A COMMUNITY in West Africa has been given access to clean water and sanitation through a life-changing project linked to the sales of new homes in the UK.

The Edenstone Foundation gifted almost £30,000 to Compassion to help more than 200 children and their families in Kpoguede, in the Haho region of Togo enjoy a safer and healthier future.

The funding enabled the construction of a 75-metre deep borehole with a 5,000 litre water storage tank; the installation of eight taps; a toilet block with six latrines and two toilets. It also funded water management, hygiene and sanitation training to 20 peer educators, enabling the project to reach more than 416 people.

Compassion is the only overseas partner of the Edenstone Foundation, which receives a proportion of the proceeds of every home sold by the Edenstone Group.

Edenstone Group operations director Chris Edge said: “Access to clean water and toilet facilities is something people in the UK take for granted, but before our partnership with Compassion more than 200 families in Kpoguede had to walk to nearby villages to collect water. Some children were walking six kilometres for water before school without knowing if there would be water when they got there and often were late for school as a result.

“Without access to safe water, many of the people in  Kpoguede suffered from waterborne diseases, which in turn incurred medical bills they couldn’t afford. While our core business is creating new communities across south Wales, the three counties and the south west of England, we’re proud to have been able to make a real difference to the lives of a community thousands of miles away.”

Health workers from the Compassion centre in Kpoguede report that the children are now excited to wash their hands before and after eating using the eight new taps.

Centre Director Komla said: “At the beginning of the centre’s activities, the rate of water-borne diseases was very high, but now it has decreased considerably. The whole community suffered from lack of water. The main source of water was the Mono River which is not safe to drink from. This intervention has been a complete relief as safe water is now available in the community. Behaviours have improved for water, hygiene and sanitation practices.

“The fact that they had to travel a long distance to find water before the intervention meant that the participants came to the centre late, just as they did to school. But since the installation of the borehole, the majority of children come to the centre on time and the curriculum activities are no longer late.”

Kossi’s dad Vodoudan added: “With this borehole that we are blessed to have in our community, our children wash well and drink safe water. This intervention has changed many things in my household. The stomach aches that caused vomiting and fevers in the children do not exist in our house because of the new water borehole. My wife and children are resting well because there is no longer a long distance to travel to find water, which is right next to our house.

“For the future I foresee that the children will go to school on time and manage to follow the lessons. This will improve their school results.  Before this intervention, we used to listen to everything about hygiene but it was complicated to really put it into action. Now, our family will be able to practice personal hygiene as taught to the children at the centre.”

Edenstone Foundation support previously helped a similar scheme for almost 250 children and their families in Kpele. It’s also supported Compassion’s Different Path Appeal to help mothers and babies with improved access to antenatal check-ups and trained birth attendants, and more.