According to the 2017 Joint Monitoring Program Report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, more than 3 million people do not have access to improved water source and almost 8 million people do not have access to improved sanitation in Ghana. Already helping to address this, Nestlé has partnered with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to increase access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene for 76,300 people in 50 cocoa producing communities of the Eastern and Ashanti regions of Ghana. This initiative is in line with Nestlé’s ambition to help improve 30 million livelihoods in communities directly connected to its business activities.
Established in 2002, this partnership is inspired by the vision of the IFRC to improve the health of vulnerable and rural communities and Nestlé’s purpose of enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future. The project seeks to provide access to health and hygiene education services, including provision of water supply and sanitation facilities for more than 50,000 people. In order to ensure proper management of facilities and knowledge transfer, the project will improve the capacity to manage and maintain WASH services of 1,300 staff, key stakeholders and community volunteers by 2018.
The joint project named, “Gha-WASH” (for Ghana Water Sanitation & Hygiene) is implemented with the support of Community Water and Sanitation Agency and other district-based agencies in Ghana. Since the start of the project, over 14,000 people have been provided access to safe drinking water, while 5,550 now have access to readily available latrines. In total, close to 40,000 adults and 14,000 children have participated in health and hygiene education activities.
According to Nana Kwame Opoku, Deputy Chief of Katapei a farming community in the Ashanti Region, “two school toilets and two hand pump facilities provided have helped to reduce water borne diseases in this community thanks to the education by your volunteers. We thank you for locating Katapei though it is in the outskirts of town.”
This week, Nestlé and the IFRC have undertaken a monitoring mission in targeted communities.
Freda Duplan, Managing Director of Nestlé Ghana said: “improving the health of the farming communities where we source our raw material is central to our Creating Shared Value approach which aims to ensure that that both these communities and our company thrive and grow together sustainably. Our partnership with IFRC enhances our collective capacity to influence positively the lives of vulnerable people and contribute to the country’s efforts to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, related to nutrition, water, rural development, human rights, compliance and environmental sustainability.
Robert S M Fraser, Senior Officer, WASH, IFRC based in Geneva present during the mission trip said, “I am pleased to see the realization of our partnership with Nestlé making remarkable impact in addressing WASH needs in Ghana. This is attributed to the commendable partnership between Ghana Red Cross, community leadership and local authorities as implementing agencies. IFRC and Nestlé will continue to engage and support our partners to strengthen their capacity and scale up our Global WASH Initiatives in support to the most vulnerable”.
The Gha-WASH contributes to achieving the SDG Goal 6: “ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all:”