Safe Water Network welcomed former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, to its safe water station site in Obeyeyie, 40 miles north of the capital, Accra. He was joined by his wife, Nane, to mark the launch of two innovative Safe Water Network programs: a Tricycle Initiative to cost-effectively improve safe water delivery to increase safe water access; and a Container Program, designed to reduce recontamination once it leaves the water station.
Prior to Safe Water Network's 2009 arrival in Obeyeyie, its population of 2,500 drank contaminated water from the reservoir formed by the CO Dam. The people suffered from water-related diseases including Buruli ulcer. Today 85% of Obeyeyie's households purchase water from the station and independent post-launch surveys indicate a significant reduction in water-related disease, including a complete eradication of Buruli ulcer.
The Tricycle Program makes safe-water usage more convenient, increasing the likelihood of adoption. When more than 75% of a community uses safe water, not only does health improve, it also creates financial stability for the station, a critical aspect to local sustainability. The Tricycle Program features home delivery using two motorized carts, carrying twenty 20-liter containers.
According to Safe Water Network's head of African initiatives, Charles Nimako, "It was a great honor to have his Excellency and Nane, his wife, visit Obeyeyie to see how we work with a community to develop the skills needed to own and operate a Safe Water Station."
The Annans spent time with community members and the local operator who oversees the day-to-day management of the water station. At a short ceremony to launch Safe Water Network's new programs, the former Secretary-General said, "What is exciting about this project is that the approach is sustainable." He added, "This program gives me the hope that we can give clean water to all people around Ghana with determination and the kind of organization I have seen here today."
Nane Annan also addressed the crowd. "I am happy with the interest that women and children in this community have shown for this project," she said. "There is a strong focus on health and hygiene education. The tricycle and container program will make it even more convenient for them to access safe water."