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Meet Our Field Reps: Jeremy Lakin

Jeremy picMy name is Jeremy Lakin and I’m originally from Reading, PA. After graduating from high school in Lancaster, PA I moved to NYC to attend NYU. I graduated in May 2015 with a BA in politics and Romance Languages. While I was lucky enough to be introduced to the water and sanitation through an internship at charity: water I really wanted to get first hand experience working with populations affected by a lack of access to clean drinking water. I found Saha on a whim when I was looking for jobs after college and immediately fell in love with Saha’s mission and model, particularly its dedication to monitoring.

I went with this past winter group in 2015-2016 and worked in a village called Futa, about 45 mins away from our home base in Tamale. One of the moments that I will never forget is visiting this one household a few days after we opened the clean water business. The woman that lived there told us that she recently had a visitor from Tamale visit her. When she offered him water he turned it down at first, but when she showed him she had clean, safe drinking water he was amazed. The smile on her face and the pride she expressed is something I’ll never forget. It really put the water crisis into new perspective for me. It isn’t just a health crisis, but a crisis of dignity and pride, and Saha addresses all of these needs.

I’m so grateful for this opportunity because it gave me invaluable field experience. All the reading and classwork can’t prepare you for being the first foreigner a child meets, or how to react when your polytank springs a leak. This experience affirmed my desire for a career in international development. I recently finished a six month internship with Global Health Corps. I’m a finalist for Global Health Corps’ highly selective fellowships and have been accepted to SIPA at Columbia thanks in great part to Saha Global.

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions about the Saha Global Leadership Program at jdlakin4@gmail.com. You can also learn more about me and check in to see what I’m up to now here!

May Monitoring Report

May Monitoring Screenshot

Villages visited:

 Week 1:

 Gbung, Chongashe, Libi, Jarayili, Kushini, Kpalbusi, Gidanturu, Chanaayili, Original Kabache, Indigenous Kabache, Kideng, Tunga, Laligu, Kpalyn, Yepalsi, Jangbarigiyili, , Zanzugu, Zanzugu Yepala, Changyili, Balomposo, Tijo, Tindan I, Kpalguni I, Chandanyili, Jagberin, Sagbaragu, Gundaa, Namdu I, Namdu II, Warvi, Kpaliga, Chihigu, Galinkpegu, Naha, Cheshagu, Futa, Kpalguni II, Wovugumani, Wovugu, Manguli II, Janakpen, Gbruma, Takpili, Chani, Cheko, Kpanshegu, Komlanyili, Yepala, Bamvim, Kpenchila, Komonaayili, Kulaa, Moya, Kudula, Voghyili, Djelo, Manguli I, Kuldanali, Bogu, Tindan II, Nekpegu, Kalinka, Tohinayili, Gurumanchayili, Gbandu.

 

Week 2:

 Sabonjida, Tunga, Kideng, Chanaayili, Gidanturu, Kpalbusi, Jarayili, Gbung, Libi, Chongashe, Kushini, Kpalyn, Yepalsi, Laligu, Zanzugu, Zanzugu Yepala, Yakuru, Jabayili, Wambong, Garizegu, Changyili, Jangbarigiyili, Balomposo, Warvi, Chihigu, Cheshagu, Galinkpegu, Naha, Tindan I, Tijo, Sagbarigu, Jagberin, Chandanyili, Kpalguni, Namdu I, Namdu II, Gundaa, Tapkli, Chani, Cheko, Nyamalga, Jarigu, Komlanyili, Yepala, Kpanshegu, Bamvim, Kpenchila, Sakpalua, Kudula, Vogyili, Dundo, Gurumanchayili, Djelo, Buhijaa, Manguli I, Moya, Kulaa, Tohinaayili, Nekpegu, Kalinka.

 

Week 3:

 Gidanturu, Kushini, Libi, Jarayili, Chanaayili, Chongashe, Tunga, Kideng, Original Kabache, Indigenous Kabache, Balomposo, Galizengu, Yakuru, Kpalyn, Laligu, Wambong, Kuruguvuhuyayili, Kagbal, Changyili, Jangbarigiyili, Namdu I, Namdu II, Gundaa, Warvi, Chihigu, Naha, Kpachiyili, Kpaliga, Sagbarigu, Kpalguni I, Chandanyili, Jagberin, Tijo, Tindan I, Jarigu, Nyamalga, Cheko, Chani, Tapkli, Komlanyili, Yepala, Futa, Kpalguni II, Kpenchila, Bamvim, Kpanshegu, Manguli I, Buhijaa, Djelo, Vogyili, Kudula, Kulaa, Moya, Kpanayili, Gbandu, Garizegu, Gurumanchayili, Bogu, Tindan II, Kuldanali.

Week 4:

 

Gbung, Libi, Jarayili, Kpalbusi, Gidanturu, Chanaayili, Kushini, Chongashe, Kideng, Tunga, Sabonjida, Zanzugu, Zanzugu Yepala, Jangbarigiyili, Jabayili, Yakura, Galizengu, Balomposo, Changyili, Yepala, Kpalung, Laligu, Kagbal, Kpalguni, Chandanyili, Jagberin, Sagbarigu, Tijo, Tindan, Warvi, Chihigu, Cheshagu, Kpachiyili, Namdu, Namdu II, Bamvim, Kpanshegu, Yepala, Jarigu, Komlanyili, Chani, Cheko, Kpalguni II, Futa, Gburma, Janakpen, Jarigu, Wovugumani, Wovugu, Kpanayili, Kalinka, Nekpegu, Tohinaayili, Komonaayili, Kulaa, Kudula, Vogyili, Moya, Tindan II, Bogu, Kuldanali, Buhijaa, Djelo.

Successes

 We are happy to report that, once again, 80% of our households had clean water in their safe storage containers. We are very excited about this number and look forward to seeing it increase further! This month, there were a number of communities with high water sales. These villages include: Nekpegu, Chihigu, Vogyili, Kagbal, Balomposo, Wambong, Galinkpegu, Kideng, Gidanturu, Futa and Komonaayili. We are especially impressed with Chihigu, Galinkpegu, Futa, and Kombonaayili because they were recently implemented this past winter. Two of our solar communitites, Chandanyili and Wambong, had high solar sales this month. Although they don’t currently have bank accounts, Sagbarigu, Chadanyili, Kpalguni, Gundaa, Namdu I and Namdu II plan on opening bank accounts very soon!

Challenges

Although some communities have received rain, the following communities still have very low dugouts: Djelo, Buhijaa Tindan I, and Chandanyili. When the dugouts fill back up, women entrepreneurs are encouraged to inform their community that their centers are regularly running again. This month, Namdu II, Kuldanali, Manguli II, and Djelo had polytank issued that were fixed by our full time staff. Most polytank issues are leaks from the tap, which can be fixed with new parts or just glue and tape! Additionally, Gundaa’s solar center had a leak in the roof that had to be immediately fixed and Jangbarigiyili experienced loose wires after a storm that were fixed with the help of our full time staff. Sagbarigu informed Wahab that they were not given any spare batteries after implementation of their solar business. Businesses are given 10% extra batteries for their solar centers to use as others are charging. Wahab plans to bring these to the women entrepreneurs as soon as possible.

 

 

 

Sanatu makes sales in Kpenchilla. The polytank was leaking but Eric helped fix the problem

Sanatu makes sales in Vogyili.

 

"Sun was scortching, so I brought the polytank under some shade to fix" - Eric in Kpenchila

“Sun was scorching, so I brought the polytank under some shade to fix” – Eric in Kpenchila

 

"Bought some aquatabs" - Eric monitors

“Ramatu bought some aquatabs” – Eric monitors Nekpegu
Scooping water to treat for sales in Kpaligini

Scooping water to treat for sales in Kpaligini

 

"Drinking some clean water and feeling refreshed" - from Eric, monitoring

“Drinking some clean water and feeling refreshed” – from Eric, monitoring

 

The community of Vogyili reinforces their dugout in the hope that it will hold more water this rainy season (background). In the foreground, kids pose with Eric

The community of Vogyili reinforces their dugout in the hope that it will hold more water this rainy season (background). In the foreground, kids pose with Eric
Solar center in Sakpalua

Solar center in Sakpalua , run by Damu (above and below)

 

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"Tindan I water is running very low pray for rain to come" - Wahab in Tindan I

“Tindan I water is running very low pray for rain to come” – Wahab in Tindan I
Arishetu and Dahiyatu, entrepreneurs in Tindan I

Arishetu and Dahiyatu, entrepreneurs in Tindan I

 

Household visit in Tindan I, as Wahab monitors there

Household visit in Tindan I, as Wahab monitors there

 

"This family said they are happy to have a access to clean water at the community" - Wahab monitors in Naha

“This family said they are happy to have a access to clean water at the community” – Wahab monitors in Naha

 

"Household monitoring, though this house was my favorite household on this day. I found out that they have six safe storage containers in the house" - Wahab monitors at Galikpegu

“Household monitoring, though this house was my favorite household on this day. I found out that they have six safe storage containers in the house” – Wahab monitors at Galikpegu

 

A new compound in Galinkepgu. Wahab, who monitors here, gave the family a safe storage container so that they could start purchasing clean water from the treatment center

A new compound in Galinkepgu. Wahab, who monitors here, gave the family a safe storage container so that they could start purchasing clean water from the treatment center.

 

"Household vist" - Wahab monitors

“Household vist” – Wahab monitors
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“I found dugout water in someone’s bucket at Galikpegu” – Saha’s policy is that safe storage containers can only be used for safe drinking water, so if our staff comes across dugout water while monitoring, the family needs to dump it out and wash the container thoroughly if they are interested in continuing to use it for clean water. This is what the long-term challenges of behavior change look like!

 

"Household visit with a full bucket of clean water"

“Household visit with a full bucket of clean water”

 

"This family is being doing good making sure they have enough clean water in the house so that those who come to their house would not drink dugout water by accident" - Wahab montiors Gundaa

“This family is being doing good making sure they have enough clean water in the house so that those who come to their house would not drink dugout water by accident” – Wahab monitors Gundaa

 

 

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Sometimes figuring out the water-proof backing to these lanterns can be tricky!

Sometimes figuring out the water-proof backing to these lanterns can be tricky!

 

Amin arrives for sales at Futa

Amin arrives for sales at Futa

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Household visits in Chanaayili - the business here was implemented in Jan 2011 and is still going strong!

Household visits in Chanaayili – the business here was implemented in Jan 2011 and is still going strong!

 

"Kpalbusi calling" - a photo from Peter's monitoring

“Kpalbusi calling” – a photo from Peter’s monitoring

 

"Today I met up with Nma Nimpaga at Komlanyili at their dugout. She was happy they now have water at their dugout so they don't have to move the center back and forth"

“Today I met up with Nma Nimpaga at Komlanyili at their dugout. She was happy they now have water at their dugout so they don’t have to move the center back and forth”
The team gathers at the Saha office for our weekly Friday meeting!

The team gathers at the Saha office for our weekly Friday meeting!

 

"Fati putting the batteries on charge" - from Wahab's monitoring

“Fati putting the batteries on charge” – from Wahab’s monitoring

 

Chihigu's new dugout after the rains

Chihigu’s new dugout after the rains

 

Fatima, an entrepreneur in Namdu 2, just had a new baby. Her name is Barikisu! Amarraba!

Fatima, an entrepreneur in Namdu 2, just had a new baby. Her name is Barikisu! Amarraba!

 

"This woman is from Chihigu and she is happy having access to clean water at the community" - from Wahab's monitoring in May

“This woman is from Chihigu and she is happy having access to clean water at the community” – from Wahab’s monitoring in May

Voice from the Field: Team TJ – Jeremy, Ellie, Jessica and Leigh

Dear Diary,

Today began with uncertainty… Last night we lay restless with the thought that our Poltyank water could be contaminated. On the ride to Futa today, we anxiously waited for Kathryn’s call to disclose the water tests. To our relief, the water was clean! Although we were one man down (feel better Jess!) we were so excited that opening day had finally arrived!!! We got to Futa and quickly realized the key to the Polytank was with our fallen team mate back at the guesthouse. Yet there was a solution: our translator TJ, a rock, and a screwdriver after much effort cracked it.

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There was a buzz in Futa upon our arrival. Several women had sent their children ahead to queue up for the opening. Our three entrepreneurs, Fati, Mariama, and Sanatu, met us at the treatment center, ready to make their first sales. Quickly a line formed and it seemed all of Futa’s women were ready to claim their clean water with their safe storage containers in hand. We eagerly jotted down ever family that came to the center, remembering their households during the container distribution days.

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Many women tried the water firsthand and loved the taste, comparing it to sachet water locally found in town. The transformation from mucky dugout water to clear, safe drinking water was amazing. In order to celebrate the success of the center and the water’s outcome, many laughs were had and there was even a dance off between Jeremy and Fati (Fati clearly won). Out of the 32 households, 27 were present at the center. Fati, Mariama, and Sanatu did a wonderful job running their business and were beyond thrilled to be providing their community with clean drinking water.

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To finish off the day, a few egg and bread sandwiches were in order to commemorate the business’ opening. Now for some Fanmilk and much needed naps! More to come, stay tuned…

Love,

Team TJ, aka Team Eggs and Bread