Safe Water, Health & Hygiene

Safe water and sanitation are helping to provide improved health and wellbeing for schools and communities. This work is carried out in remote, relatively sparsely populated regions into which the major charities do not penetrate. Our trustees are from a range of professional backgrounds which together constitute considerable design, costing, planning and management capability which has produced a successful delivery and track record of water boreholes, dry pit latrines and sand dams.

In early 2015 we designed and funded West Africa’s first sand dam in Upper West Region, Ghana. It is a sub-surface dam and is thereby robust and unaffected by flash flooding. It retains some 4.5 million litres of water within the upstream sand; the water can be scooped or pumped and is replenished by percolation, through the sand, from higher up the catchment. The water table on both sides of the dam has risen and vegetables can be cultivated on what was previously arid land. The community provided all labour to build the dam by hand under the supervision of Ghana Outlook and its partners.

Over 20 water boreholes have been drilled for communities without access to safe water. Boreholes are drilled to reach an aquifer from which water is pumped to the surface. Ghana Outlook therefore insists that, where a hand pump is to be installed, the community signs a written agreement to set up a management team which will only allow the borehole to be used for two short periods each day; one in early morning and one just before dusk. This allows the aquifer to recharge between periods of water extraction. Where electricity is available, a mechanised pump with electric motor and with a cut-off switch activated by a fall in yield is specified. A polytank with taps is included, into which water is pumped automatically when the yield permits. None of our boreholes have failed.

Dry pit latrines are usually appropriate for schools and offer a safe and odourless solution to open defecation which, apart from hygiene and dignity considerations carries the risk of attach by snake, scorpion and wild animals. Multi-cubicle blocks are built, each cubicle having two pits vented by a pipe which contains any flies, thereby trapping a major cause of disease.