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Duquesne University Team Carries Water-purifying Pots to Ghana

A year ago, Ghanaian students and professionals studying energy and environment issues during an exchange at Duquesne University made water-purifying pots in Braddock.

This summer, when a team of 20 North American energy professionals and students visited Ghana as part of the exchange, they carried pots with them—providing a means of obtaining safe drinking water to villages where water struggles and health issues are part of daily life.

Some of the Ghanaians involved selected two impoverished villages in the Volta region, Mepe-Adudorn and Mafi-Seva-Agbadzi Kope, to receive the health-giving gifts of five water-cleansing colloidal silver pots.

The villages are officially designated as hydrologically challenged; water wells cannot successfully be drilled and the only remaining water source—a large pond—is heavily contaminated with bacteria.

The silver in the ceramic vessels, which look like overgrown flower pots, radiates and kills bacteria, saving lives and the misery caused by water-borne illnesses. The pots will enable an entire village to have access to clean water. Each pot, which would cost about $25 U.S. dollars in a country where the average annual income is around $700, is expected to last about five years.

“This will go a long way to benefit the whole community,” said the grateful chief of the area, Torgbe Kwoa Aglogu Adablah IV.

“Two villages now have access to clean water and we are continuing to work with the University of Ghana to explore next steps to help the villages establish microenterprises so they can produce the pots locally,” said Dr. Dorothy Bassett, dean of the School of Leadership and Professional Advancement.

Bassett and Dr. Stanley J. Kabala, associate director of the Center for Environmental Research and Education, led the month-long trip to Ghana in July as part of the Emerging Leaders’ Extraction and Environment Program.  A component of a partnership between the University of Ghana and Duquesne, the program is supported by a two-year, $350,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State to train emerging leaders from both countries to handle the complex societal, economic and environmental challenges arising from industries based on natural resource extraction.

Participants learned about the challenges of off-shore oil drilling, gold mining, the fishing industry, hydroelectric power plants and deforestation. Last summer, Duquesne hosted 22 Ghanaian government, nonprofit and corporate professionals, who examined the impacts of Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction/drilling in Western Pennsylvania and mountaintop removal of coal in West Virginia.

After observing similar activities around the globe, Kabala said true “development,” or the economic well-being of people, cannot happen unless natural ecosystems are preserved and maintained.

“This is true even taking into account differences in technical scale and sophistication,” Kabala said. “It is true in a developing country like Ghana, and it is true in a wealthy developed country like the U.S.”

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.