Students and staff of the Ullo Senior High School in the Jirapa District of the Upper West Region have expressed delight at the commissioning of a mechanised water system for the school.
The water system, which is expected to significantly improve access to potable water for the students and staff, was funded by the Ghana Chamber of Mines.
Ullo Senior High School, which has a population of 1,062 students with the majority being females, has been grappling with the unavailability of water for over a decade.
Students have to walk for nearly two kilometres to have access to potable water; a situation, which had adversely affected teaching and learning in the school as well as the health and sanitation of the students.
According to UNICEF, Ghana has made significant progress providing access to improved water sources to 80% of the population. However, despite these successes, five million Ghanaians still use water from unsafe sources. Studies have also shown that the availability of water reduces sanitation related morbidity and mortality in, especially children.
Further, clean water for hand washing can reduce diarrhoea and pneumonia by up to 50%.
It is for this reason that the Chamber took up the challenge to construct the water system following a request by the Chief of Tuopare in the Ullo Traditional Area, Naa Basing Naa III, who lamented the negative impact of the lack of water on especially the female students. He applauded the Chamber and its members for what he described as “a humanitarian support” for the school. He indicated that he was particularly delighted for the students who will now have the “peace of mind to focus on their studies and compete with other schools for laurels in their final year examinations.”
Commissioning the project on behalf of the Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber, the Director of External Relations and Communications, Mr. Ahmed D. Nantogmah, stated that the Chamber and its members “continue to prove that sustainable mining is about people and their livelihoods. There is a need to, therefore, reiterate the fact that the mineral resources of the nation belong to every one of us and therefore it behoves the state to ensure Ghanaians benefit from the revenue obtained from mining.”
Mr Nantogmah urged the school’s authority to immediately form a sub-committee made up officials of the school – students and staff – as well as the local assembly to adequately maintain the facility.
Commending the Chamber for the project, the Paramount Chief of the Ullo Traditional Area, Naa Alhaji Baburonon Amadu Seidu II, stated that the facility was “first of its kind” in the community, and is expected to benefit the school immensely.
“After several attempts to provide water to the school, there has finally been a breakthrough to enable the students to focus on their studies,” he said.
He called on other groups to come to the aid of the community to support the development agenda of the people.
The headmaster of the Ullo SHS called on the beneficiaries to own the facility and use it as though it was built with their resources. “That way, you will not misuse it and will ensure that it is running as efficiently as possible.”
He assured the chiefs and people of their commitment to keep the facility operational through a regular maintenance regime.