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.
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.