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:
It’s been just over a week since we said goodbye to the 2017 Summer Field Reps. Thanks to this group of talented, passionate and driven women and men, Saha was able to partner with with 10 communities in Northern Ghana to open 10 new water treatment businesses. Because of them, over 3,600 people now have the ability to drink clean water, daily. 28 women entrepreneurs are able to provide potable water to their friends, family and neighbors through community-supported small businesses. And Saha is able to welcome 37 new faces to our global Saha family!
Alex, Alex, Alyssa, Amanda, Ashley, Brian, Caitlin, Cameron, Delaney, Dylan, Elias, Emma, Gaby, Harley, Henry, Ian, Jessica, Kate, Laura, Lexie, Lizzy, Lupita, Maya, Meagan, Nick, Rae, Raleigh, Sam, Solum, Sophia, Stew, Sydney, Taylor, Tshion, Zach, Zach, and Zijun:
It seems crazy to think that after three weeks of laughs, mosquito bites, blood/sweat/tears, games, guinea fowls, savannah sunsets, questioning and discoveries, we said goodbye for the last time as a group last week. 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. Due to your efforts and problem-solving, Saha was able to open
Amin, Eda, Eric, Kate, Kathryn, Morganne, Peter, Shak & Wahab
And now … for the jumping pics!
Team Cameron, Sita, Maya and Nick in Vene
Team Jessica, Gaby, Brian, Amin and Henry (not pictured) in Lambo
Team Kate, Blessing, Sophia, Tshion and Harley (not pictured) in Darvoguyili
Team Laura, Sam, Ian, Alyssa and Jaleel (not pictured) in Kpachaa
Team Nestor, Dylan, Rae and Lexie in Gbunja
Team Alex, Delaney, Lupita and Shak in Tingpangyili
Team Taylor, Ashley, Taufik, Lizzie and Stew in Nakpanzoo
Team Sydney, Elias, Raleigh, Wahab and Meaghan in Sahani
Team Simply, Zach, Caitlin, Solum and Emma in Larigbani
Team Zach, Zijun, Alex, Amanda and Peter in Suri
Hi from Team Blessing!
We have been implementing a clean water business in the village of Darvoguyili and have found it to be a lively community with a lot of spirit! After lots of building, preparation, and training, we had our opening day this past Friday. When we arrived to oversee the process we were at first met with total chaos. People were congregated all around the center with their safe storage containers ready to go and women were in the process of roasting shea nuts. A mix of smoke and excitement wafted through the air.
Our friend Jonathan Jakpa, the local schoolteacher, was able to help us organize everyone into a line. From here, our women entrepreneurs took charge. In about an hour, they sold clean water to 38 out of 40 households—a spectacular turn out! The only two households missing had promised to buy clean water later. There were a few minor complications. Leaky taps were tightened and safe storage containers were scrubbed clean. The community seemed ecstatic to take home their newly treated water. The Chief’s mother even stopped to dance for us. It was an amazing feeling for us to see each container be filled to the brim with purified water.
Today we conversed with community members as we went ahead and monitored nine households (followed by a parade of rambunctious children). We were pleased to see that all of the safe storage containers had been stored properly. We were also happy to hear complimentary comments about the water. Some community members appeared to be understandably hesitant to drink the water. We encouraged everyone to try the water out and emphasized that we were eager to hear feedback. We were able to fix another safe storage container tap today and were given guinea fowl eggs in exchange for our services. We met with one of the women entrepreneurs and gave her a printed picture of herself in front of the center. Our last stop consisted of a meeting with the Chief. He was excited to meet with us and informed us that he had been drinking the water. Tomorrow is our last day in the village and we will miss the energy and enthusiasm the community put into this project!
Opening day has come and gone, and we are now proud to say that the people of Tinkpaglanyili now have ready access to clean water. In order to ensure full enjoyment of this blog post, water puns will be made throughout – so sit back, relax, and enjoy wet we’re doing.
We spent all day on Tuesday prepping for our big day. This preparation included getting water from the town’s water source, a well, and transferring it to our water system for treatment, as well as, giving safe storage containers to every single household in the community(which mainly consisted of giving informational talks and directing all of the children who had taken the containers over as their own to the households for distribution). We had a total of 29 households to distribute to, making for a long process. Long story short – we were able to distribute all of the containers before opening day, and did so with no aqua-ward moments in the process.
When we arrived in the village on Wednesday morning, we were greeted by smiling faces eager to get clean water. Taking care to make sure the polytank was full and treated, the entrepreneurs of our community were ready for their first day on the job of water sales. Like a well prepared soccer team, the women of the community were ready to assist the entrepreneurs in their task. This started with a giant bucket washing party with the clean water from the polytank – to avoid contamination. After this frenzy of cleaning and excitement, the filling process began. This started with much enthusiasm and soon led to confusion with water going from bucket to bucket and taps leaking left and right, our team could only ask at some points “Water you doing????” Working through the language barrier, and with the entrepreneurs, we were able to sort out the confusion, and successfully got clean water into every household in the community. ~Well, well, well,~ all we can say is that great leaps and bounds were made in the community.
Hey everyone! Team Nestor here, ready to breakdown a day of monitoring in our community. The monitoring process provides our team yet other chance to interact with the community on a household to household basis. Excitement was running rampant as we bounced from compound to compound across Gbunja. Everyone was so elated that they finally had clean water to provide to their family. One woman in particular went out and bought each member of her family a special cup to use in combination with their household’s safe storage container. The monitoring process not only allowed us to make deeper personal connections with the members of the community but it also allowed us to quickly troubleshoot any leaky taps or buckets.
After a finishing our monitoring rounds in the community, our team had time to sit and bond with the young children of Gbunja. We played soccer with the young boys, practiced English with the ever so curious young girls and set up a trajectory towards success for the women running the community water center.
Goose, Goose, Goose
The trick to teaching a bunch of kids who don’t speak English how to play a new game is a lot of hand signals and aggressive smiling. So that is exactly how we went about showing twenty-odd kids in the Dagbani speaking village of Larigbani how to play the time tested, kid approved game of “Duck, Duck, Goose”.
We started out sitting in the dirt outside of the chief’s village, in as much of a circle as the four of us field representatives could make, motioning to the kids to come and sit with us. The bravest by far were the girls, who marched up with little siblings on their backs, plopped down with a burst of dust and stared at us with curiosity and the sort of humorous trepidation you’d imagine you’d feel whenever finding yourself sitting in a circle with four wildly gesturing, wide smiling salamingas who wandered into your hometown for the first time only the day before. A few more kids trickled in, and after calling over our translator/BFF Simply to help explain our foreign blabbering to the kids, we were off.
The game started out slow as everyone got familiar with the in’s and out’s of Duck, Duck, Goose, but quickly ramped up. Before we knew it we had a crowd of both adults and children watching our game, yelling out encouragements to the Goose’s and hooting with laughter each time one of the kids picked a field rep as the goose (they mostly forgot the word “duck” pretty early on, so we had to judge who they were picking as the goose by how forcefully they said it. “Goose, Goose… Goose, Goose, Goose… GOOSE!”) and we had to hoist ourselves up, sliding on the loose ground as we chased the little darts around our now sizable circle.
Eventually we had to call it quits to get to work, leaving our circle of brand new teeny tiny friends for the track to the dugout, but had those stubborn, cheek picking smiles stuck on our faces for the rest of the day.
If you can believe it, we’re mid-way through the process of setting up our clean water business here in the outskirts of Tamale! Over the past two weeks, there have been far too many experiences to recount in full, but one of the most memorable of the bunch has been finally getting to know our women entrepreneurs and training them on how to set up, manage, and eventually take over the clean water business.
Our team works in a tiny village called Lambo, with just 10 village households and 17 Fulani households. It’s tucked away in a verdant grove, and is very much off the beaten path, leading to a scenic drive there but also lots of difficulties for our villagers when it comes to accessing basic resources. In particular, their water situation was notably worrisome when we first arrived. They are currently drinking out of a very shallow dugout nearby town that may dry up shortly if the rains don’t come. As a result, the water quality is very poor – it is heavily silted, covered with a light layer of scum, and our tests came back showing that it was full of E.coli and other dangerous bacteria.
Fortunately, meeting with the chief and the community went smoothly – everyone was quite receptive to the idea and asked some great questions before welcoming us into their village to begin building the center. The two women who were nominated to run the center are named Fuseina and Awabu, and both are strong in both body and spirit, incredibly attentive, and very much committed to the well-being of their families.
The process of training our women partners turned out to be relatively simple, as they have been dealing with household water their whole lives and intuitively understand the need for providing their families with clean water. First, they fill our three 200L jerry cans with dugout water using their garrawas, the large buckets they use to fetch water, helping one another hoist them over their heads and pour them expertly into the cans. Even with only two or three women filling the cans, we were shocked at how rapidly and efficiently they were able to move that much water around so quickly! A true feat, as anyone who has attempted to lift 50 pounds worth of water over the heads could attest.
Once the jerry cans were full, we showed Fuseina and Awabu how to use alum, our flocculant of choice that helps the sediments in the water clear and settle to the bottom. Many people in the North have used alum before in order to clear the water they use for laundry. As a result, the women took to the task instantly, rolling alum into tight balls and barely needing any guidance on how to swirl the golf ball sized chunks in the cans with care. Finding the right amount of alum to use is a bit of a tricky process – use too little, and the water doesn’t clear, but use too much and the water has a bit of a funky, chemical taste – so we urged our women to err on the side of caution. As it turned out, the first go around wasn’t quite enough, so we had to add a little bit extra the next day, but no harm done.
Once the water had settled and cleared, and we’d lugged our big, 1400 litre polytalk out to the village and mounted it on the stand, the water was ready for purification! Using smaller hand buckets, Fuseina and Awabu delicately scooped the clear, sediment-free water from the top of the jerry cans and poured them into the polytank. We gave them a bag of starter chlorine tablets to use for the time being, and briefly explained to them that they only should add 1 big tablet for every jerry can of water that gets added to the polytank. The two of them listened intently, nodding and making small comments to one other, before getting right to business. Sure enough, the water came out clear and sterilized once poured from the polytank and tested, so we should be good to go for our opening day tomorrow – a huge achievement and a great testament to the hard work of our female entrepreneurs.
In all, it has been a delight to get to know the women who will be at the helm of our business, and we only have the highest hopes for them and their commitment towards providing their communities with clean water. There may be some challenges and road bumps ahead – once the current dugout dries out, we’ll have to relocate the center to a different one nearby – but if the perseverance we’ve seen in our villagers thus far sticks around, they should have no problem getting the center up and running again. So here’s to a future of clean water for Lambo!
Team Sita has been having an amazing time training our two women entrepreneurs Mata Allason and Azzara Ebrah in the wonderful community of Vene. While the trainings took place on some of our longest and hardest days, we also experienced some of our most impactful moments during this experience. It was also amazing to see involvement from the whole community throughout the process. We started the first day by cleaning our three drums. A group of women got to work as soon as we arrived and we all pitched in to make sure that they were clean and ready for water. Then, three incredible individuals each put a large drum on their head and they carried them to the dugout where our business will be set up. A large group of children followed us to the dugout, along with many women from the community. The women all brought their jerrycans and garawas and it was an amazing sight to see them all work together to fill up the drums with dug out water. Once the drums were filled, we could begin alum training with the women. We taught the entrepreneurs and a couple of other helpful women from the community how to make the alum balls and then how to use the alum to get the particles in the water to flocculate. When one of the women saw the particles coming together, she exclaimed “thank you, thank you, thank you!”. It was very meaningful for us to see how excited the community was once they began to see the very first results. We explained to them that the process of the particles sinking to the bottom will happen overnight and that Team Sita would come back the next morning to make sure that the alum worked and that the water is clear.
The next day, we were very happy to see that the water was clear and the community was very excited to check out the clarity of their water. As we were getting the Polytank ready, we ran into a problem with the tap and we were worried that our day might come to an early end. Luckily enough, we were able to get some assistance from Team Shak who is working in a near by community. Once we returned, we were able to train our entrepreneurs on how to carefully scoop the water from the drums (as to not disturb the sediment) and transfer the clean water into the Polytank. They quickly became experts at this task and it was meaningful for us to see them master this important skill. Once the drums were emptied into the Polytank, many women from the community all worked together, once again, and filled up the emptied drums with dugout water. We taught the women how to use the correct amount of chlorine to put into water in the Polytank and emphasized the importance of killing anything that may have remained in the water after the alum treatment. Once we finished the chlorine training, the women used alum again with the dugout water that was put into the drums. It was very exciting for us to see them do the process over again with very little training and to see their enjoyment in watching for the particles to begin flocculating.
Throughout the process of training our women, Team Sita has been able to form relationships with many of the wonderful children and adults in the village by playing soccer (preparing to take on team Shak’s village in a match on our final day), teaching each other English and Dagbani, and simply interacting with one another and appreciating each other’s company. On our way out, we took a sample of the water in our Polytank to test back in Tamale. The tests came back negative and Team Sita, our entrepreneurs, and the entire community of Vene is very excited to drink clean water on opening day!
Our team is assigned to a village named Kpachaa (silent K!), which sits slightly elevated from the surrounding verdant landscape. It is a sizable community, with around 70 households, a mosque (with a resident imam), and a large school. On Monday, we built the water business center. We strapped the Polytank precariously to the top of our taxi and embarked upon an off-road excursion down to the dugout, courtesy of our soft-spoken taxi driver, Quiet Ali (who according to our translator, Jaleel, drives his car like a tank). Upon arrival, we set about the business of cleaning the enormous Polytank. Our vertically challenged teammate, Alyssa, was deemed fit for the task of entering the Polytank and scrubbing it down. She obliged, even though the inside of the tank was essentially a sauna. We put large sticks down on either side of the tank and held onto it to prevent her from rolling away like a hamster in a ball.
Next, we rinsed the tank out with alum-treated water from our large drums, creating a small stream from business to dugout.
Once completely drained, the entrepreneurs scooped the rest of the alum-treated water into the tank and added chlorine Aquatabs. The four of us field reps occupied the women’s children as their mothers filled the tank. We enjoyed ourselves immensely, amazed when they drew out hopscotch, as we believed we had taught them this game the day before. As it turns out, they’ve been playing this game long before we came in, though they call it aberkatchee (completely phonetic spelling). After playing several rounds, we attempted to teach them duck duck goose, which presented its own challenges in trying to teach a game without the aid of language. One bright little girl picked up on the concept of the game quickly, and was able to explain to the younger ones when to get up and run. Once they all began to understand the game, their excitement grew—a bit too much—and the game descended into chaotic jumping.
While we were occupied by the younger children, two of the older schoolboys took off with Alyssa’s phone, taking pictures of whatever they saw fit. This included loads of selfies, but also included some really incredible action shots, both of their mothers working, and of the children playing. All in all it was a memorable day for the four of us in Kpachaa, and we have wonderful documentation thanks to these two boys. Contact us if you’re in the market for a wedding photographer….