This is the village of Nomnayili, located in the Northern Region of Ghana. Nomnayili is a rural village full of large cotton trees, roaming goats, sheep, chickens, and kind, hard-working people. There are 26 households of Dagomba tribe people in the community and 18 households of Fulani just outside of the community (approximately 340 people). Fulani are a semi-nomadic group of people that raise cattle and usually live on the outskirts of a village. They come from different areas of Africa, so many of them speak different languages as the Dagomba communities.
Yesterday, January 12th our village had its opening day for the water treatment center! Our team and the business women were so excited to distribute the clean water! They have worked so hard learning and treating the dugout water over the last week. We pulled up to the village around 8 am and walked to the dugout. On the walk, we passed many women carrying bins on their heads and we were a little worried they might have already fetched water for the day. After waiting a few minutes we saw the business women walking towards the dugout with buckets balanced on their heads (never ceases to impress me). Moments later, many blue buckets carried by women and kids from the village began to pour in. The business women were totally ready; they already had a perfect system in mind for washing, testing for leaks, and filling the storage containers.
All of the containers were lined up, washed and filled with clean water. It was amazing to see the women and kids so happy and grateful to have a sustainable way of attaining a resource that is a basic human right. The kids were downing water bottles that they filled with the treated water, which was a strong contrast to seeing them scoop up dug out water to drink just days before. Mariama, one of the business women, was so happy that she was clapping and dancing when we finished. We tried to teach the kids how to do the footloose dance, but they were being shy and just kinda stared at me. However, the kiddos sure do love having their picture taken!
All the Dagomba households came and left with their filled buckets, but we still hadn’t seen the Fulani households. After sending a couple of kids to spread the word that the center was open, the Fulani began to pour in. At first they were a little hesitant (remember they don’t speak the same language), but after showing them some direction their buckets were filled as well! It was great to see the two communities working with each other so that everyone has access to clean water.
By the end of the morning, all but one household showed up to fill at least one bucket with water! The Polytank ran out after the last bucket, but the women already had settled water to add and treat with chlorine. To finish off opening day, Mariama told us how grateful she and the other business women are for the water treatment center and all of our help. The truth is, we didn’t do too much other than bring the materials and the process. We learned a lot more from them about having a positive attitude and being thankful for everything that we have.
Our team spent the weekend in and out of around Tamale’s markets buying supplies to build Naviali Guma’s (or Guma for short) water treatment center with the Village’s women entrepreneurs. This past weekend we bought three 200L blue drums to treat water with alum, a 140 Rambo Polytank to disinfect alum treated water with chlorine (1400 L), locks, keys, and a chain to keep the center’s parts together. We also bought our welded metal stand to place the polytank on top of so the polytank tap is high enough from the ground to fill each household’s two liter safe storage containers. We picked up 20 SSCs, covers, and taps as well to distribute to the households.
On Friday we brought our metal stand to the village to paint a light blue. The whole village was involved and Ayii, one of Guma’s women entrepreneurs ran to us from her household and started painting with the village elders and some teenagers.
On Saturday, we brought our blue drums and on Sunday we brought our polytank into our village. We cleaned the blue drums with soap and hot dug out water. The village had decided to place the center by the dug out. So we had a lot of help carrying the blue drums, metal stand, and polytank to the dug out. It’s roughly a 20-25 minute walk from the center of The village. Men from Guma made sure the treatment center was placed on flat ground in the shade. Several women filled each blue drum from dug out water, so we could train Ayii and Mayimantu to treat the particulate water with alum.
We explained to Ayii and Mayimantu that particulates make the dug out water turbid, or opaque. Alum separates the positively charged particulates from the negatively charged water. After swirling one to two balls of alum the size of one fist underneath the surface of dug out water, particulates usually will settle to the bottom of a 200L drum of dig out water. The amount of alum needed to remove particulates from dug out water depends on the turbidity of the water. My team advised Ayii and Mayimantu to treat dug out water with one ball first, let the particles settle for twenty four hours, and then revisiting the drums to see if the water needs to be retreated with another ball. After twenty four hours, the 200L drums are to be treated with alum if the water is still turbid, but the women entrepreneurs should only wait fifteen to twenty minutes for particulates to settle. Treating water turbidity is almost like a guess and check process.
After we treated some dug out water for turbidity, we used it to clean the poly tank. Taufik and several men from our village removed the poly tank from the stand and placed it onto the ground. Ayii and Maimantu splashed roughly a fourth of one treated 200L blue drum into the poly tank, and we scrubbed the inside and the mouth of the polytank with some detergent. After we emptied the poly tank a few times through the tap and the water came out clear, we added another fourth to two fourths of the treated blue drum water into our poly tank. We also added one chlorine aqua tab. We told Guma’s women entrepreneurs usually one aqua tab is to be used to disinfect the transparent water after scooping one 200L blue drum into the polytank. This time however, we used one chlorine aqua tab and less than 200L to concentrate the water and clean the polytank for the first time.
While my team instructed Ayii and Mayimantu how to clean their center’s polytank and drums, My team had noticed another woman, also named Mayimantu has been present at all our trainings. We asked the village to consider her as another woman entrepreneur. Though she is still breastfeeding her daughter, she is very helpful, and engaged at all our trainings so the village allowed us to continue to train her, and Guma’s originally appointed women entrepreneurs will continue working with her when she has the time.
Today, we returned to Guma to distribute one 2L safe storage container to ten households out of the twenty one households in Guma. During this time, my team explained SSC’s cost 20 pesweas to fill at Guma’s water treatment center, and that cost contributes towards the center’s maintenance: the cost of buying aquatics, alum, replacement locks, keys, even saving for emergencies if the center needs a new poly tank or blue drums. We also explained to villagers that treated water from the center goes into the SSC through the top lid, and in the household it should only come out of the tap. A designated cup should be close to every household’s SSC and water can be received from the tap. To prevent contamination, is not to be scooped with cups from the top of the SSC. Every SSC should be placed at least 6 inches from the ground, so a cup can fit underneath the tap.
Today we also showed Guma’s three women entrepreneurs, Ayii, Mayimantu, and Mayimantu how to screw taps inside safe storage containers, so they can address any leaks in household SSC’s before a full time Saha monitor. Tomorrow we will continue to distribute the rest of Guma’s safe storage containers to the households and Fulani. We will also check on the water the women treated this afternoon.
With this post, we’re kicking off our “Field Rep Voices” segment for winter 18! What better way to keep you up to date with the progress of our 4 new water business implementations then to hear from our Field Reps themselves? Over the next few weeks, you’ll have the chance to hear from each team about the challenges and successes of all our new business. So without further ado, take it away, Team Dzorsah!
We have been having a great time in our village, Kujeri, in Ghana’s Northern Region! On our first day in the village, we met with the chief to propose our clean water business, and every day since then has gone incredibly well.
Over the past nine days, we have collected and monitored their current dugout water; selected our four female entrepreneurs (Asana, Abu, Mayama, and Mamemumat); and started building the treatment center. Our team has also loved exploring the Tamale market during our free time!
Mamemouna poses for her picture.
One of the most rewarding experiences was showing the clean and dirty 3M samples during the chief, elder, and community meetings. It was striking for everyone in the village to see the positive tests for bacteria and E.coli in their own dugout water sources for the first time – and it got everyone further inspired and enthusiastic towards building the sustainable center soon!
Additionally, everyone in the village has been so friendly, welcoming, and grateful. One of the highlights was when the village chief presented us with a guinea fowl and 16 cassava yams to express his thanks! To balance work and play, we also play soccer with the kids most afternoons.
Our driver Hustla and our translator Dzorsah have been amazing, and make every dusty drive to Kujeri a good time (#SAHArmattan). We are so excited for the opening day of Kujeri’s clean water business this Thursday!
This December, Heidi Ayran joined the Saha team as our new Operations Coordinator. Heidi will be will be working with the team to continue insuring all Saha community businesses are running effectively and supporting development and expansion as Saha pushes to reach more communities. Say hello to Heidi:
Hi, I’m Heidi and like all others on the Saha Team I have a passion for clean water for all! I got to celebrate graduating with a degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley (Go Bears!) by participating in Saha’s Summer 2015 Global Leadership Program. It was an amazing experience to be able to implement a solar business in Jangbaryili with Team Jaleel, which has stuck with me to this day!
Working with Saha showed me how effective simple solutions could be and how important is was to invest time into getting to know the people. A quality that really stood out to me was that Saha’s ultimate goal is to have these villages self-sustaining. Give a village a clean water solution, sustain them for some time. Give a village the understanding of the importance of clean water and how to get it, sustain them for a lifetime!
After the program, I worked as a Project Engineer for a General Contractor in SF and built high rise residential buildings. However, I soon realized that my passions were not being fueled my current position, so I decided to change that. I saw that Saha was hiring a new Operations Coordinator and I seized the opportunity. I was drawn (twice!) to Saha not only because of their passion for clean water, but their passion for people. Saha is overflowing with it! I look forward to see how I can contribute and collaborate to such a great cause and where the new year will take the Saha Team!
As our Field Rep Alumni already know, Nestor and Simply are quite the brother-sister duo and Saha is so excited to have them both join the full time team! Simply started monitoring with us this summer, and both officially joined the monitoring staff in September. They’re working hard alongside the rest of our team to get centers back up and running after the rainy season, and they’ve brought plenty of energy and fun to the office too! Everyone at Saha is thrilled to have the Tamale team growing, which will help us better monitor our current businesses and implement more in the Northern Region. More updates on the post-rainy season projects to come but until then let’s offer a warm welcome to Nestor and Simply!
Nestor grew up in Bulpela neighborhood of Tamale. He found out about Saha through Peter, and joined our team as a translator for the Global Leadership Program in January 2012. His first Saha business was a water center in Manguli 1. Nestor joined the team full time in September 2017 as a monitor, alongside his sister Simply. In his free time, Nestor loves listening to music and dancing, and his favorite food is T.Z. and ayoyo. When the Saha Field Reps are in town, he enjoys having fun with them and the kids out in our partner communities.
Simply first joined Saha’s team as a translator in January 2014, after learning of our work through Eric. She implemented a water center in Manguli 2. She became a full time monitor in September 2017, and says her favorite time at Saha is when new Field Reps arrive for the Global Leadership Program. Simply grew up in Bulpela neighborhood of Tamale with her brother, Nestor. Before Saha, Simply obtained her certificate in hair dressing and cosmetics. She enjoys eating banku with hot pepper sauce and fish, and she likes listening to music in her free time.
A lot has been happening with Saha Global. We started off the year by opening our 100th water business in Ghana with the help of the 2017 Winter Field Reps. Since then, we’ve opened 10 other businesses, and are now serving clean drinking water to a total of 51,798 people in rural Ghana. Read on for more exciting updates from our team!
A Renewed Focus on Water: It’s Time to Grow!
Preparing to open our 100th water business was very exciting and also provided some time for reflection. While we are so proud to be providing clean drinking water for over 50,000 people in Ghana, there are approximately 800,000 people in the Northern Region of Ghana alone who are still drinking unsafe water. We know that the Saha water businesses are the best solution for rural villages in this area and we have the track record to prove it: once a Saha business is open, it stays open and provides clean water that stays clean, even when its stored in peoples’ homes. So now we want to grow, quickly.
This renewed focus on expanding our impact in water means that Saha will not be opening any new solar businesses for the foreseeable future. This change is bittersweet. On the one hand, we know that access to electricity is something that people in our partner communities value and our solar businesses see a lot of success in the early years. On the other hand, we have been having issues with maintenance in a lot of our communities once they reach the 2 year mark. The good news is, there are a lot of really amazing organizations doing innovative work in off-grid solar solutions. For now, we will continue to provide monitoring support to our 26 solar businesses and our hope is that another organization, which focuses only on solar, will want to partner with our Saha villages soon!
Simply and Nestor Join Our Team
This summer, two of our best translators, Simply (3rd from left) and Nestor (1st on the left), joined Saha’s monitoring team! They both provided part-time help this rainy season and have officially joined our full-time monitoring team this month to offer support as we transition into the dry season and start to ramp up new village implementations.New Board Members
With expansion in mind, Saha welcomed four new members to our Board of Directors this year to help Saha reach our goals for scale: Bill Ambrose, Mark Ferrari, Greg Garvin and Bennett Grassano. Each one of our new directors brings unique skills and experiences that have already proven to be tremendously helpful to the Saha team. Read more about their backgrounds here!
New Funding Partners
Over the past year, we have been very grateful to receive support from a number of new funding partners who believe that Saha can achieve impact at scale and are excited to support our growth. Kevin Starr, from the Mulago Foundation, even wrote this great article featuring Saha after a visit to Ghana last February!
We are looking for a dynamic leader with operational experience to lead our team in Ghana as we prepare for rapid growth. Please share this job description with anyone that may be a good fit. We are looking for someone who is excited about living and working in Tamale for a minimum of 3 years.
As some of you know already, our goal to reach everyone in Northern Ghana that needs clean water also means that we will not be expanding our work to Nicaragua just yet. At first, we delayed this expansion due to the outbreak of the Zika virus, but it later became clear that Saha can have the biggest impact for every dollar that we raise, if we focus 100% of our work in Ghana until every village that needs a Saha water business has one.
Hello Hello Saha Supporters!
Morganne here, reporting from a very rainy Tamale! The rains waited until the Summer Global Leadership Program finished to really get started, but now rainy season is in full swing! With the help of our #sahydrated Field Reps, we opened 10 new water businesses in June! Our monitoring team has been working hard to get to all 110 villages, even through some very wet and muddy terrain!
The rainy season is generally a time for slower sales at Saha water centers, because many people opt to collect rainwater off of their tin roofs. Saha understands the lure for free clean water, we just make sure to test those rainwater samples to make sure they are safe to drink! The rains can also make actually getting to water centers, and even villages, challenging when the roads flood. Our monitoring staff do their best but also make smart decisions so they don’t get stuck in the mud!
Here are the latest reports from the newest Saha communities:
|Villages||Full-time Monitor||How’s it going?||Center Status||Household Visits||Lab Samples|
|Darvoguyili||Eric, he visited on August 2nd||Abida said they treated water five days ago and a few people are still coming to buy water even with so much rainfall they’ve had recently.||The Polytank was more than ½ full and 3 drums were empty.||5 out of 6 households had water in their safe storage containers. 3 of them had Polytank water, the other 2 had rainwater.||The Polytank and two household samples came back clear and clean!|
|Gbunja||Eric, he visited July 31st||All of the women had left to farm when he arrived, so Eric spoke to the Chairman. He said the cener is open at anytime for anyone who needs to buy water, and the women have been treating water consistently.||The Polytank was ¼ full and 3 drums were empty.||4 households had Polytank water in their safe storage container, 1 had rainwater, and 1 was empty.||The Polytank and household sample of Polytank water came back clean!|
|Kpachaa||Shak, he visited August 3rd||He wasn’t able to meet any of the women, but spoke to Sana’s daughter who said sales have been okay with all of the rain.||The Polytank was more than ½ full and drums were all full and settled with alum.||Shak decided to do extra household visits because the entrepreneurs were out at farm. Out of the 10 households he visited, 8 had rainwater and 2 were empty.||The Polytank sample was clean!|
|Lambo||Wahab, he visited on August 4th||Fusheina explained that sales are low because the rainfall flooded the path to the center and people have been collecting rainwater. As soon as the path starts to dry a bit they will move the center to town so people can buy water!||Wahab couldn’t get to the center on his moto, but Fusheina said the Polytank is ½ full and drums are all full and settled with alum. They are ready to treat!||He did not do household visits today as many people had already left for the farm.||No lab samples were taken today. The last Polytank sample came back clean!|
|Larigbani||Eric, he visited on August 3rd||Adamu said sales were going well, and Eric saw 14 people come fill their containers while he was there!||The Polytank was ½ full and 3 drums were full and settled with alum.||Of the 6 Eric visited, 3 households had Polytank water in their safe storage containers, and 3 were empty.||The Polytank and household samples came back clean!|
|Nakpanzoo||Shak, he visited on August 2nd||Sana said that sales are still low because the rain has been falling a lot recently, but people still come to buy water when they run out.||The Polytank was more than ½ full and 3 drums were full and settled with alum.||All 6 households had water in their safe storage containers. 1 had Polytank water, the other 5 had rainwater.||The Polytank sample came back clean!|
|Sahani||Peter, he visited on August 3rd||When Peter was there, Aishetu talked about lower sales because the rain had been very heavy the past few days.||The Polytank was ½ full and the drums were all empty.||Peter visited 6 households, and 4 of them had water in their safe storage containers. 1 had Polytank water and 3 had rainwater.||The Polytank and household samples came back clean!|
|Suri||Wahab, but Peter went to check on his team’s community on August 4th||Aishetu said sales are low when the rain is very heavy but people still come to buy water once the rain stops for a few days.||The Polytank was more than ½ full and drums were all empty.||2 out of the 6 households had Polytank water in their safe storage containers. 3 had rainwater and 1 was empty.||The Polytank and household samples all came back clean!|
|Tingpanglanyili||Amin, he visited on July 31st||Amina said that although sales have decreased because of the rain some people still come to fill at the polytank||Polytank is ½ full and 3 drums are full and settled with alum||3 households had Polytank water in their safe storage containers, 2 had rainwater, and 1 was empty.||Most household samples came back clean. Amin spoke to Hadunayili, whose sample came back with E.coli, about how to safely collect rainwater.|
|Vene||Amin, he visited on July 31st||Sales have been slow due to the recent rainfall, but Azaratu said she makes sure to keep water in the Polytank so people can always buy if they need it!||Polytank is more than ½ full and 3 drums were full and settled with alum.||6 out of 6 households had water in their safe storage containers. 1 had Polytank water, the other 5 had rainwater.||The Polytank sample came out clean.! A few of the rainwater households had E.coli so Amin went back to tell them to dump that dirty water and clean their bucket!|
The monitoring team is watching these communities closely and will be sure to help them with the seasonal transition after the rainy season. Special shoutout to our Summer Field Reps for getting these businesses up and running!!
Applications for the Winter 2018 Global Leadership Program close October 25th, 2017. Click here to stay updated.
The Global Leadership Program is a three-week water-education and leadership-training program, which takes place in Northern Region Ghana. The purpose of the program is to teach individuals about the global water crisis, and inspire them to become leaders in the field of international development and water management. Field Representatives are grouped in teams of four and paired with a rural community in Northern Region Ghana. Teams are trained in water quality testing and Saha Global’s water treatment methods, as well as community mobilization best practice. They then spend two weeks implementing and monitoring a Saha water business in a new partner community. This business provides a source of clean drinking water to the entire community for the first time.
Saha is looking for a multidisciplinary group of passionate and talented young leaders who:
Amin sat down with Azaratu, one of our newest entrepreneurs, to get her thoughts on the first month running a water business with Mata!
Azaratu grew up in Chihigu, another Saha community! She moved to Vene when she married her husband, who is from Vene. Together they have 6 kids.
Before the Saha water business opened, Azaratu used to harvest shea nuts to make shea butter, and she harvested wood to make charcoal. She also farms and during the dry season goes fishing!
Vene’s water business opened last month (shoutout to #sahydrated), and Azaratu says the change in taste of her drinking water (from dugout water to clean water) has been great!
When Amin asked her what her favorite part about the Saha business was she said, “I was happy to see the field reps and talk to them about opening the clean drinking water center for our village. And I’m also happy the field reps told us after they leave people from Saha will still come, and you really show up!”
We’re so excited to keep showing up for you, Azaratu! Keep up the amazing work!