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The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

Dig a Water Hole. Improve Thousands of Lives. Rinse. Repeat.

Change has come to Pamdu, a close-knit community in southern Ghana.

Suleiman's Story

750 million people around the world lack access to clean water. It’s a big challenge, but communities are meeting it head-on with big solutions.

Globally, women and children spend 140 million hours collecting water every day. In Pamdu and Paninamisa, every day – and every life – is now freed up to accomplish so much more.

Our story begins with 16-year old Suleiman Ibrahaim, a young man who is no longer missing classes at school. What accounts for his improved attendance rate? It’s not a new school. It’s not better teachers. It’s actually something as simple as water.

The digging of a new mechanized borehole now provides drinkable water to the 4,500 residents of Pamdu and its neighboring community of Paninamisa. It may not be immediately clear how clean water results in less absenteeism at school, but if you look closer, it suddenly makes perfect sense. Residents like Suleiman used to walk for hours every day on dangerous roads to collect drinkable water, cutting into time better spent learning in the classroom. Before the borehole, the alternative was drinking from stagnant water, the source for many contagious diseases. Just ask 56-year old Opanin Ayisi, who has noticed a lot less people being treated for waterborne diseases since the digging of the borehole.

Suleiman’s story is a perfect example of how health and education are intrinsically linked together. It’s stories like these that form the foundation for United Way’s entire approach to lasting community change. We work with partners to tackle the source, not just the symptoms, of a community challenges. And rather than focusing on one issue, we’ve adopted a holistic approach to strengthening communities, because we understand that the modern world has complex challenges that require multi-faceted solutions.

Far-reaching Impact

Every little bit goes a long way. On average, every $1 invested in water and sanitation results in a $4 economic return.

The same clean water that’s fueling improvements in education is also having a positive effect on Pamdu’s economy. Recently, 35-year old Mercy Mensah started a new job as a cook. No longer forced to walk long distances every day to collect water, she is pursuing a career and getting on more solid financial ground. 

Our story about education turns out to be a story about health and financial stability as well. It’s this bigger picture that drives United Way’s worldwide movement. And we’re getting results. The borehole developed by United Way Ghana and partners represents the kind of long-lasting change that lifts up a whole community, and proof that every problem has a solution if you dig deep enough.