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Field Rep Voices: That time a humble tree nut closed the culture gap

Abby loved our program so much she did it twice! First, as a freshman, then as a junior. She is getting her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and International Studies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  

If her story inspires YOU, apply to work with us in Ghana this summer: sahaglobal.org/gotoghana

Why did you decide to (re)apply for the Global Leadership Program?

I just fell in love with Saha’s approach and having the opportunity to take on a project and go in a direction your team thinks is right. We would come across challenges in the village and talk about how to overcome them together. That sense of ownership was really appealing to me. Seeing the impact of the water businesses firsthand was rewarding, too.

What did you take away from the experience?

Participating in the Global Leadership Program gave me more confidence. After my first field rep experience I got involved with Engineers without Borders. Now I’m president of my school’s club and am leading a multi-year water supply and distribution project in Ecuador. We’ve had to deal with politics, financial concerns, and monitoring challenges. My experience with Saha helped prepare me.

What was your “Saha aha” moment?

On my team’s first day in Zobogu, we sought out the chairman to request a meeting with the chief. The village is located right off the road, and we learned the community is accustomed to outsiders coming in to pitch projects. But the chairman was surprised to learn we brought kola nuts as a gift for the chief, a symbol of respect in their culture.

As a society, we know how to clean water. Technical skills and knowledge are important, but Saha taught me that working within the local culture is every bit as important. That really hit home for me when I saw all the signs for failed water projects at the village entrance.

Has the Global Leadership Program influenced your career plans?

Definitely. As a civil engineer major, I learned so much seeing the human side of the equation.  My Saha experience inspired me to look for other international development opportunities, particularly around access to clean water.

What advice do you have for future field reps?

Keep an open mind. Everything will be new and unexpected. There’s no way to know what it will be like until you get there.

Talk to someone who’s done the program before. That really helped me when I was going through the application process. Saha can help get you connected with a past field rep.

If you think you could help Saha bring clean water to a new community this summer, get your application in now!

You can still make our “Early Bird” Application Deadline: January 28th.

Let us know >> Apply Here!

 

 

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