Canadian Consulting Engineer

Wardrop helps women and local communities with clean water in Ghana

Wardrop Engineering of Winnipeg, Manitoba has been winning awards for its work...

February 22, 2003   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Wardrop Engineering of Winnipeg, Manitoba has been winning awards for its work
to improve water and sanitation in small communities in Northern Ghana. On February 5 it was given one of the Canadian Awards for International Cooperation – the Award for Gender Equality Achievement sponsored by Scotia Bank. The previous month it won a Sustainable Development Award of Excellence from the Manitoba Round Table on Environment and Economy for the same work in Ghana, which it has been doing on behalf of Canadian International Development Aid (CIDA).

Wardrop has been working in northern Ghana since 1972. In the first decades they helped to design conventional large engineering work, but in more recent decades have concentrated on more low-tech, small scale installations by helping small communities install and maintain handpumps for clean groundwater, and latrines.

In particular, Wardrop has been working on increasing women’s role. Women, the main water users and carriers, traditionally did not take an active role in community life and were not participating in the decisions regarding the water supply project. Wardrop trained local people in gender analysis and found methods of increasing women’s participation. Attitudes have changed and women are now taking an active role on committees and in non-traditional roles such as pump maintenance and repair.

Alan Foy, P.Eng., Vice-President International of Wardrop, has been leading the Ghana project. So far it has seen 105 boreholes drilled and outfitted with handpumps, construction of latrines, and training of 210 handpump caretakers. He explains that they are trying to build capacity at the local level i.e. ensuring govenrment policies are in line, and that the people, equipment and finances are available.

Wardrop also recently won an Ontario Outstanding Business Achievement Award and announced it is undertaking an aggressive corporate growth campaign.

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