WaterAid Meets HRH The Prince of Wales on WASH Progress
WaterAid Ghana meets His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales during his visit to Accra, Ghana on ongoing progress in the WASH sector.
HRH The Prince of Wales, who has been President of WaterAid since 1991, examined a table top model depicting the charity’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Public Health (WASH4PH) project in the Upper East Region.
This work includes rainwater harvesting systems, a solar generator-powered water system, bio-digester toilets, a biogas-fuelled school kitchen and biogas-fuelled health clinic incinerator.
He also met five school girls trained as water, sanitation and hygiene champions, who went on to promote the importance of provision of clean water, good sanitation and hygiene promotion in their schools and with local authorities in Ghana.
The girls told how this training has empowered them to help change their schools and communities.
The children sang Happy Birthday and presented HRH The Prince of Wales with small gifts ahead of his birthday on 14 November.
The School Girls
Judith, 16, spoke about the difficulties female students face when schools are without clean water or decent toilets, especially when caring for themselves during their periods. Girls in her school often miss lessons during that time of the month if there isn’t a safe, private space to care for themselves.
HER STORY: “I was in class while my teacher was teaching and I felt the need to use the washroom. When I got up I found that my uniform was soaked with blood. My friend gave me a jacket to tie around my waist and I ran out of the classroom. But I found there was no place to change myself. I felt so uncomfortable, sad and embarrassed. I ran home to change myself. I stayed there for one week. When I came back to school I found that I had missed a lot of important topics and lessons.”
Sherifatu, 14, has taught her school’s pupils to make ‘tippy-taps’ for handwashing by reusing plastic bottles and filling them with soap and water. Washing hands with soap and water can reduce diarrhoeal illnesses by up to 50%.
HER STORY: “My school has no water taps and children were not able to wash their hands before eating or after using the toilet, leading to illness. I have taught the children how to make bottle tippy-taps to wash their hands whilst we wait for a more permanent solution. Also in my school we have observed the Global Handwashing Day. Now children are more able to attend lessons because illness has been reduced.”
Dorcus, 14, lobbied for a water connection at her school and has promoted the use of reusable bottles and cups among her fellow students at school to save water and reduce the use of plastic.
HER STORY: “Before my school had no water and we had to go around the community looking for water. We missed lessons. Now we have a water connection and we are happy with the facility.”
Lindiwell, 10, campaigned to encourage students to use new school toilets rather than relieving themselves outside the school compound wall.
HER STORY: “Formerly we did not have a toilet facility so the children in our school were going out to the community to use the public toilet. If they didn’t have money for the public toilet they were going for open defecation on the school compound. It was very smelly and the children were often ill. I asked them if they were happy with this situation and they said no they were not. Now the students are using the toilets and we are happy.”
Rebecca, 14, has led other students in collecting rubbish from around the school grounds, separating out plastic for recycling, to keep the school grounds clean and tidy.
HER STORY: “Formerly we had a huge heap of rubbish on our school compound, not just from our school children but also from the community around us. Now we have adequate dustbins so that we can collect the rubbish. We also educated others not to throw waste materials into our compound so now our compound is cleaner than before.”
The Country Director of WaterAid Ghana, Abdul-Nashiru Mohammed said WaterAid Ghana is honoured and delighted to meet His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, to have him to meet some of the children with whom they work, and to show some examples of their transformative work on water, sanitation and hygiene.
He noted that with about 10,000 children under five dying each year in Ghana of diarrhoeal illnesses directly related to dirty water, poor sanitation and poor hygiene, their work is vital and there is no time to waste in addressing this crisis.
“We are grateful for HRH The Prince of Wales’ support as WaterAid President in our quest to ensure everyone, everywhere has access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene as promised by UN Sustainable Development Goal 6,” Mr. Abdul-Nashiru Mohammed stated.
HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall are touring The Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria at the request and on behalf of the British Government to celebrate the UK’s partnerships with these Commonwealth nations on shared priorities.