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Meet Our Field Reps: Caroline Collins

Caroline Collins bio picMy name is Caroline Collins. I am a twenty two year old senior about to graduate from Connecticut College.  At Conn, I study biological sciences and anthropology. I am originally from Cohasset, MA which is on the south coast of Boston. I was lucky enough to participate in two of Saha’s global leadership programs. I first travelled to Ghana during my sophomore year for their winter program in 2013. I gained an incredible amount from being a Saha Global Leader and valued their program goals immensely. I was itching to return to Ghana, so when Saha announced that they had an opportunity for past leaders to return for the following summer program, I jumped at the chance! Saha was looking for Field Reps to help implement their water business model in Salaga, a new region for the organization.

 
My two experiences in Ghana were truly life changing and they have shaped my academic pursuits.  One of my strongest memories is from my first trip, when my teammates and Shak, our translator were educating our community’s school children about the importance of clean drinking water and the differences between clear water and clean water. Educating children about healthy hygiene is one of Saha’s initiatives toward creating a sustainable clean drinking water model. So after we had implemented the water business, my team and I spent a day in the school teaching the children songs about clean water to help them remember healthy drinking practices. I distinctly remember a group of about thirty children singing and dancing excitedly about their water. One of the kids came up to me while we were all singing the clean water song and told me that he used to have headaches every day, but after drinking the clean water for a few days he felt so much better and was thrilled to have energy to run around play soccer with his friends. This was one of the most influential moments of my trip, as it was a direct and concrete example of the benefits that the clean water system will bring to the community.

 
My biggest take away from being a Field Rep is the power of little changes to bring significant impact. Before traveling to Ghana, the thought of bringing a water business to an entire community seemed quite daunting, however as a Field Rep, I learned that the procedure is really simple and with attention to education and prompting clean habitats my teammates and I were able to create a system that the community ran completely independently and were proud of. When I left Ghana after the program, the women in charge of the business were excited to develop the system and I knew that they would do a tremendous job building a sustainable source of clean drinking water for their community.

 
My time with Saha has encouraged me to study the connection between human health and the environment. I am particularly interested in bacteria and what environmental factors lead to the proliferation of bacterial diseases that pose a significant public health risk to developing countries.  Saha gave me great experience in the field and has left my very excited to learn more about the prevention of waterborne diseases. I graduate from college in May 2015 and look forward to pursuing a doctorate degree in microbiology and environmental toxicology. Hopefully, this educational path will bring me back to countries like Ghana, where I can further study environmental health.

 
I have enjoyed staying in contact with Field Reps from my trip and my translators as well. There is an active facebook group where the Saha team and past field reps post about exciting things going on within the Saha network. It is great to stay connected with the incredible and inspiring group of global leaders as they go out and do interesting things around the world.

 

Want to learn more about Caroline’s experience or have any specific questions? Caroline would be happy to tell you more and can be contacted at ccollin1@conncoll.edu Also check up to see what Caroline is doing here!

World Water Day 2015

Every year for World Water Day, we invite some of our women entrepreneurs to our office in Tamale for a little celebration. Although many of these ladies have worked with Saha for years, they rarely get to meet other water entrepreneurs since their communities are far from each other. We love having an excuse to get some of the women together so they can share ideas, discuss issues and have fun getting to know one another. It’s one of our favorite days of the year! Read about past World Water Days here, here and here!

Since n oone from our American team was in Ghana for World Water Day this year, I’m turning the blog over to one of our managers, Eric. This is Eric’s first blog post!

Picking which women to invite to World Water Day is always a hard decision. This year, the staff sat at a meeting and decided to cast lots to pick the women to invite. All Saha Global villages were written on pieces of paper. Each staff member took turns to pick a village till we got to the number needed. The chosen villages were later visited by staff to formerly invite the women for World Water Day.

On the day of the celebration, when they got to town from their respective villages, the women called the office of their arrival. They were told to grab any available cab and directions were given to the driver and they were brought to the office.

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When the first batch of women arrived, a movie was played with the projector whilst the other were waited on. Anytime a batch came, they were served with drinks. Sachet water was also available. Later we gave the women a tour and they were excited to see their pictures displayed in the office!

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Once everyone arrived, presentations started. Peter started by welcoming the women and talked on World Water Day. It’s celebrated all over the world all in the aim of bringing awareness on the need to drink safe,clean drinking water. Wahab talked on why dugout water is not safe to drink. He talked on how the dugout gets contaminated with human and animal excrement, and also sewage from households. That causes bacteria which make people sick. I then talked on sales and savings. I explained the ways they can make sales anytime water is treated, like making an announcement at the mosque or going round households to tell people that water is ready.  I also talked about how savings is important so that parts can be fixed or replaced when spoilt. Next, Shak encouraged the women to keep up the good work. He spoke on the need to always contact the chief and elders to update them on the progress of their work. Finally, Amin finished the presentations by telling the women to keep their centers clean and attractive. He spoke on the need to keep centres up and running and finished with a poem on water.

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We then help lead discussions among the women. The women from Moya talked about how their village has taken the centre seriously. People come to refill their safe storage containers anytime they run out of clean water. Awabu from Kulaa said “Saha is the best!” Although other two water projects have been set up in Kulaa,the people still come to the center to refill their safe storage containers. Djelo women are happy that solar has been added to the water centre. Now at night, their kids read and do their homework. The village is now bright at night and they are grateful. Women from Laligu said how people, especially the kids, used to complain of stomach ache. But now, thanks to the water treatment center, they don’t experience such again.

After three staff members gave their presentations, we went for break. Food and drinks were served. Presentations continued after the break. After presentations,the women were thanked for making it possible. Women were given transport money. Later went out and took a group picture of the staff with the women. The cab drivers were called and and the women departed the office to their various stations. It was a great day!

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Shak, Eric, Peter, Wahab, Amin, and Mark, with Fusiena, Zelia, Azara, Zaharawu, Sharatu, Awabu, Fati, Kusumi, Memounatu, Latifa, Moshi, Memounatu, Sharatu, Fatima, Fatimatah and Hamshaw.

-Eric Angkosaala

Growing Saha Global: Welcome Patrick and Mark

As you know by now, 2015 is going to be a big year for Saha Global. We’ve already begun planing our expansion to a new country and launched our Advisory Board made up of some awesome Field Rep Alumni. But, that’s not all! We have also welcomed two new people to our Board of Directors! Patrick Cahill and Mark Moeremans joined our Board this past February and have been amazing additions to our team. They both bring unique skill sets that have proven to be extremely helpful as we plan for our growth. Without further ado, meet Mark and Pat:

Patrick Cahill
principal of rally point webinars & beep! directed voicemail
prc-sahaPatrick was elected to Saha Global’s Board of Directors in February 2014 after spending a year advising the organization on marketing. Patrick strongly believes in the power of entrepreneurship as an agent of change and empowerment having founded beep! Directed after starting and finding success in his first marketing services firm and through his work at The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship. At beep!, start-ups to publicly traded companies look to Patrick on how to implement, measure, and systematically improve scalable outreach campaigns that directly impact revenue. Patrick brings this focus in his work with Saha, ensuring the organization is implementing best practices tested and perfected in the ‘for-profit’ world. Patrick holds a B.S. degree from Babson College where he focused on Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management.

 

Mark Moeremans
consultant at deloitte consulting
Deloitte HeadshotRepresenting Saha Field Rep Alumni, Mark was elected to Saha Global’s Board of Directors in February of 2014. Mark first got involved with Saha Global as a Field Rep in 2012 and piloted the first Solar program after winning the Saha Global Social Enterprise Competition in 2013. Mark works as a Management Consultant at Deloitte Consulting and has brought his management expertise to the organization. Mark has a passion for global development having worked across Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America in a variety of fields including education, resource management, technology, and community leadership. Mark believes that business and entrepreneurship are the keys to lifting communities out of poverty. Mark holds a B.S. in Philosophy and Communications from Boston College.

 

 

Saha Global expands to a new country!

Saha Global has launched 82 businesses, which empower 178 women entrepreneurs who provide clean water and/or electricity to about 40,000 people in Ghana. With a 100% success rate of these business, we believe that we have a strong model and are ready to expand our impact outside of Ghana. But then there’s the big question: “Where?” Could our model work in a neighboring country? In Central America? Southeast Asia? India? And that’s the thing. There are so many options.

Last August, Kate & I were having one of our typical check-ins and like many of our chats, one thing led to another and we were soon spitting off ideas about what country Saha Global could work in. We thought about the time and research that we would need to make it all happen and it seemed overwhelming. Our own personal experience and exposure took the “New country for Saha” discussion only so far. That led to us thinking about all 264 of our past Field Reps. Our Field Reps know what we are all about and what makes the Saha businesses go round. They come to the program with amazing experiences and leave the program continuing to amaze us. We realized that we didn’t need to be overwhelmed by thinking about how to expand – we already have a whole team of smart, skilled, and passionate people who also care about Saha’s growth and who would be excited about reaching people living outside of Ghana!

Some of them have lived in Malawi for a study abroad program, or had an internship with a non-profit in India or even researched in China as a Fullbright Scholar. Some of them have done extensive research on solar electricity or worked under a professor to test the efficiency of a water filter for use in Bolivia. Some have even designed a simple solar system for a small village in Rwanda or simply backpacked through Southeast Asia and have had first hand experience with the dire need for access to electricity in Thailand.

They are the global leaders in the world and we want to harness their ambition, drive and knowledge to fuel our expansion into a new country! Which leads me to our exciting announcement:

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The Saha Challenge! This Challenge will work similar to the Social Enterprise Competition we hosted two years ago. The same competition that lead to our extremely successful expansion into providing access to electricity by establishing solar charging businesses.

The Saha Challenge kicked off in the first week of February when we hosted a online webinar to go over the different components of the competition, the rules and judging criteria. It will be a series of three rounds, each round field reps will be given a set of guidelines that they must research about their chosen country. After each round some countries will be eliminated, while others will be chosen to continue on in the competition. The winning country will be selected by the end of the Summer and will be announced at our Annual Benefit in Boston in the Fall. The winning team will then be invited to participate in a solar or water program in the new country, all expenses paid for.
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The initial country proposals were just submitted last week and we were extremely impressed by all of the proposals! The first round was about gathering some general statistics about the country, such as drinking water access, electricity access, the country’s progress towards the millennium development goals, travel and safety risks and the political and economic stability. After much discussion amongst the Saha Team, we have moved 8 countries on to the next round.

The Saha Where to next

 

This weekend the team’s will be submitting their pitches for Round 2! The idea of working in any of these beautiful countries is so exciting we can hardly contain ourselves! It is such a privilege to continue to collaborate with our field reps and to have them on this amazingly exciting journey!

Introducing you to Saha Global’s Advisory Board!

At Saha Global, we truly value the input and feedback from our network of Field Rep Alumni. They are the ones who know exactly what Saha is all about. They have the skills, experience and passion that we need to drive our growth. With a big year ahead of us, we wanted to be sure to have their ideas on board! After sitting down and brainstorming, our team hand selected some of our most involved past Field Reps to make up Saha’s first Advisory Board.

Our hope is that the Advisory Board will be the idea-engines. Their input will help drive and direct Saha’s long term impact and expansion. They will give their insight on a number of different topics like the Global Leadership Program, the Field Rep Alumni network, Saha’s geographic expansion, marketing and communication strategies, fundraising efforts, etc. We are excited to announce and present to you Saha Global’s first Advisory Board members! Over the next few weeks we will be posting bios about each of the members so you can get to know them a little better, stay posted!

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Saha Global’s 2015 Advisory Board Members:
Ben Powell
Brianan Kiernan
Bryant Foreman
Caroline Awh
Caroline Collins
Claire Cohen
Katie Rumer
Katie Spruill
Lucas Hilsbos
Mark Moeremans
Matt Sullivan
Sam Reilley
Serena Haver
Zander Rounds

WELCOME TO THE SAHA FAMILY!

Over the next few weeks we will be posting bios about each of the members so you can get to know them a little better, stay posted!

Saha believes that the Advisory Board will benefit from new prospective and members each year. The Advisory Board membership is one year and positions on the Board will be available in February of each year.