The Cost of Living Without Water

•August 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment


As the sun was setting, the girls and women picked up their water containers and started heading homeward.

They could see their neighbours inside the mosque just a few meters away from where they had queued waiting for the water selling vehicle.

Their neighbours were observing the sunset prayers. The water searchers would have been at the mosque with the other faithful had this water problem not arisen.

She stood still for a while and then started moving. She shook her head pensively and stood still again, as if to hatch another plan.

“Today, too, the water tanker failed to come. It is the fifth day in succession that it has failed to come,” says Memuna Adamansonya, a resident of Nima 441.

“Now it is almost nightfall and usually when the tanker does not come before this time, then it won’t come at all.

This means we have to go and look for water elsewhere; maybe from the Airport Residential Area or the Police or Customs Barracks near Airport,” she says, while holding her two yellow containers, popularly called “Kufuor gallons” in Ghana.

Going to look for water at those places would be expensive as she and the others would have to hire a taxi and pay between GH¢10 and GH¢12 per trip.

The 17-year old’s eyes well as she and her family experience their third week of living without water running through their faucets in her part of Accra called Nima, a vast sprawling world which is almost always in the news for all the wrong reasons.

“School is about to re-open and my mother needs money for our fees,” she says, explaining that her mum, a chop bar operator, nowadays had to either reduce the quantity of food to be cooked or not cook at all.

“In fact, her business is gradually collapsing because of this water problem,” says Memuna, who is no longer able to hold back her tears.

She blames government and vows to vote against the ruling party in the next general election by which time she will be 19 years old, a year after attaining her adult suffrage under Ghanaian law.

She likens the current water scarcity at Nima and other parts of Accra to when she lived in the village a few years ago. Memuna lived with her extended family in the village beyond Bongo in the Upper East region before coming to live at Nima three years ago.

Twice a day since she was a very small girl, Memuna had left her thatched homestead and set off down the hill to a nearby forest to fetch water.

She would fill a bucket with the precious liquid for her family to use for washing, cooking and drinking. It was a simple task as there was only one water source within a two-kilometre radius, which was shared by the whole community with their cattle, sheep and goats.

Memuna would step carefully on to a log bridging the stagnant green pool. She would clear a space between the thick algae, floating animal excrement, and hovering flies before plunging her calabash into the cloudy water. If she dipped her hand into the pool, it would emerge webbed with slime.

If she looked carefully at the pond’s surface, she would see bubbles emerging from the mass of parasites breeding beneath.

“You did not need any machine like a microscope to see those parasites. They were so clear to the naked eye,” she says.  

Sometimes, she and the other village children would see cattle led into the centre of the pool to lap up the water, defecating into it as they moved along.

The pool was the only place in the village where water could be obtained. “Our teacher told us at school that the water was unsafe to drink but we didn’t have any other, so we boiled it well before drinking”.

Though Memuna now lives in Ghana’s capital, the city’s constant water scarcity frequently reminds her of her native village up North – an irony in a country that has a vast supply of water.

The country’s massive lakes and rivers were previously replenished during the raining season, but nowadays people have no clean water to drink.

Across the country, a greater percentage of the population is forced to sip from rancid, infected sources or, die of thirst. Though government admits that water must be a priority, the usual excuse of limited resources is always given.

Experts say drinking from stagnant sources is the major cause of cholera, intestinal worms, skin diseases, hacking coughs, diarrhoea, dysentery, guinea worm and most of all, malaria; from ingesting the larvae of mosquitoes which breed in stagnant pools.

According to Memuna, “When we heated the water from the pool, a thick foam came to the surface, like the lather on a soap”. Though Nima’s water situation is not as bad as her village’s, she wants the problem addressed as soon as possible.

“Water is so essential in the household, everything we do, including ablution before we go to the mosque, is centered around water and without clean water, we would not survive here in Nima,” she explains.

Commenting on the Nima water situation in the June 2010 issue of the Africawatch magazine, Mr. Kwame Pianim, a renowned economist and politician who once chaired the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission said: 

“I live in the Airport Residential Area (a plush residential area) just about a kilometer away from Nima (mostly a relatively poor neighbourhood) where most of the people obtain water through secondary sources ; people go to water reservoirs and other river sources  with tankers and get the water which they then sell to the residents  of Nima.”

“The people of Nima pay three times what I pay for water in Airport Residential Area. I believe this state of affairs is not right and is unsustainable. So I wanted President Kufuor to support a move to increase these tariffs to realistic levels.”

According to 2009 UN statistics, one billion people worldwide, especially women and children, have no access to safe drinking water, while 2.5 billion lack access to basic sanitation services.

Ghana, a signatory to the UN Millennium Development Goals, will not meet goal number 7 which is ensuring environmental sustainability, including the provision of safe drinking water and good sanitation services.

“We are off-track as far as goal number 7 is concerned. For example, we still have individuals who use pan latrines and those who still go to the seaside to ease themselves,” observes Leonard Ackon of the Ghana MDGs/GCAP Campaign Secretariat in Accra.

Wearing a blue T’shirt with the inscription “Global Call to Action Against Poverty Worldwide Campaign,” Leonard, a former journalist, says “about six million Ghanaians (about a quarter of the whole country’s population) don’t have drinkable water.

Urban water poverty is increasing as a result of the pressure on accessibility of water, lack of funding and mismanagement of water.”      

Ghana’s Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Alban Bagbin, expresses worry about the fact that the country will soon run out of sufficient sources to provide potable water if the sector is not properly managed.

Water conservation is a great challenge in Ghana as efforts to sensitize citizens on the wise use of water have not been successful.

“It is regrettable that in the face of these challenges, many of us still splash our lawns and gardens and also wash our cars with expensively treated water that others queue and fight to get.

“Today, the quantity of water available to us per person has reduced to about a third compared to what pertained in 1960 and will further shrink to a sixth by 2050.

“I have come to the conclusion that we need to act decisively to implement certain proactive measures to ensure we do not mortgage the future of this country on the altar of expediency,” said Bagbin, who has been a Member of Parliament for the past 18 years.

An obviously exasperated President J.E.A Mills told BBC’s Bilikisu Labaran on Friday, June 4, 2010 on “Focus On Africa” that the criticisms against his government’s slowness in providing social amenities like water was misplaced because “people are talking as if I am carrying water and have refused to give them.”

He criticized the opposition saying, “Are they suggesting that I am moving at 10mph instead of 90mph? If water had been available when they (opposition party) were in power, we would not have been concerned with this problem today.”

According to Bagbin, a water quality monitoring and classification between 2005 and 2008 show that the water quality of some water bodies which serve as the main source of water supply for most Ghanaians has dwindled. The rivers Densu and Offin are amongst those of poor quality according to the 2008 report.

As part of measures to guarantee the quality of water bodies, government has announced its intentions to establish water quality monitoring units in all districts throughout the nation.

This, government says, will help to address some of the difficulties associated with accessing water nationwide.

 “We need no statistics to demonstrate the difficulties that many in urban communities face in accessing water on a daily basis,” said Bagbin during his Ministry’s turn at the monthly “Meet-the-Press” on Thursday, June 3, 2010.

By Sylvanus Nana Kumi

Business Guide, Ghana

West Africa Media Network for MDGs

The network is a group of journalists in West Africa who have committed themselves to promoting the livelihoods of the poor and marginalised groups especially women, children and the disable for the accelerated achievements of the MDGs.  

To learn more about how to create Global Change with a mission to provide access to water and basic sanitation to global communities living in extreme poverty.

The Cost of Living Without Water 

Please share & repost, The Mulago Positive Women’s Network of Uganda proudly announces a new fund-raising campaign – the sale of their handmade “BONO” bracelet to raise much-needed funds in support of families living with HIV/AIDS and extreme poverty in Uganda

•July 10, 2010 • 1 Comment

Global Change Inc. has accepted the invitation to repost from Facebook and promote the news release below from AGNES NYAMAYARWO , founder of The Mulago Positive Women’s Network of Uganda, who’s organization works on the front lines of HIV/Aids advocacy & program service.

Agnes Nyamayarwo said, “Here is the “official” press release for the MPWN “BONO” bracelets. This release went out to ALL the major news services so we hope that interested & influential news departments/reporters will pick up on our press release and contact us for interviews.We already heard from one reporter on Thursday so we are hopeful to… hear from more people! Please feel free to repost our press release around on yr FB pages & to yr friends. Thanks for your concern for our families.*”, Agnes Mulago Positive Women’s Network Announce Their BONO Braclet fundraiser to Benefit HIV+ Women in Uganda.  The Mulago Positive Women’s Network of Uganda proudly annunces a new fund-raising campaign, the sale of their handmade “BONO” bracelet to raise much-needed funds in support of families living with HIV/AIDS and extreme poverty in Uganda.  The money raised by these fund-raisers will be used by these families to educate their children and provide them with additional nutritional support.  The MPWN”BONO” braclets are made to celebrate the longtime friendship and AIDS activism between MPWN founder Agnes Nyamayaro and Bono (U2).  The Mulago Positive Women’s Network of Uganda 


Quote start“Bono 4 Agnes” – Bono(lead singer, U2) September 2010Quote end

(PRWEB) June 16, 2010  

 The Mulago Positive Women’s Network (MPWN) of Uganda announces the start of their latest fundraising effort – the sale of their “BONO” bracelet in celebration of the longtime friendship and AIDS activism between MPWN founder Agnes Nyamayarwo and Bono (U2).  

Each bracelet is crafted to have a white bead background with the word “BONO” in the center of the bracelet in black beads. The bracelets are approximately 1 inch in width and come in two sizes. The smaller bracelets are 8 inches in length and the larger bracelets are 10 inches in length. Each bracelet is available for a $10 donation to benefit the MPWN. For one or two bracelets, the S & H will be $5.95. For three to four bracelets, it will be $6.95. For every two more bracelets after that, people can add an additional dollar for the S & H charges if ordering within the continental United States. No state tax is applied.  

If ordering outside of the continental USA, please contact us about additional S & H fees.*  

All proceeds from the sale of the MPWN’s “BONO” bracelets as well as from all of the other traditional African craft items that the MPWN makes and sells at their website ( ) goes directly to the women who make the craft items.  


Last year, through their “UNITED FOR UGANDA” fundraising program ( ), the MPWN was able to raise over $7,000 for their membership – all HIV+ women living in extreme poverty in Uganda. The women use this money to provide additional nutrition and educational resources for their children in an effort to provide a better future for them.  

Since the inception of the MPWN website in February 2008 ( ), more than $12,000 has been raised to support these women in their efforts to engender a sustainable future for themselves and their families. It is projected that by the end of 2010, that amount will easily surpass $20,000.  

If interested in participating in the “UNITED 4 UGANDA” program, please visit our website at or call (512) 992-7782.  


The MPWN was started in January 2004 to address the special needs of HIV+ women in Uganda. Based in Kampala Uganda, the MPWN functions as a support network to assist its members in “living positively” with HIV/AIDS. The MPWN is affiliated with TASO (The AIDS Support Organization — of Uganda — one of the longest established and most prestigious African-initiated AIDS organizations in the continent.  

Agnes Nyamayarwo is the main facilitator of the Mulago Positive Women’s Network. She has often been referred to by Bono (U2) as one of the “heroes” of the AIDS pandemic in Africa. In 2002, during a trip to Africa, Bono visited with several members of TASO, including Agnes, and was inspired by her courage in her personal struggle with HIV/AIDS. Agnes would become a main speaker on the “Heart of America” tour with Bono in December 2002 which launched DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa — Agnes is also a main spokesperson for ONE, the Campaign to Make Poverty History ( where she continues to this day to advocate on behalf of the world’s poorest people. Bono continues his activities for Africa through DATA and ONE as well as through RED ( and EDUN (  


Agnes Nyamayarwo has been invited to return to the USA this October to participate in the “10-10-10 AllHumanity Charity Concert” scheduled for October 10, 2010 at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas as one of their “Global Goodwill Ambassadors”.  

More information on this exciting event will be forthcoming soon. Until then, please visit their website for updates ( ).  

From Agnes via  

You Made Me Believe In Personal Power Again

•June 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

You Made Me Believe in Personal Power Again - Photo credit:

How Poor Women Will End Global Poverty

•June 15, 2010 • Leave a Comment Global_Change_Inc @globalchangeme twitterAs CARE USA’s Helene Gayle wrote over the weekend, the centuries-old debate surrounding how to eradicate global poverty finally has one clear, compelling solution: focus on women. Increasingly, the UN, NGOs and even some governments are coming to the same conclusion — directing humanitarian aid toward women is the most financially and socially effective way to get results. To put it baldly, it gets you more bang for your buck.

This international consensus is evidenced by events in Haiti, where the World Food Program decided to hand out food aid primarily to women, because they’re less likely to become violent during food distributions or sell food rations on the black market.

A well-known African proverb says, “If you educate a man, you educate an individual. If you educate a woman, you educate a community.” From Afghanistan to Mali, this phrase’s relevance has been demonstrated time and again. When poor women are granted microfinance loans, they create successful businesses and give back to their communities. When they are provided with food aid, they ensure that the food fills their children’s grumbling bellies before they feed themselves. When they are provided with clean water and basic sanitation, disease rates in entire villages decrease.

In a region riddled by violence against women, Rwanda is one standout example of the progress women can make — if they’re only given the chance.

Continue reading ‘How Poor Women Will End Global Poverty’

Radio Interview : Global Change Inc. Megan Schiebe : Global Humanitatarian Discussions

•June 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment
Join Amy Allen, Development Director of and I, as we get into a fascinating conversation about a dynamic device known as the Hippo Roller. If you’re not familiar with the Hippo Roller, this is an incredible apparatus which can be used to transport water within rural areas where access to water is beyond exhaustive. Utilizing this apparatus is allowing young girls who would typically spend large portions of their day collecting water for the household, to now be able to go have the luxury of going to school, providing incredible leverage in accessing education. I wish more people knew about this apparatus so that we could look at unique fundraising ideas in building more units and distributing these globally. Don’t miss out on our show.

Global Humanitarian Discussions

Global radio shows feature interviews with passionate individuals implementing groundbreaking humanitarian campaigns around the globe. I am enticed by individuals who go out of their way to contribute themselves towards development projects globally, including projects stretching across oceans and continents within communities of people living very different lives.

Megan Schiebe is a self described, ” huge advocate for international volunteering. I firmly believe that if more people got involved with volunteering and discovered their positive contributions, it would allow one to see daily life events from a completely different perspective.”

Additional interviews on line include  : Common Hope , Stwittergy , Fly For Good , The Elias Fund , Our Global Victory and Search of Sanuk .

Hippo Roller Global Change Inc on Twitter @globalchangeme

Global Change Inc Hippo Roller South Africa Community Grants on Twitter @GlobalChangeme

Celebration News – Global Change Inc.

•June 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Celebration based 501c(3) charity Global Change Inc. makes $10,500 grant to promote gender equity and send girls back to school in South Africa, by providing access to water to global communities living in extreme poverty.   This work supports the goals of the UN Mellenium Development Goals MDG and helps break the cycle of poverty.  Check out the Celebration News June 2010

Celebration based 501c(3) non profit Global Change Inc. Provides Grant to promote gender equity in global communities living in extreme poverty


Global Change Inc. / Donates $10500 in April 2010 To Provide Access to Water in Rural South Africa

•May 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment
Lives Changed Hippo Roller Grant Clara Masinga April 2010 Grant Global Change Inc. - Hippo Roller South Africa Community Grant Program
$10,500 Grant Awarded by Global Change Inc. – Hippo Roller South Africa Community Grant Program

On April 12th 2010 GlobalChange.Me donated 105 Hippo Rollers to a village in South Africa. These 105 families can now transport just over 24 gallons of water per trip as opposed to the conventional method of carrying 5 gallons (42 lbs) per trip on top of their head. The Hippo Roller in these families will mean that girls will now have an opportunity to attend school instead of entire days spent collecting water.