Ghana – Providing water to the thirsty: international Salesian support for small rural communities

Ashaiman) – Water is essential for all living organisms. Its role is so vital in our lives that it is recognized as a fundamental human right.

Indeed, the United Nations has dedicated one of its Sustainable Development Goals to water, the sixth: “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”

Unfortunately, however, access to water, especially to clean drinking water, is a luxury for many societies across the globe.

The Salesians of the English-speaking West Africa (AFW) Province, in their mission of evangelization, education and social promotion, operate in over 50 villages and communities, with a population ranging from 70 to 3,500 inhabitants each.

These are, therefore, small or very small settlements, mostly cut off from the main cities, with a weak or non-existent roads network.

They are communities, that is, that in essence rely on streams or surface water courses for their water supply.Such water sources are perhaps up to 5 km from some villages and are not always hygienically safe.

In addition, most of them dry up during the dry season, leaving little, if any, often non-portable water. Thus the communities struggle and end up quarreling among themselves, and  also with animals, to divide what little remains.

For this reason, the Salesians of AFW are working to supply these communities with drinking water, thanks to the international support gathered by various Salesian Mission Offices throughout the world: “Salesian Missions” of New Rochelle, in the United States; “Misiones Salesianas” of Madrid, Spain; “Don Bosco Mission” in Vienna, Austria; and “Don Bosco Mission” of Bonn, Germany.

Thanks to this joint effort, 18 interventions are being carried out for the extraction of water, 11 in the Sunyani region, in the center-west of the country, and 7 in Tatale, at the eastern end, almost on the border with Togo.They are mostly wells with hand-pump boreholes (13), but there is also a water tower / tank, 3 mechanized borehole wells, and a mechanized solar-powered water pump.

Overall, these interventions are benefiting the lives of around 4,020 people in the area of Sunyani and another 3,430 in the Tatale area.”Provision of water, as well as a work of mercy, is integral part of our pastoral strategy based on holistic human development, respect for human rights and preventive pedagogy,” concludes Benson Osei-Savio Boateng, of the Office of Planning and Development of the AFW Province.

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