Author: Adrian

Glorious Leos from Cambridge High School New Zealand contribute.

A group of students at Cambridge High School in New Zealand have joined the international charity The Leos. It is a junior branch of the Lions Clubs. Their main aim is to do charitable works for others in society. For the last three years they have chosen to help with three of our projects in the Volta Region of Ghana. They have raised funds to help towards roofing two toilet blocks and now to pay for the geological survey to identify where to drill a borehole so the community of Gbedema Kofe near Ho can access clean water.

Here is a series of slides showing who they are , what they do and how they help.

Thank you Leos for supporting us.

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How to build a sustainable toilet.

Part one The Holding Tank

The Kumasi Ventilated Improved Pit latrine (KVIP) Is the epitomy of sustainability. No water, and a lifespan of at least 20 years without any maintenance except cleaning of the cubicles. This is the type of sustainable toilet we have built in Tafi Atome, Alavanyo Dzogbedze and now are building in Alavanyo Agome.
The most important part is the Pit or the holding tanks. All of the toilet deposits go into these tanks.
They are designed to be very well ventilated so no, or little, smell goes back up into the cubicles. Any flies that follow their noses onto the poo are cunningly trapped in the tank until they die. If the flys could excape they would carry germs on their legs and bodies. They can’t excape so this stops them spreading diseases.
Each tank is designed to hold about ten years, YES TEN YEARS, worth of deposits! Then the second toilet in each cubicle is opened up to start filling the neighbouring holding tank. After about 20 years the contents of the first tank have thoroughly composted killing any pathogens. This holding tank is then emptied and the process starts again. The tanks need to be very strong to survive these many years of use.

Cross section of KVIP showing how it traps flys

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Sparkling plaque thanking all involved in the library project.

A huge thank you to the people of the Alavanyo community who under the leadership of Clemence Kitsi renovated the community library.

They made new tables with individual carrels and more shelving. They replaced the termite eaten wooden louvered windows with glass windows. This has made the whole room light and airey. They put in a termite proof plastic ceiling which not only insulates the room from the heat but allows people to work when the rains hammer on the corrugated metal roof. To help with making it even more comfortable they installed ceiling fans and better lighting. We bought new chairs and painted the whole room.

Building the bookshelves.
Desks and bookshelves all ready.
Delivering the chairs.

A library to be enjoyed.

To recognise all of the people and organisations involved a plaque has been put inside and outside the building. The major donors are mentioned but sadly we couldn’t fit in the names of everyone who has individually donated to Community Action Ghana. A big thank you to everyone involved.

A library is not a lot of use without books so a final thank you from us and the people of Alavanyo to Book Aid international who provided a powerful injection of books.

Inside above the new shelving and books.
Outside in the corridor.
Windows, shelving, paintwork, new books and ceiling visible here.

Major donors
Viktoria Luis Gymnasium, Hameln, Germany
Q’antati Weltladen, Hameln, Germany
Botley Windscreens, Oxford, UK
Book Aid international, London, UK

Students and teachers enjoying the books.

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Imagine this is how you got water.

This morning I expect you got up. Went to your indoor bathroom, did your number ones and twos. Flushed the toilet had a wash, shower or bath. All without leaving the comfort and warmth of your own house.

It’s not like this for many people in the Volta region of Ghana. The pictures below show what the Gbedema Kofe community near Ho have to do to get the water they need to wash, prepare their food and in some cases drink. This community has sent us a request for help to drill a borehole, and build a reservoir tank with a couple of taps so they do not have to collect the water from this stream.
It was International Womens Day this month and most of the women in this community spent it collecting water from this source. They had to walk away from the village and carry the heavy containers back home. This is a cause of anxiety as this is where they might meet snakes and other predators. They are not asking for the world just a safe source of water.

How much? The estimates are that if Community Action Ghana, with your donations, put in £4,000 the village contribute £2,000 in labour and materials, they can have this in a matter of weeks.

Please can you or an organisation you know help. We will willingly give talks to individuals or groups anywhere in the world (using video links). Please help us fulfill this simple request.

Many times each day I collect water.
I bring my son or daughter to help.
That blue bucket of water weighs 5kg. It is too much but what can I do?
This is what your donations could provide.

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How to turn the Pit into the holding tanks

The people of Alavanyo Agome have now started to line the pit that will form the base of the community latrine. Ladies carry water from a supply 200m away and sand from a stockpile 400m away. Using the smashed up rocks excavated from the pit, sand, cement and water the men mix the concrete by hand. Masons supplied by the village development committee then get to work. The first task is to get a level base. Getting this correct is vital for the strength of the whole construction. Because they are working directly on bed rock they do not need to dig foundations. The cement blocks that were made last year have cured and are really strong, but heavy!

All of this labour is provided by the village as their contribution to their community toilet.

Sand and water being carried to the site
It’s always amazing to watch the accuracy of pouring the water into the drum

This sand seems to be defying gravity.

Concrete mixing by hand. Hard work.
The blocks made last year are now going to make the walls of the holding tanks.
Getting the level correct

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Collecting all the wonderful Library Books from Accra.

Clemence got up at 1.00 am to start the journey to get the books donated by Book Aid International from the Ghana Library Authority in Accra.
After some difficulties surrounding getting funds transfered to him in Accra and packing up the vehicle they set off for Alavanyo finally reaching it late into the night.
They unloaded the 84 boxes of books and stored them in the library we have renovated for the Alavanyo community.

Loading up the minibus at Accra.
Arriving at Alavanyo and moving the boxes into the library.
Stacked ready for sorting and stamping.

The next week a very willing group of students set too and stamped all of the books with both the Book Aid International stamp. They sorted ghe books and those for the Alavanyo Community Library were given their stamp. They reboxed the others so they could be transported to the community library in Tafe Atome.

Sorting.
Stamping.
Teachers and students reading the books at Alavanyo Community Library .

Why books? Well they don’t need any batteries, data, or internet connection. We are extremely grateful to Book Aid for this donation and to Clemence for all of his hard work to get them to the communities. To help us reach more people through providing opportunities to read and learn please donate today

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The huge Pit – finally Conquered

Digging the pit for the toilet block had ground to a halt because the soil was too compacted.
As they dug deeper the volunteers came to a layer of rock.
Pick axes made absolutely no impression despite the strength and commitment of the workers.
Drastic actions were called for.

Extreme force arrived

And started work

The excavator worked all day long and into the night until finally the pit was ready.

Day digging

Night digging

This is what the finished pit looks like.
Nothing will be wasted, this heap of broken up rocks will be used for the concrete bases.
As in Alavanyo Dzogbedze, the larger rocks will be smashed up by hand to make the gravel.

A one hundred tonne hole

And rocks ready to be broken up and used in the concrete

The next stage of the project will be to line the pit using the blocks made earlier and put on the superstructure.
Clemence is discussing this next part of the project with the village volunteer masons.

Watch this space.

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Library Chairs have arrived

The chairs have arrived.
Twenty chairs for twenty readers.
Just waiting for the books which will soon be at Tema.

Alavanyo Kpeve’s library is almost finished. The books are on the way. Huge thanks to everyone who has been involved in this project either by donating money, time, skills or even quiet support. All have been appreciated.

Alavanyo Wudidi and Hohoe Wegbe Communities have asked if we can help them renovate and stock their ‘libraries’. Book Aid International have agreed to provide a stock of books. We and the communities just need to make the rooms fit for purpose. The communities are filling in the forms for the books they want. Community Action Ghana is busy looking for donors to help fund the furniture, paint and other essentials.

Outside Alavanyo Wudidi’s library.
Inside Alavanyo Wudidi’s library.

Alavanyo Wudidi’s library needs rather a lot doing to it. Furniture, books, a lick of paint, a ceiling, upgraded lighting and fans. The windows look as if they could well do with being replaced by glass.

Outside Hohoe Wegbe’s library.
Inside Hohoe Wegbe’s library

As you can see this library in Hohoe Wegbe is reasonably set up but needs books and furniture.

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Face masks & soap for sale

Face Masks Providing Employment
Community Action Ghana are selling beautifully handmade face masks to help fundraise for our projects, building toilets and libraries. The masks are made by Charlotte, a Seamstress from Alavanyo in the Volta Region of Ghana. She chose the fabric and patterns and has handmade 200 masks. Not only is this generating an income for the charity it has also provided Charlotte with work.

To Order
You can purchase the masks via Just Giving. Once you have chosen from the four beautiful patterns and made your payment please email us with your contact details so we can post them to you. They are a perfect gift for Christmas!

Handmade Soap
We are also selling 100% natural soap, made by our Chair of Trustees, Adrian. You can order this through the same Just Giving page. Another lovely Christmas gift!

Sewing the facemasks.

Mask A
Mask B
Mask C
Mask D
100% natural soap, no additives or perfumes

Order via Just Giving. All proceeds go directly towards building toilets and libraries in Ghana.

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Library Windows and Floor

The library is being painted and generally cleaned up for the books arriving at the end of the year. But the windows, if you can call them that, are in rather a state of disrepair. I think you will agree, they need replacing. The floor has also started to disintegrate and needs a new thick skim of strong cement. If you would like to help repair these you can either donate directly or nominate Community Action Ghana as your Amazon Smile Charity or as your Easyfundraising nominated charity when you shop online.

These louvre windows have seen better days.
This floor needs some TLC.

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