Safe water transforms lives. It also lifts communities out of poverty; and yet 26% of the world’s population does not have access to safe water. Despite billions being spent and many well-intended efforts, 30-60% of all rural water systems are inoperative at any given time. Safe Water Network provides communities a pathway to self-sufficiency. They develop innovative solutions that provide safe, affordable water to those in need.
Founded by Paul Newman, Safe Water Network is doing important work to solve this water crisis. I’ve had the honor and privilege to work with the team. To learn more about what they do, visit their website.
Here’s a vignette of how Safe Water Network is transforming lives in Ghana:
Ama Amponsah, entrepreneur and chef, knows the value of safe water. In fact, she deliberately opened her restaurant near Safe Water Network’s Obeyeyie water station because she understood the value of using safe water to prepare food and to serve customers. She even makes sure that the villagers see her assistants hauling the water from the station to her restaurant to eliminate any doubt that the establishment uses safe water.
“Ama is our number-one customer,” says the local operator of the water station. “She uses it for cooking, washing, and drinking. And of course, all of her customers are served the water from our safe water station. She even makes the staff use it to wash their hands.”
“I moved to Obeyeyie to set up my chop bar when I heard that Safe Water Network was going to build a water treatment center there,” says Ama. “Because of the number of construction workers in the area, I knew lots of people would need food. I wanted to be close to the water station. Those who eat here are happy because they know where my water comes from. Sales are booming. Many people love my food, especially the banku and palm nut soup. I hope no one tells my secret to the other chop bar operators!”
Water stations need business owners like Ama to embrace safe water. Not only do such entities generate additional revenue for a station, they provide greater visibility to the value of safe water. In the case of Ama, her use of safe water in all aspects of the operation, from cooking to cleaning shows the value of safe water for both health and taste reasons. And because a respected member of the community is using the water, it carries more credibility and resonance throughout the local population. Finding other institutional users like Ama is an important aspect to the long-term sustainability of a water station.