Stephen Appiah endorses WASH United Campaign
“As Captain of the Black Stars I am proud to lead Ghana’s football team onto the world stage in the year that the World Cup first comes to Africa. But just as I lead our team out onto the pitch in South Africa, we know that there is another vital match to be won on our continent – the battle to stop children dying needlessly because they don’t have access to life’s basics: clean water and safe sanitation.”
“Growing up in Chorkor which is one of the poorest areas in Accra – Ghana’s capital, we struggled to get access to clean water or safe sanitation, and as a result many people grew sick. At times we had to walk miles just to get clean drinking water. Our teachers always taught us to wash our hands after using the toilets but there were no easily accessible taps or running water so we couldn’t do that.
Gaining access to some of the basic needs in life was a struggle at times and it still is for a lot of my people. Hopefully this is the first of many steps to ease that hardship”
“Luckily, as a footballer, I no longer suffer these daily health risks, but I find it hard to accept that for millions of my countrymen and women gaining access to life’s most basic needs remains a struggle. Our nation has made real steps in providing clean water, but still 1 in 5 of Ghanaians suffer without . The sanitation situation, however, is far worse - only 1 in 10 have access to a safe, private toilet . As a proud Ghanaian I want a better future for my country, and as an African I want the same for our continent too. ”
“It’s why I set up the StepApp Foundation, which helps to provide basic healthcare to those in need in Ghana, and to me it’s obvious that you can’t improve the health of our youth without clean water and safe sanitation. However, to defeat the crisis in Ghana and the region, we need to act as a team. This is why I have joined WASH United. WASH United is an exciting new initiative that brings together United Nations agencies, governments, NGOs and football to promote safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for all. WASH United engages football stars as role models for children and adolescents and harnesses people’s passion for our beautiful game to promote life-saving behaviour change. Jointly, we will use the enormous power of football to tackle Africa’s crisis in access to water and sanitation.”
“To bring about lasting change, we need to work together. We need journalists to tell the story, sportspeople to reach out and inspire their fans, and politicians to do what needs to be done. It’s inspiring that tens of thousands of people in 60 countries are standing together today as part of a global campaign to form The World’s Longest Toilet Queue and call for action on sanitation and water – NOW! As we look forward to the World Cup, and celebrate Africa’s success, let’s build on this momentum and use the energy of sport on the continent to ensure Africa prospers both on the field and in our communities.”
“So that one day all Ghanaians - all Africans - can enjoy their fundamental human right to safe drinking water and sanitation.” ‘WASH United & STEPAPP are organising lots of events and activities at the moment – in Europe, in Ghana and in other African countries - and more details will follow in the coming weeks and months. Please support us in the struggle for water, sanitation and hygiene for all. Go to www.wash-united.org and join our club!
Ghana, 9 June 2010, Ghana Web