Despite a misconception of Africa as a ‘dry continent’, drowning rates are eight times higher than in the US or Australia.
Felix Foundation survey a child before an Aquatic Survival lesson in Ghana

Photo: RNLI

The Felix Foundation assessing a child’s awareness of water safety messages before an Aquatic Survival lesson

Drowning in Ghana

Communities in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, rely on open water for their livelihoods, transport and leisure. The lack of affordable and accessible places to play in Ghana also means that beaches are increasingly used as playgrounds for children.

In Ghana, drowning is a leading cause of accidental death in young people. Despite this, there has been no systematic approach to water safety education and other drowning prevention activities.


RNLI partners in Ghana

  • Felix Foundation website
    Felix Foundation logo
    The Felix Foundation

    The foundation is a social enterprise that promotes water safety in Accra, on a mission to make lasting changes to people lives through the power of sport. Founder Felix Uzor attended the 2014 Future Leaders course and has become a driving force for drowning prevention in Ghana, setting up education, lifeguarding and flood awareness programmes.

    As we developed the Aquatic Survival intervention, we needed a partner in Africa with the capacity and community influence to trial a school-based education programme.

    Felix Foundation website

The view from Ghana

‘In 2015, Ghana had a disaster - a massive flood. The students in all the schools we had taught knew how to use a stick to test the water depth and find their way home. They told me: “we tried a stick and it worked, it was great!” They had the theory, then they faced the reality and it worked when they tested it.’

The difference we’re making together

The RNLI has been working with the Felix Foundation since 2015 to develop the classroom element of Aquatic Survival. We’re testing the process of getting these lessons onto the school curriculum, using Ghana as a pilot. The foundation’s continuing feedback will help other organisations to do the same.

Children in Ghana hold signs for the 10 water safety messages in Aquatic Survival

Photo: RNLI

Felix Uzor with a class in Ghana, holding the 10 water safety messages of Aquatic Survival

The Ministry of Education identifies schools to work with, and the National Disaster Management Organisation recommends high-risk communities where people of all ages could benefit from water safety education.

In 2017 alone, Felix Foundation taught almost 1,300 teachers to deliver water safety messages and more than 21,000 children learned these messages at school.

Discover more


Aquatic Survival in Ghana has received funding from:

  • Jersey Overseas Aid, an independent international aid agency funded by the States of Jersey whose aim is to help to reduce poverty and provide humanitarian aid in disasters and emergencies around the world.

Our international vision is of a world in which no-one should drown. Could you help us towards this vision?

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1,500 people drown per year (WHO 2015 estimate)

1 hour to teach 10 water safety messages

1,300 teachers trained in 2017

21,000+  children taught in 2017