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Updates From Our Newest Communities

Hello hello! Morganne and Eda here, sending a report straight from Tamale!

Monitoring has been busy since the end of our Winter Global Leadership Program (shout out to our #sahappytobehere crew!). As you might know, we opened our 100th water business in January, which means 100 villages to get out to and check up on! Here’s the latest from the first 2 months in our newest communities:

 

Village Full-time Monitor How’s it going? Center Status Household Visits Lab Samples
Defisa Amin, he visited on March 31st Jahama and Lukaya said sales are going well, however the dugout is very turbid so they have to use more alum to make sure the water is clean! Polytank is ½ full and the 3 “Blue” Drums were empty 5 out of 6 households had water in their safe storage containers The Polytank sample came out clear!
Juni Wahab, he visited on March 27th The dugout has dried because the rainy season hasn’t started yet. Wahab spoke to Jamila who said sales were going well and the women are ready to treat water as soon as the rains come! PT Empty and 3 “Blue” Drums empty No household visits because the dugout is dry No lab samples were taken this visit.  The polytank was sampled earlier this month and came out clean!
Kpumi Peter, but Shak visited on March 29th while Peter monitored our Salaga communities The water is getting very turbid but sales are still going well! Polytank is more than half full and the 3 “Blue” Drums were empty 4 out of 6 households had water in their safe storage containers No samples were taken this visit. The polytank was sampled earlier this month and came out clean!
Labariga Peter, but Shak visited on March 29th while Peter monitored our Salaga communities Fusheina said sales are going well and they treated water yesterday afternoon! Polytank is more than half full and the 3 “Blue” Drums are empty 4 out of 6 households had water in their safe storage containers No samples were taken this visit. The polytank was sampled earlier this month and came out clean!
Parishenaaya Wahab, he visited on March 30th Salamatu said some farming families have returned to Parishenaaya so sales have picked up a bit! Polytank is more than half full, 3 “Blue” Drums are empty 5 out of 6 households had water in their safe storage containers No samples were taken this visit. The polytank was sampled earlier this month and came out clean!
Tuya Wahab, he visited on March 30th Mohammed, who helps with the center when the women travel, said sales are going well and that the recent rains increased the water level in the stream! Polytank is more than half full, and 3 “Blue” Drums are full but don’t have alum yet 6 out of 6 households had water in their safe storage containers, YAHOO! No samples were taken this visit. The polytank was sampled earlier this month and came out clean!
Zuro Peter, but Shak visited on March 29th while Peter monitored our Salaga communities Abiba said everything is going well! Polytank is ¼ full, and 3 “Blue” Drums are empty 3 out of 6 households had water in their safe storage containers The polytank sample came out clean!

 

 

 

Peter monitors Kpumi’s water center

And our newest solar businesses:

Village Full-time Monitor How’s it going? Center Status Household Visits
Chihigu Peter, but Eric visited on March 28th while Peter monitored our Salaga communities Hawabu said everything is going well! There were 8 phones and 6 batteries charging at the center All 6 households had working and fully charged lanterns, yay!
Jagberin Wahab, he visited on March 27th Ramatu said sales are going well but some farming families have left because their dugout has become very turbid. As soon as the water level increases these families will be back and increase solar sales! There were 15 phones and 8 batteries charging at the center All 6 households had working and fully charged lanterns, wahoo!

 

Eric takes a selfie while monitoring in Chihigu

 

Special thanks to our Winter 2017 Field Reps who got these 9 communities off to a great start! Ti paya pahm!

Water Monitoring Sheet Revisions

At Saha we’re always adapting our model to better suit each community we work in. To do that we need good data! We’ve been busy updating our monitoring sheets to reflect the current status of each water business. New additions include a ‘last visit’ section (so we always have the previous visit in mind), more questions about savings/prices, and a ‘summary’ section.

 

We’ve started allowing households to fill different containers (besides the safe storage container) at the water center, including garawas and jerrycans. This allows families to skew the ratio of clean water to dugout water in their homes towards more clean water! In our monitoring chats we make sure to talk about how the SSC will always keep water the cleanest for drinking, but a jerrycan with a closed lid is a good backup for cooking, etc. Extra lab samples of these alternative containers is ongoing, and we hope to have data of their safe storage ability soon.

 

Take a look at our latest water monitoring sheet below!

Community Map

 

Despa Saha supporters!  We’re really excited to share our latest and greatest village map with all of you! Our old map needed some technology updates before we could get it up here on our blog. We are still working on integrating more up to date information with each community’s tab, such as the names of each entrepreneur, prices for water and solar charging, and other information we get from the most recent visit. We’re also hoping to merge our lab data with the map so you can all see the latest waterquality in polytanks and safe storage containers across all 100 of Saha’s villages. Stay tuned for more updates as we create our interactive village map!

#sahappy2behere – Reflections on the 2017 Winter Global Leadership Program

It’s crazy to think that less than a week ago we were saying farewell to the 2017 Winter Field Reps. Thanks to this group of awesome, driven individuals, Saha was able to partner with with 9 communities in Northern Ghana to open 7 new water treatment businesses and 2 new solar charging businesses, which provide jobs to 21 new entrepreneurs. 1,664 people now have permanent access to safe drinking water and 752 people have access to reliable, clean solar electricity. Additionally, 5 of our water entrepreneurs have now been trained to run solar businesses, increasing their earning potential!

Alex C, Alex K, Ann, Becky, Caleb, Caroline, Celine, Elijah, Erin, Joanne, Kalin, Kevin, Laura, Lexie, Louis, Matt, Maureen, Micah, Mona-Mae, Morgan, Nikita, Olivia, Qingyi, Sarah, Shaminika, Shane, Shanelle, Shannon, Terynek, Tess, Walker, Wyatt, Yu and Zulean,

We can’t believe that just under a week ago, we packed our bags and loaded up in front of GILLBT for the last time! We are so grateful for the excitement, enthusiasm, hard-work and positivity that you brought to team Saha. Because of you, thousands of people are living their lives with more opportunities for health and happiness. It was such a pleasure to work with all of y’all, and we consider ourselves lucky to count you as part of Sahayili! As you head off to your next impactful adventures, please don’t forget your community and all of us here at Saha, and let us know what we can do to further your missions. 

With gratitude,

Amin, Eda, Eric, Kathryn, Morganne, Peter, Shak & Wahab

And now … for the jumping pics!

Eric, Iddrisu, Erin, Qingyi, Sarah and Shane in Chihigu

 

Elijah, Kalin, Ann and Wahab in Defisa

 

Wyatt, Caleb, Joanne, Shanelle and Shak in Jagberin

 

Celine, Laura, Olivia, Matt, and Nestor in Juni

 

Terynek, Micah, Shannon and Becky in Labariga

 

Morganne, Mona, Simply and Alex in Kpumi

 

Walker, Shamanika, Sita, Lexie and Tess (not shown) in Parishenaaya

 

Louis, Alex, Caroline and Maureen in Tuya

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Field Rep Voices: Team Erin, Qing, Shane, Sarah and Eric

Members of Chihigu gather around the solar charging center for opening night

As we first arrived at the Chihigu Village for opening night, there was an immediate tension in the air, so thick one could cut it with a knife (or a machete ;)). There was an obvious buzz going around the village because tonight was the night that the lights were going to be turned on, thus forever changing the way of life for this community. Even the animals were excited as Despa (Shane’s village puppy) ran after the car as we pulled in; the dog then broke Shane’s heart when he ran immediately up to Qing instead as the team exited the vehicle.
The women were all ready to go -eager, anxious, excited – and the villagers felt the same. We arrived with about half an hour left until kickoff for the light show, so we made the most of our time and began painting the solar charging station. Erin, as always, played some jams on the Bluetooth radio our group brought and the opening ceremony for the lights turned into a party. Adults and children alike were dancing along to the beats while Team Eric and Iddrisu painted the solar charging station. Once 6 PM came around, the women were manned at their station ready for battle! Due to the amount of people ready to purchase batteries for their lanterns, we decided it best to sell them out of the window rather than try and cram all these people into the charging station. Pretty soon the line to purchase the batteries looked like a Chic-Fil-A drive-thru on a Saturday evening (It is closed on Sundays thus making for an even more hectic drive-thru line).

Qing works with the women entrepreneurs on opening night

The women in charge of the charging station didn’t skip a beat! They essentially formed a leadership-powered assembly line as one woman rented out the 3 batteries to a customer, another replaced those batteries on the charger and the third woman tallied the purchase in their notepad. This process continued long into the night until the entire village could successfully use their lanterns! As night settled and the moon rose, it was obvious (and a little scary) how dark things got after the sunset. That was until the villagers began turning on their lanterns for the first time. You could see, one by one, households being lit up and people using their lights as they traversed through the community. It was a remarkable chain of events as you could literally the see difference being made in these peoples’ lives. All the hard work that was put into this project by Team Eric, Saha Global and the community proved to be worthwhile and we know that the village will forever be grateful!

Erin gets all of the kids involved to help paint the center

Field Rep Voices: Team Alex K, Mona Mae, Morgan, and Simply

Top 5 Experiences on Opening Day

In honor of Saha Global opening it’s 100th water business, here’s a list of five things that were unexpected and simply beautiful for us on opening day in Kpumi.

1. You might be terrified of passing women by on opening day, but keep in the back of your mind that garriwas filed with dugout water serve the purpose of cooking, cleaning among other things.

2. You might be nervous that nobody is going to show up to get water from the center. But hold your horses, when one comes, they all come. The excitement is real. Really real.

3. It’s going to be hectic, no matter how prepared you are. With excitement comes chaos, but it definitely is part of the process. But, never worry! A hectic opening day where everyone wants water at once is a one-time thing.

Safe storage containers lined up and ready to fill!

4. The beauty of seeing the young kids drink the water makes you see how much of an impact the water center can have.

One of the kids in Kpumi enjoys clean water!

5. You can find joy in watching the Fulani and the Dagomba people interact and continue to foster community at the opening of the business.

Kpumi gathers at the water treatment center to get their first taste

 

The excitement is real really real. And the beauty of clean water is unlike no other. Cheers to Saha and their 100 water businesses!

Field Rep Voices: Team Caleb, Joanne, Shanelle, Wyatt and Shak

A view of the farms in Jagberin

Today was our second day of distributing lanterns to the more than 45 households in the beautiful village of Jagberin.

About two hours outside of Tamale, Jagberin as a village is on the larger side and rather spread out.  It seems like there are almost two separate parts of the village with several minutes of driving between them.  The part that we were familiar with, where the solar center was built, was where we passed out a little over half of the lanterns yesterday.  Today we got to explore a new part of the village and even meet some new members of the village.

Interestingly, the slightly smaller section of Jagberin that we visited today was much denser than the main part of the village.  From where we had been so far, only a handful of households were within eyesight of each other.   This new part of the village, on the other hand, had more than 10 households within a couple hundred feet of each other.  Because of this, we were able to talk to a lot more people in a shorter amount of time!

As this was the second day we were passing out lanterns, everyone seemed to know we were coming and even had their money ready.  Despite being separated from the majority of the village, word must have spread quickly because these people were even more excited and willing to help.  This gave us more time to just talk with them about what they think of the village and get to know them a little better.

After we finished passing out the rest of the lanterns, we used the rest of the day to finish training the women who will run the solar business.  We reviewed and quizzed them on the technical training that they had been learning in the past couple days and they did everything perfectly.  They were even charging batteries ahead of time in preparation for opening night!  Next we worked on some of the business training like saving money and recording sales.  Since they were already running the water business, they quickly picked up on almost every sale.  The one thing that we did notice them struggle with was keeping tally of transactions.  They had no trouble counting, but it’s not often that they use pen and paper.  Not only that, but the tally method of counting was new to them, but they caught on quickly!  All in all, the women entrepreneurs and the entire village are showing a lot of enthusiasm and looking ready for opening night tomorrow!

Joanne trains the women entrepreneurs before opening night 

Field Rep Voices: Team Lexie, Shama, Sita, Tess and Walker

Team Sita here,
So far we have had an amazing two weeks in Tamale, Ghana. We learned a ton about the Ghanaian culture and language during the first few days of orientation. We then visited a water business that was set up earlier in the year to see what the community thought about it. We heard nothing but positive feedback, such as: “Our stomachs do not hurt anymore;” “We love the taste of the water;” “It is soooo clear!!!We love it!!!” We were also all pleasantly welcomed by the community especially by the children. I can speak for the group when I say that we definitely didn’t have enough fingers for all the little hands that wanted to hang on. That experience certainly helped us build a vision for starting our future water business.

The team with Parishenaaya’s polytank stand

Fast forward to today, we worked from 7:30am-2:30pm out in the field with our two female entrepreneurs, our translator Sita, and of course one of our village’s babies, who we promptly named “angry baby,” came a long to watch us. We began the day by filling up our Poly Tank with our three 200mL drums. We treated the drums yesterday with alum and let them set overnight. It was crazy to see all the settlement and dirt that collected at the bottom of the drums. The women always love to comment on how clear the water is. The other day we were touched by how the women reacted when we had to dump out some of our newly purified water to start a new cycle. They were upset because the water was so clean, so they decided to collect the rest of it and bring it back to the village with them to share with their community. After we added in the water to the Poly Tank we purified it using three chlorine tablets. We then helped the women fetch water from their dugout to refill the three drums and treat them with alum again.

Alum work with the new entrepreneurs

I then tested the women on how to fit the tap to the buckets and they did a great job after a few tries. Next, Shama taught them how to fix the red button on the tap so they were good to go to help their community with any problems they may face with their safe storage containers. We then walked back to the village where Walker, Tess, and Sita went to thirteen family units and talked them through how to use their safe storage containers so that they do not re-contaminate the clean water that they buy. Because I was working with Shama today, I can go more in-depth about what it was like for us keeping the kids occupied and learning more about the villagers. The first hour or so we played around five games of Duck Duck Goose, which consisted of a lot more than just simply running around the circle. During one of the rounds it was only Shama and I with one of the girls left and I was going around and decided to pick Shama. I took off running in the opposite direction because I knew she would have been able to just reach around and catch me because of our small circle. I took off into the field with Shama right on my heels and Parishenaaya’s kids and elders laughing hysterically in the distance. Needless to say both Shama and I got our workout in for the day!

Shama, Tess, and Sita with the polytank

After Duck Duck Goose we taught them how to play Down By The Banks where you sit in a circle and hit the hand of the person sitting next to you until the end of the song. It was funny to watch the kids try and guess when the song, which they have never heard before, was going to end so they knew when to pull their hand away. We were even able to get one of the older men involved with our game but he was just as confused but joyful as many of the children were. We then played some volleyball with a soccer ball which marks the first time any of us have seen “angry baby” smile. Walker claimed that “angry baby” was the cutest out of all of the children in the village, yet he feels like this baby in particular hates him the most. We have tried tickling him, making funny faces and even faking our own deaths a few times now; however, nothing but a soccer ball can make that baby smile. We hope that in addition to the soccer ball that clean water will also make him crack a grin, were not asking for a smile…just a grin would be a success in our book. Overall, we had a really productive day and look forward to continuing to distribute our safe storage containers tomorrow so that we can hopefully open up for business on Wednesday. We are all so excited to finally see our business come to life because we and the village have put in a lot of time and effort to see this business through.

Team Sita’s favorite “angry baby”

This has been an eye opening experience for all of us and we would definitely recommend it to everybody looking to make a positive and long lasting difference in the lives of so many. Our community, Parishenaaya, is made up of 30 different family units and on average those households can hold up to eight people so having clean water will definitely change our community for the better.

Cheers,
Lexie, Shama, Walker & Tess

Tess cleans the polytank