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In May, STEM ambassadors from an American High School in Philadelphia travelled to the rural Volta region to deliver their water filtration project with the goal of providing access to clean water for six of our partner schools and their community.

 

water-filtration

With a focus on solving climate change and environmental issues, the project started in October 2022, with the students designing 3D-printed water filters for the citizens of Jackson, Mississippi. For years citizens had to boil water or use light to dark brown water contaminated with pathogens due to the poor infrastructure in the city. The students distributed filters across the city, which fitted onto people’s taps, making the contaminated water clean and safe to drink. After the project’s success, and as an African-centred STEM programme, the students wanted to address the issue of access to clean water in Ghana and reached out to us to deliver their project to our partner schools.

In Ghana, more than 4.4 million people do not have access to clean drinking water including our partner schools, resulting in the students getting their drinking water from a water sachet- a heat-sealed plastic bag. As you can imagine, this creates a large amount of plastic waste that isn’t recycled, contributing to the 1.1 million tons of plastic waste produced in Ghana each year.

After a warm welcome of traditional Ghanaian dancing in the airport organised by the Philadelphia Eagles, the group arrived at our partner school, Rhema Abutia, where teachers from our other partner schools joined them. The group led a lesson where they taught the teachers and the students how to use a 3D printer to print water filters for the taps at the school. Once fitted, the carbon inside the filter removes the pathogens and microorganisms from the tap water, making it safe for drinking. The filters have given all six of our partner schools access to clean drinking water, which will help to reduce absence from school and plastic waste.

“My experience has been great. I have seen a lot of happy faces. We focus on sustainability in not only our community but our communities around the world. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity; I love it here.” Volunteer.

The group travelled by traditional boa boats to a rural village in Woe to give the villagers a water filtration system.

They gave the locals a demonstration on how to use the filtration system, pouring the contaminated lake water, which locals drink, into the system, shaking it and then letting it sit for 20 minutes. Once ready, the clean water was poured into bottles for the locals to enjoy and was welcomed with cheering and clapping. With many of the villagers spending their monthly income on hospital bills from drinking unsafe water, the water filtration system will not only give them access to safe drinking water but will also support them finically.

“The experience has been overwhelming. Hearing the cheers from the clean water, my mind opened up and looked around to see what else we could do. It’s limitless and so powerful what science, technology, engineering and maths can do. It is life-changing; it has ignited a fire in me to want to do more.” Shirley, Group Leader.

We are grateful to be able to play a part in the school’s goal to develop their students into global leaders to make effective changes in their communities locally and globally. We want to thank all the students for their hard work on this project and for providing over 3,000 students and the local community with access to clean drinking water, making a life-changing impact.

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