Helmsley Charitable Trust Launch Program to Improve Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Ghana

Posted by
Jeff Greene
9 March 2022
Individuals, Employees and companies, Ghana, Water, Partnership, Education, Hygiene, Girls and women
FEO CHPS health centre in Bongo district, with midwife Margaret Awovunga. Ghana, December 2019
Image: WaterAid/ Apag Annankra

March 9, 2022 (New York, NY)—WaterAid and The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust announce the launch of a two-year program to reach more than 12,000 people with access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene in Ghana.

With a $900,000 grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust, WaterAid will support the government of Ghana by responding to operational gaps in water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure in the Bongo District, improving water coverage in three healthcare facilities, local schools and communities. Through this program, WaterAid will directly reach 12,000 people with access to safe water and decent toilets in healthcare facilities and schools, and indirectly reach 185,000 people nationally with hygiene messaging. This grant will strengthen essential infrastructure in the region and put local systems in place to maintain and scale progress. Key activities include:

  • improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene in three healthcare facilities and their local communities
  • strengthening capacity of 30 local, citizen-led water and sanitation teams
  • supporting the Ghana Health Service to deliver hygiene awareness campaigns across 10 communities and healthcare facilities
It is essential that we increase access to clean water and improve the quality of healthcare services for those who need it most in Ghana. We are learning from local communities what underlying problems are preventing progress and enabling government support at all levels to create lasting change.
Walter Panzirer, a Trustee of the Helmsley Charitable Trust

Access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene are basic human rights, but 5.5 million people across Ghana still lack access to these services due to system failures. This project will empower citizens to demand their rights, build strong and accountable public institutions, and demonstrate how sustainable access to water, sanitation and hygiene can be delivered at scale.

We're honored to have a longstanding partnership with the Helmsley Charitable Trust to address systemic barriers to water, sanitation and hygiene services in Ghana and beyond. We’re working hand in hand with communities and the government to find long-term solutions that can scale throughout the country. We won’t leave anyone behind.
Kelly Parsons, CEO, WaterAid America

This project builds on the success of ongoing partnerships with the Helmsley Charitable Trust and WaterAid in Zambia and Burkina Faso. These programs support communities, schools and healthcare facilities to manage, operate and sustain clean water systems. Healthcare facilities and staff, as well as local authorities, will then continue to build and improve governance, infrastructure, and services at the local, district, and national levels.

We’ve been waiting to see this happen and the wait has been well worth it. This shifts the way we do things to create greater change. We will continue our work with all stakeholders including the government to ensure that sustainable and safe WASH is accessible to everyone, everywhere in Ghana.
Kate Kumi, Acting Country Director, WaterAid Ghana

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust   

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $3 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. 

WaterAid is an international nonprofit working to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene a reality for everyone, everywhere within a generation. WaterAid works in more than 30 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalized people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 28 million people with clean water, 28 million people with decent toilets and 26 million people with good hygiene.


  • 750 million people in the world – one in ten – do not have clean water close to home.
  • Two billion people in the world – almost one in four – do not have a decent toilet of their own.
  • Around 310,000 children under five die every year from diarrheal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's around 800 children a day, or one child every two minutes. 

Every $2 invested in water and toilets returns an average of $8 in increased productivity.

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