Xylem Africa, a US-based water technology company, in partnership with Manchester City Football Club, has handed over two new water facilities to the Oguaa Football for Hope Centre and the English and Arabic Basic School in Cape Coast.
The water towers are fitted with filtration systems to provide potable water for 2,600 people daily and are projected to serve about 3,000 residents in the Essikafoanbatem and Dehia communities where they are located.
The facilities are also intended to improve sanitation and hygiene in the communities, reduce the incidence of sickness, and improve education.
The gesture formed part of Xylem Water Heroes Academy, a collaboration between Xylem and Manchester City’s global foundation, empowering young leaders in 10 cities around the world, to solve local water challenges using football.
Joleon Lescott, Manchester City legend and club ambassador, led the handing over ceremony at a football and water education festival at the Football for Hope Centre in Cape Coast.
Before the handing over, Lescott, together with Xylem volunteers, Play Soccer Ghana, partners of Manchester City and some fans of the club, built the towers on the boreholes under the supervision of Planet Water Foundation, a water NGO.
Mr. Vincent Chirouze, Managing Director, Xylem Africa, was optimistic the facilities would make a lasting difference in the lives of the beneficiaries particularly, in the areas of sanitation, health and education.
He said even though they had done several other projects on the Continent, the two new water towers were their first water project in Africa.
“The technology is simple and basic and so it is easy to use. We will make sure volunteers for Play Soccer Ghana are trained to maintain it to last longer for the younger generation too. The impact is very important to us,” he said.
Mr. Chirouze explained that football was chosen as a communication route for their education on water protection and sustainability because it was the most popular sports, especially in Africa, which communities could easily relate to.
Lescott, on his part, stressed the need to address water challenges through football, indicating that football was a universal language.
He said he appreciated the water situation in the communities better and was enthused not only by the purity of the water but also the accessibility which they took for granted in UK.
“I am honoured to join this visit to Cape Coast in Ghana alongside our partner, Xylem, and our amazing fan volunteers to see first-hand the impact young leaders are making in their communities through the power of football, and to be able to contribute to the building of the water towers, is an incredible experience.
“We are looking at sustainability and so we are educating the people on how to look after it. The responsibility cannot be on one person. It is a collaboration of everyone for the younger generation to benefit,” he added.
He urged young aspiring footballers to sustain their enthusiasm for the game to help them realise their dreams.
Mr. Chetan Mistry, Strategy and Marketing Manager of Xylem Africa, observed that water was critical to majority of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the lack of it resulted in disaster.
“Water is a finite resource and so we have to preserve what we have,” he admonished.
Mr. Franklin Asuo, Director, Play Soccer Ghana, said they were happy that thousands of people in Cape Coast, particularly school children, would have access to clean water through the towers.
“We appreciate the commitment of our partners Manchester City, Xylem and Planet Water. There are a lot of talents in Cape Coast. This initiative is an immense contribution to developing such human capital, and to realise more and more children pursuing their passion to the fullest, including football,” he said.
He said the football platform provided holistic quality education, championed water sanitation and youth empowerment, adding that since 2016, more than 25,000 young people in Ghana had been trained by Play Soccer Ghana, which operates in six Regions of the Country and many were gainfully engaged.