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NEW YORK — The Conrad N Hilton Foundation has awarded international non-profit WaterAid a total of $6.9 million, which will help 151,000 people access safe, clean water in health centers, schools and exceptionally poor communities in Ghana, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.
The programs cover three years and the investment will cover two areas. The first will focus on fixing water points in disrepair, addressing water quality issues, improving the skills of local people to maintain water points and ensuring safe water supplies for the long-term. The second focuses on ensuring health facilities in trachoma-endemic parts of Mali are equipped with basic water supplies.
These parts of West Africa have an extremely dry climate, meaning access to water is limited, rains are irregular and droughts are common. Those with access to water may find their water point stops working.
When people fall ill, the health facilities near their homes often lack access to basic water supplies. The current Ebola epidemic in West Africa has highlighted the hidden crisis faced by health workers and patients in the developing world and the urgency to address the lack of available clean water in health care facilities.
"WaterAid is proud to work with the Hilton Foundation on this new initiative. We are excited about the impact this work will have on some of the world’s most marginalized people through health centers, schools and poor communities. These people are often the last to receive water services: namely women and children, elderly people, those living with HIV/AIDs or disabilities and those with sight problems such as trachoma, caused by poor hygiene and sanitation," said Sarina Prabasi, WaterAid America Chief Executive.
These investments will see the rehabilitation of more than 250 non-functioning water points. Local people will be trained to use technologies such as GPS and cellphones, tools that can be used by largely illiterate communities, to monitor groundwater levels and maintain year-round water availability. In Mali, WaterAid will reach over 66,000 patients and staff at health care facilities with clean water for hand-washing and drinking.
“We look forward to working with WaterAid on this innovative and sustainable clean water program in West Africa,” said Steven M. Hilton, Chairman, President and CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. “Our partnership will reach some of the most vulnerable people in the world, working with local communities to create long-term technological solutions for safe, clean drinking water.”