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By Lily Samuels ’11   Date: 12/20/10 Bookmark and Share

Sophomore's Goal: Clean Water for People in Ghana

Sanita Dhaubanjar ’13, who is raising funds to travel to Ghana during January to help implement a clean water system. Support her endeavor by donating online or by check, payable to Community Water Solutions, 46 Ledgetree Rd., Medfield, Mass., 02052 (include "Sanita Dhaubanjar" in the memo line).

Dhaubanjar and her team are hosting a fundraising Dinner Night in collaboration with India House and Thai Garden, two downtown Northampton restaurants that will donate 15 percent of designated proceeds to the Community Water Solutions project. To participate, print out the event flyer and present it when you dine.

The halting statistics tell an unfortunate story for people in Ghana, a country tucked in the coast of the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa. Though the country’s southern border stretches along the Atlantic Ocean, clean, drinkable water is scarce and largely accountable for the low life expectancy there—59 years on average.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2008, 9.5 percent of the deaths of children under age 5 in Ghana were caused by diarrheal diseases, which could have been easily prevented with access to clean water. At that rate, approximately 418 of the 588,000 children born in Ghana this year will die because of inadequate access to clean water.

Sanita Dhaubanjar ’13, an engineering major, aims to do something about the grim situation. Dhaubanjar will travel to northern Ghana on December 30 as a fellow with Community Water Solutions (CWS), a non-profit organization that starts water treatment businesses in communities in developing countries. During her month-long stay, she and three other CWS fellows will use their training in engineering to design a village-specific water treatment system and center for a community of 500-1,000 people in need of safe drinking water.

Committed to ensuring the sustainability and local ownership of the project, Dhaubanjar and her colleagues will also provide water treatment training and business management workshops for local women after the center is built. Even after she leaves Ghana, the local CWS branch will monitor the business at regular intervals to ensure the continuation of the project.

Originally from Nepal, Dhaubanjar is well-acquainted with the challenges that lack of safe drinking water can bring. “The little water we see flowing in our streams is contaminated due to direct disposal of sewage into rivers,” she says about her hometown in Nepal. “Even in the capital city, tap water is hard to come by.”

One in six people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water, according to WHO.

The deplorable conditions in her home country have inspired Dhaubanjar to affect change in Ghana, she says. “I have seen people struggle with changing the way things work in our communities, so I want to develop the skills to be able to encourage sustainable development as it applies to rural areas like northern Ghana.”

Fundraising for Water in Ghana

Global outreach has a price tag. To cover the cost for implementation of the project, supplies for the water treatment center and the team’s room and board while in Ghana, Dhaubanjar and her colleagues seek to raise $10,000 in donations. To support the endeavor, donate online or by writing a check payable to Community Water Solutions, 46 Ledgetree Rd., Medfield, MA 02052 (please include “Sanita Dhaubanjar” in the memo).

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