To implement community-level water treatment businesses in communities of the developing world that are run by members of the community, provide clean water for residents of that community, generate economic growth, and empower women in the community.
We will be based in a rural community in Northern Ghana. During the first week of the program, we will receive training in water quality testing and water treatment methods. We will then spend two weeks implementing and monitoring a CWS water business in a village, providing a sustainable source of clean drinking water for 700-1000 people. We will train two local women to run the water business and give them the tools they need to successfully continue the business. To ensure continuity of the project, CWS ground team will regularly monitor the status of the water business after we leave. Monitoring of past projects have shown a 60-75% survival rate.
The majority of the 1.8 million people in Ghana do not have access to clean water. Many rural women must walk further than 15 minutes from their homes 4-6 times per day to collect drinking water from surface water sources called dugouts. These sources are shared with animals and are both highly turbid (there are many suspended particles) and contaminated. Such contamination spreads water borne diseases, especially diarrheal disease, which are the third leading cause of death world-wide. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 2.5 million children die each year from waterborne illness. In Africa, approximately 700,000 people die each year from preventable waterborne diseases.
Water purification techniques used in high-income nations are neither economically nor technically feasible in developing countries. According to World Health Organization, access to clean water is proven to increase gross domestic product in a developing nation by as much as 3.4 percent per year. Clearly, there is a critical need for inexpensive, site-specific and low maintenance water purification methods that will improve the quality of life in these nations. CWS's for-profit water business model focuses on providing access to cheap clean water while providing income benefits to the local women who run the business.