member Board of Trustees led by Rev. Faustell K. Asogba Cofie.
Access to clean water is essential for reducing common and sometimes deadly water-borne diseases in rural areas with no potable water.
Statistics suggest that Ghana met the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target of halving the proportion of the world's population that lacks sustainable access to safe drinking water in 2010 — five years ahead of schedule.Mr John Ackom, Deputy Managing Director - Wholesale Banking, presenting sanitation equipment to African EnterpriseBut tales from rural communities in the country, however, point to more investments in delivering water to many communities across the country, a challenge TRB has taken upon itself to support.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, the Head of Operations of the Foundation, Dr Kwame Baah-Nuakoh, said 2016 had been good for the foundation which was on course to achieve all its targets for the Water for Life project which was the key focus of the foundation.
“By and large, the foundation has been able to achieve its target. The target is to build at least 60 boreholes in communities across the country annually. We are on target to construct 61 because we received a distress call from a SHS in Tema and we are sure to complete it this year,” he said.
With more than 100 boreholes across the country in its name, Dr Baah-Nuakoh believes that the foundation was making a huge impact on access to potable water in underprivileged communities.
“It is important to know the kind of water they were drinking prior to the foundation’s intervention and what the project has done to their livelihoods and lifestyles. The impact is immense also because it spreads across a wider geographical area and a lot more people benefit, especially the farming communities,” he stated.
Dr Baah-Nuakoh maintains, “If women have to travel several kilometres to fetch water, it means several hours of precious time are wasted looking for water and if you bring better quality water close to them, it reduces the number of hours wasted and drastically cuts the possibility of contracting water-borne diseases,” he said.
Ms Emelia Djan, a resident of Oduntia, a beneficiary community in the Ga West Municipality, admitted; “We no longer use the Densu River. Our children got sick when we were using the Densu, but ever since we started drinking from the borehole we have not recorded any cholera case,” she said.