Success Stories

Sr. Mary Lucy received a $30,000 grant to initiate Clean Water Filtration Project in her community.

Sr. Mary Lucy received a $30,000 grant to initiate Clean Water Filtration Project in her community.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank ASEC-SLDI for making this project a reality. Your gesture is not just charitable contribution but it is also an empowering opportunity. Without the support of people like you we would not be able to reach our dream.

This project is directly addressing UN Sustainable Development Goal(s):

Ensure access to water and sanitation for all Reduce inequality within and among countries Sustainable Cities and Communities Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Sister Mary Lucy Afful, SSL, a 2009 SLDI Graduate from Ghana, received a $30,000 grant to initiate Clean Water Filtration Project in her community. Through the SLDI program, Sr. Lucy Mary learned skills which enabled her to:

  • Collaborate and form a committee of experts on business practices and water filtration. She also engaged a female consultant to advise her on water filtration.
  • Obtain the proper licenses and certifications so she could begin filtering and bottling water. She now employs 4 people and provides 13 area schools & thousands of community members with clean water.
  • Run a small income generation project for local women living in poverty.
  • Help prevent any new cholera outbreaks. Before her project, the area experienced a severe cholera outbreak but has not experienced any outbreaks since her project began.

Sr. Mary Lucy shared her story in our annual 2015 Newsletter:

Louisville Filtered Water Project: Transforming a Community

by Sr. Mary Lucy Afful, SSL, SLDI Alumna, Ghana

The explosion of population within Kumasi combined with climate change are causing water scarcity, or lack of good drinking water, which is one of the leading problems affecting people in our community. Most of the drinking water in our area is from untreated water sources, and it often contains tiny disease-carrying worms and bacteria. This leaves many students in our schools and people within households at risk to water contamination and incidents of many life- threatening diseases such as typhoid, malaria, diarrhea, cholera and malnutrition. Most of the diseases that stem from unclean water are completely preventable if people have safe, clean drinking water. Many of the students in our school spend a great amount of time looking for water and this decreases the amount of time available for their education.

The issue of water scarcity prevents many young children, especially girls, from attending school and receiving their education. They are expected not only to help their mothers in water retrieval, but to also help with the demands of household chores that are made more time-intensive because of a lack of readily available water. Finding a reliable source of safe water is time consuming and expensive. When infected with these waterborne diseases, students and people within the household cannot contribute to the community’s productivity and development because of a simple lack of strength. Most of our local women within the household are burdened by scarcity of clean drinking water.

In our area, women are seen as the collectors, managers, and guardians of water, especially within the domestic sphere - which includes household chores, cooking, drinking etc. Because of these traditional gender roles, women are forced to spend most of their time each day collecting water. Their daily role in clean water retrieval often means carrying the typical jerry can, which can weigh over 40 pounds when full. This has health consequences such as permanent skeletal damage from carrying heavy loads of water over long distances each day which translates to a physical strain that contributes to increased stress.

When cholera broke out last year in Ghana, many of our school children and households were affected. We, the Sisters of St Louis, realized that one way of helping to curb the spread of cholera was to offer good drinking water; and so, the idea of filtered water production came into being.

Our water drinking project is about water treatment systems that will filter and chlorinate water, pack them in bottles, sachets and gallons, and supply them in the schools, hospitals and households within our community at an affordable cost. Many of these diseases affecting our students and people within the household will be reduced. The filtration device is designed to eliminate waterborne diseases, and as a result provide safe drinking water. Again the available clean water for women and children will translate to greater potential for education, and thus prosperity, power, literacy, hygiene, security, and equality. The project will be a source of income for the people in the locality who are facing problem of unemployment.

When the ASEC Sisters Leadership Development Initiative (SLDI) Alumnae Grant came into force in 2014, I was one of the pioneers who took advantage of this grant and, as a result, I can share on how it has brought smiles to the faces of many students in our schools, hospitals and the various households in our community.

One of the major achievements of this project, apart from eliminating waterborne diseases, being a source of income for people and relieving women of their burden, is that it is also helping us to solve an environmental problem. Children and women are encouraged to bring the plastic sachets and bags for recycling in exchange of filtered water, which is making them t environmentally conscious as they embark on waste reduction and litter prevention aimed at reducing the production of waste in the first place.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank ASEC-SLDI for making this project a reality. Your gesture is not just charitable contribution but it is also an empowering opportunity. Without the support of people like you we would not be able to reach our dream. Thank you once again for your generous support.

Sister Lucy Mary Afful, SSL Sister Lucy Mary Afful, SSL
Ghana

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