Our Mission and Goals
Our Immediate Goals.
In 2008 we conducted a comprehensive Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices survey in Akotokyir, a small village in Cape Coast. We found out that, the people of Akotokyir face two major threats: rampant malaria, and serious water-borne diseases like Guinea worm. Their situation is further complicated by poverty, illiteracy and little government support.
The Free Foundation will initially concentrate on three simple and effective projects that are bound to make a difference in people’s lives.
A “Stop Malaria” Campaign
Malaria is a nationwide problem in Ghana, More than 3 million cases are reported every year, and it is the number one cause of morbidity in the country. According to the WHO, each malaria episode costs a household almost Gh 48 ($16). In an impoverished area like communities where 75%of all surveyed households reported at least one malaria case in six months,this can be devastating.
The WHO and other organizations recognize the importance of mosquito nets in the fight against malaria. And yet, according to our surveyed, in the communities, one third of the people own mosquito nets.
The Free Foundation will lead the fight against malaria in communities, beginning with our “Stop Malaria” campaign.
We plan to raise money for medicated bed nets, and distribute these for free; Families with young children and pregnant mothers will be given priority. Our “Stop Malaria campaign will drive home the importance of investing in mosquito nets, which are often seen as a bother rather than a necessity. We will also demonstrate their proper usage
According to the WHO, many people who ownmosquito nets do not use them properly. Our campaign will be more effectivethan simply handling out mosque net usage and we will demonstrate the correctway to hang the net in their bedroom s in the health camp and every one will witness it and know how to use.
The Campaign for Clean Water.
The APG Campaign for Clean Water will not only provide clean healthy water to a community in need, it will help the environment and create a small, sustainable business for Akotokyir and other communities.
Akotokyir lies near the river Kakum and a large number of people use the turbid and polluted river water, often untreated. During our 2008 survey, half of all households claimed to have been affected by water-borne illnesses in the past six months. This is an alarming statistic.
Many NGOs in Ghana advocate the use of deep bore wells to provide safe drinking water. However, bore wells have a number of problems:
1. Bore well water could contain arsenic and other harmful elements.
2. If bore wells are set up too close to houses, household waste that seeps into the soil can contaminate the water. If bore wells are located too far away, women and children will have to traverse long distances just for safe drinking water.
3. Bore wells drain the water table and can have an impact on the soil, years after installation. They are not always environmentally sustainable.
The APG Campaign will collect water from the Kakum River and pass it through a highly effective, simple and inexpensive purification system tested by our collaborators: the MIT-based Community Water Solutions (www.communitywatersolutions.org).
We will train 2 people in Akotokyir to collect and purify the water, as well as set up and maintain the equipment we shall provide. They will then run the water purification system as a business, distributing the clean water at a price from a central area in the locality. It is this commercial community-based model that will not only sustain our initiative but help it grow beyond Akotokyir.
Our approach to clean water success is better than current models:
1. We use a readily available water source that the community already identifies with. Nobody has to travel too far for water.
2. Our equipment is inexpensive, innovative and highly effective.
3. Our business model makes our project sustainable by involving community members.
4. Our model also empowers the community. The people who will run the water distribution business will be trained in money management, and their entrepreneurship will serve as a model for other communities.
In January 2010 we will launch the Clean Water Campaign in Akotokyir, helping to lower levels of water-borne illness, start a business, and empower the community.