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The 2019 OFID Annual Award for Development – my personal story

Published on: 18/09/2019

The award has taken me back to my experiences with WASH as an eleven-year-old girl.

Vida Duti presenting at IRC's symposium All systems go!

When I was eleven years old my father took me from the comfort of our home in Accra, Ghana to our home village Sefwi Bodi in the Western North Region of Ghana. He called the trip a “one-year village practicum”. The year exposed me to the realities of other children’s lives where they had to collect water from the river each morning before going to school barefoot in tattered clothing. The school consisted of make-shift structures and some of the teachers were unqualified. The limited WASH facilities were an eyesore and the local clinic ill-equipped to handle the numerous health issues which lead to unnecessary instances of maternal, infant and child mortality. These experiences changed my perspective on life and gave me the drive to pursue the career I now have.

Sadly, these realities continue to exist across the developing world including in my own country of Ghana. I have spent my working life building on my experiences as an eleven-year-old and trying to improve the quality of people’s lives through ensuring access to sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene services for the population of Ghana. We particularly work in Asutifi North District in partnership with the chiefs and people, local government, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation grantees and others to bring water and sanitation services to all within the area. It is through this work and my lifelong dedication to the delivery of sustainable WASH services that I was humbled and honoured to receive the Annual Development Award from OFID in July 2019.

I attended the 40th session of the OFID Ministerial Council in Vienna with my husband and son to receive the award and dedicated it to the people of Ghana and Asutifi North District as the recognition I received was in part due to the work done for them. This award has taken me back to my experiences in that long year as an eleven-year-old struggling daily to live in my home village and now as a WASH expert, wife and mother I know how important safe and sustainable water along with good hygiene and sanitary conditions are in preventing the spread of disease.  I am proud to say that as a result of the award I will use some of the funds I received to improve the WASH conditions in the Sefwi Bodi clinic.

In addition to this, I intend to invest the rest of the award and use the proceeds to support other initiatives aimed at helping the vulnerable. The OFID award has been such a positive a experience for me in 2019 after a personally challenging year in 2018, and I hope I can use it to change other people’s lives in Ghana for the better.

My sincere appreciation to OFID for this award and a seed to fulfil my childhood ambition of giving back to humanity.


A photo of my childhood

Young Vida


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