GV students raise funds for effort to bring clean water to Ghana

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

Sarah Wiltenburg

Running water is is a luxury that most people in the United States take for granted. However, in other parts of the world such as Ghana, clean water is recognized as a precious commodity. Three Grand Valley State University seniors took it upon themselves to try to clean up the water in one village in Africa and are already more than halfway to raising the money for their goal.

Uma Mishra, Annie Hakim and Amanda Clark have sent letters requesting donations and put together fundraisers with the goal of raising $7,000 by the end of May for their cause to get clean water in Ghana.

“After extensive research, attendance at clean water conferences, spending a month in Ghana last summer and regular communication with Ghanaian city and nonprofit leaders, we have designed an action plan that will address the immediate need of clean water provision for as many as 300 people,” Clark said. “This project will also plant a seed for the expansion and sustainability of this endeavor in the future.”

For Clark, the GV-Ghana Clean Water Initiative turned into her GVSU Honors College senior project. For Hakim and Mishra, the journey is just beginning. They will travel to Ghana to work with the people of Winneba to implement these water filters. They will also work with the villagers to increase their knowledge and understanding of sanitation and public health.

The plan for GV-Ghana Clean Water Initiative includes raising enough money and sponsorship to provide 30 filters for the village of Winneba. Clark said each filter installed provides enough water for 8 to 10 people for approximately 10 years. These filters are low maintenance and use only natural resources to purify water collected from an existing contaminated source.

The seniors need to raise $7,000 to fund their plan and are currently at $4,000. The first $3,000 was raised in just nine days.

“We have been reaching out to everyone that we know, holding fundraising events and just talking about the project,” Clark said. “You would be surprised at how excited people get about clean water and how through conversation, people are willing to pledge money to our cause.”

In April, the group held two fundraisers on campus at GVSU.

“The April events turned out pretty well,” Clark said. “We were able to raise approximately $500 between the two GVSU events. There was also an event that a friend put on in Petoskey that raised approximately $200.”

If interested in giving a last-minute donation, contact Amanda at [email protected].

“What is so unique about monetary contributions to this project is that there will be no middleman or distribution of funds within an aid organization; your money will go directly to purchasing, shipping, and installing the filters,” Clark said. “The students traveling to Ghana to facilitate this process, alongside the villagers of Winneba, will be paying out of pocket.”

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