Clean Water System, 2011

We are currently fundraising to build a water system that would bring clean drinking water to the village Naama in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, which is a community whose local river is contaminated with typhoid.

Our water well project is designed to bring clean drinking water to every single household in Naama, driven by the sustainable forces of solar energy and gravity. In addition to giving clean water to a community whose local tributaries are known to contain the typhoid germ, this pilot project will be a model for future water initiatives taken on by Sankofa.

The design is simple. After drilling a hole in a given location, a ShurFlo water pump will be dropped into the well and connected to an electrical controller (“Linear Current Booster,” or LCB), which will also be connected to two 12 Volt solar panels. This allows the pump to push water up to 110 vertical feet above its location. On the ground level, there will be a 30 foot-high water tower with a 1,000 gallon PolyTank sitting on top, to which the pump will deliver water. Through PVC piping, simple gravity will bring water from the tower to any location below that is connected to it. Our plan is to connect every household in the village to this system.

This project is sustainable for many reasons. For one, at a budget of less than $7,000 the cost of building it is relatively low. Second, solar power is well-suited to Ghana’s sunny, equatorial climate. Third, the water tower simply uses gravity to bring clean drinking water to every household. Fourth, Sankofa will maintain contact with the village and consult a solar contractor for any problems that come up, and we will include any issues in our research so we can improve the model. Fifth, for this particular project we have already procured the pump, the Linear Current Booster, and the solar panels. They are currently sitting in Naama, waiting to be built into a sustainable water system. Sixth, the model is simple and easy to teach, so local residents can learn it. In fact, Sankofa’s president has already given Naama leaders a tutorial on the solar technology used in this project with the equipment in Naama. Finally, this project is sustainable because the Linear Current Booster regulates the water level of the well, making sure the water resources are never over-pumped.

Once we raise enough money to build the water system, this project holds great promise for future water projects in the region. It will be a model for sustainability and alternatives to large-scale water development, which can often be harmful to the natural environment. At its heart this model is small-scale development that addresses a pressing need in many rural areas of West Africa. As climate change and water resources become increasingly contentious topics in international relations, this project may turn out to be a small investment with very big results.

Pilot Project, Summer 2010

Sankofa raised nearly $10,000 through generous donations and the sale of hand-crafted Ghanaian jewelry to transform a three-classroom structure, which served as a primary school and multi-purpose community room, into a sustainable seven classroom learning environment for students and the community alike.