Water is life and essential to health and food production. In Ghana, while some communities have free flow of potable water, unfortunately the same cannot be said for others. According the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Platform (JMP) 2017, 5.3% of the population in Ghana rely on water from unprotected dug well or spring. While 7.0%, rely on surface water. Even though it is worth commending Ghana’s efforts in achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target for water, much more remains to be done as “approximately 19,000 Ghanaians, including 5,100 children under-five die each year from diarrhoea, nearly 90 per cent of which is directly attributed to poor water, sanitation and hygiene”.http://www.ghana.gov.gh/index.php/media-center/features/1447-every-child-deserves-clean-water.
The Story of the Hiamankyene Community
In Hiamankyene, a predominantly farming community, access to potable water is a privilege and not a right. Despite possessing hectares of fertile lands, enough to cater for their agricultural needs, the people of Hiamankyene who are settlers from the Upper East Region have for decades lived with no access to potable water. This unserved community shares the same source of unclean water with livestock, a situation that has led to several deaths and sicknesses in the community, according to the Chief and the people of Hiamankyene.
In addition, there is no school and children from the community walk long distances to Brengo Presbyterian Basic school, where some of the structures are dilapidated, exposing the school children to serious harm. School sessions comes to an abrupt end anytime it rains due to the nature of the roads and the state of the school building, thus interrupting teaching and learning. Again, the children from the community lack basic educational materials to enhance their academic performance.
Implementation of Energy for Water and Education Project
It is against this background that Vivo Energy Ghana, the exclusive marketers and distributors of Shell branded products and services, has embarked on another people-centred sustainability project through a tripartite community development approach, to enhance the lives of the people of Hiamankyene community. At the same time this initiative contributes towards the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 4 and 6, which centre on Quality Education and Clean Water and Sanitation respectively.
Community Entry/ Feasibility Studies and Stakeholder Engagement
To obtain first-hand information and enable the company to design appropriate solutions to address these needs, Vivo Energy Ghana embarked on a feasibility study in the community. After the visit, a durbar of Chiefs, opinion leaders and representatives from the Mampong Municipal Assembly was held for further engagements. At this meeting, there was a resounding cry for help in the areas of potable water and education, and Vivo Energy agreed to help with the construction of boreholes and school resources for the children.
Vivo Energy Ghana provided the funds for the construction of the boreholes. In line with the company’s values of honesty, integrity and respect for people, the company’s staff voluntary contributed monies and educational materials towards the project. The Northern sector Shell Retailers also donated 1,000 Vivo Energy branded notebooks and 50 boxes of pens and pencils as part of their contribution towards the project. A contractor was subsequently sourced to construct two boreholes for the community.
Tripartite Approach to Project Implementation
The Energy for Water and Education Project involved a tripartite approach to ensure a broader stakeholder involvement, ownership and support for the project. In view of this, Vivo Energy Ghana provided the needed funds and logistics, while the Mampong Municipal Assembly and the community provided the technical supervision and labour respectively for the project.
Capacity Building for Community Water and Sanitation Committee (WATSAN)
A Water and Sanitation (WATSAN) Committee, including women, was formed to oversee the proper maintenance and management of the facilities. To enable them discharge their role efficiently, the Mampong Municipal Assembly, as part of their contribution towards the project, provided the relevant training for the members.
Addressing Sustainable Development Goal 6
Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Following the construction of the boreholes, a day was scheduled for the official commissioning and handing over of the facilities to the Hiamankyene community. As development partners, the Managing Director of Vivo Energy Ghana, Mr. Ben Hassan Ouattara’s first point of call in the community was on the Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. Thomas Appiah-Kubi and the Member of Parliament for Ashanti Mampong Constituency, Mr. Kwaku Ampratwum Sarpong to pay a courtesy call on them. At a durbar of Chiefs, government representatives, and Shell retailers, the Managing Director of Vivo Energy Ghana officially commissioned and handed over the two newly constructed hand-pump boreholes to Hiamankyene. The Honourable Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr. Simon Osei-Mensah, in a speech read on his behalf, reiterated the government’s effort towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by partnering with corporate institutions to deliver projects that respond to the needs of Ghanaians. The excitement on the faces of the community after the first water was pumped out was incredible – a dream come true, especially for the women and children.
Addressing Sustainable Development Goal 4
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Concerned about the educational standards in the community, well-stocked hand bags with educational materials were given to each child at Hiamankyene. Some of the books donated included Oxford English dictionaries, Ghana Education Service approved literature books, mathematical sets, exercise books, packs of pencils, pens and other educational materials. Children in the lower primary were also given a backpack each with stationery. With the only school in the vicinity in a deplorable state that poses a serious harm to the school children, Vivo Energy Ghana at a separate event, donated various building materials including cement bags, sand, roofing sheets, nails and wood for the refurbishment of the dilapidated classroom blocks of the Brengo Presbyterian Basic school. Brengo Presbyterian School was also a beneficiary of Vivo Energy Ghana’s sustainability programme. Quantities of notebooks, textbooks, storybooks, packs of pencils, pens, rulers, chalks, maths sets, sharpeners, and dusters among other things were presented to the school to assist teaching and learning.
Stakeholders Commend Vivo Energy Ghana
At the event, the Honourable Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr. Simon Osei-Mensah, in a speech read on his behalf, reiterated the government’s effort towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by partnering with corporate institutions to deliver projects that respond to the needs of Ghanaians.
“The Government is committed to realising the Sustainable Development Goals and one of the ways of achieving this is by collaborating with organisations like Vivo Energy Ghana, to undertake projects that positively impact our communities. I am exceptionally happy about this initiative and I must commend the management, staff and retailers of Vivo Energy Ghana for continuously delivering value for our communities”, he said.
The Honourable Member of Parliament for Mampong Constituency, Mr. Kwaku Ampratwum Sarpong expressed his appreciation to the company and admitted that the construction of the boreholes for Hiamankeyene have significantly reduced the cost for developmental projects in his constituency.
The Chief of Hiamankyene, Ayaabah Agurugu was particularly grateful to Vivo Energy Ghana for the boreholes, which is their source of livelihood and the donation of educational materials to every child in the community. “The books will greatly improve the academic performance of these disadvantaged children, who struggle to compete with their peers in the cities”, he said.
Vivo Energy…Becoming Africa’s Most Respected Energy Business
With a vision of becoming Africa’s most respected energy business, Vivo Energy Ghana strives to go beyond simply running a business to also serving communities – not just through providing high quality Shell products and services, but also through creating lasting social and economic benefit for the communities where it operates.
The private sector has a role to play in achieving the sustainable development goals and Vivo Energy Ghana is committed to playing its part as a leading oil marketing company to ensure no one is left behind. The Energy for Water and Education Project demonstrates our commitment to contributing to the social, economic and environmental development of Ghana and highlights the essence of our values of Honesty, Integrity and Respect for people.