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Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Supports Safe Water in Ghana

When the people of Atosale, Ghana were told that a second borehole would be built in their community, they screamed and clapped, smiled and bounced their children up and down on their laps.

The team from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF is briefed by Atosale community leaders.

The team from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF is briefed by Atosale community leaders. © UNICEF Ghana/Logan

I recently witnessed this joy when I accompanied a delegation from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to Ghana, where they met with UNICEF staff and saw firsthand the impact that the Foundation’s support for UNICEF’s water programming has had on children’s lives. The Foundation is generously supporting UNICEF’s work to bring safe, clean water to four countries in West Africa—Ghana, Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso.

The mood was already celebratory when the delegation arrived in Atosale, a community in Ghana’s dry Upper East Region, where one in five households lacks access to safe water. We were greeted by Andrews Atiisi, a local teacher, who explained the impact of a UNICEF-supported sanitation project, which improved the health of children and the whole community. But there was one thing still missing: adequate access to safe water. Atosale’s 950 residents share a single borehole, which requires people to make as many as five trips a day and wait up to two hours, just to fill a bucket with water.

Stephen M. Hilton, Chairman, President, and CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, met with UNICEF and local government officials in the capital of Accra.

Stephen M. Hilton, Chairman, President, and CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, met with UNICEF and local government officials in the capital of Accra. © U.S. Fund for UNICEF/Joerger

The importance of the borehole in the community is obvious and its maintenance is a collective responsibility. Every adult in Atosale contributes about 50 cents a year to support borehole maintenance, overseen by a volunteer-led management team. This feature of UNICEF water programs helps to ensure sustainability.

The women danced and sang, and the celebrations around the news of the borehole continued through the final farewell. I was thrilled to be a part of this joyous moment and—along with everyone at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF—am grateful for the generous support of the Hilton Foundation, which made it all possible.

One Comment

  1. Sarah
    Posted May 15, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    What a fantastic program! Water is so important, and now kids can go to school, for example, instead of walking to get water. I think people often don’t realize what a wide-reaching effect a simple thing like a water source has.

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