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Ghana: Rich in Natural Resources, Except for One

Imagine a country full of natural resources—cocoa, diamonds, gold—but lacking in the most precious one of all, water. Such was the case in mid-1990s Ghana, where four of the top five most common diseases were water-related: malaria, diarrhea, skin diseases, and intestinal worms.

A lake where cattle graze also serves as a playground and water source for villagers, causing waterborne illnesses.

The Approach

It Takes a Village

In 1994, the government launched a new national community water and sanitation program. A core part of the strategy, and a large part of its success, involved moving the responsibility for water management to local communities. This approach enabled villagers to feel more invested in developing their water and sanitation facilities. 

A Community Water and Sanitation agency manages the program at the national level, supporting small and medium enterprises and undertaking hygiene promotion. For example, the agency joined the global community in a "Hand Washing Initiative" in 2001.

The Impact

IDA’s Results
  • Supported the country’s program from 1994 to 2000 with a US$25 million credit.
  • Financed the Second Community Water and Sanitation Project in 1999. The project used a decentralized model and provided grants to communities and schools in four regions.
  • Assisted the government in developing a long-term, district-based community water and sanitation program that could serve as a common framework for other donor-assisted interventions.

By the Numbers

  • 795,000 people in rural Ghana now have access to safe water and sanitation services.
  • 2,014 communities now use and manage water and sanitation facilities that they planned and helped build.
  • 3,000 water and sanitation committees and 41 water boards were formed/trained in community management of water and sanitation facilities.
  • 42 districts (of 138) are actively implementing water and sanitation programs.

Learn More About This Project

More About IDA@Work In Ghana

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