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Monitoring Updates From Eda

Despa!! I’m currently sitting in the Saha office on a rainy Monday morning. Most days we’d be out monitoring right now, but the downpour is keeping us inside. We gave it our best shot, heading out at 6:30am only to make it to the other side of Tamale before we were soaked through. It doesn’t help much to put a rain jacket on after the rains begin, and motos don’t offer any rain protection, so back to the office Wahab and I drove! Tomorrow we will try again!

 

The few weeks since the Global Leadership Program ended have been an adventure. Thus far, I’ve gone monitoring with Eric, Shak, and am now starting to monitor with Wahab. Katie and I are spending a week with each full time staff to really understand how things run around here.

Eric monitors Vogyili, the community I implemented a water business in as a field rep. It was fun to monitor and see how well they were doing, especially considering they now have a solar business too. Eric also monitors five of the nine new water businesses from this summer’s GLP. All five (Kanjeyili, Baayili, Dawunyili, Mahamuyili, and Kpingiyili) are doing well!

Moto

 

A few surprises occurred when Shak and I visited Yakura. The first of which was the small lake that greeted us on the road into the village. We weren’t sure we could make it through on the moto, but a man passing by on a bicycle assured us it wasn’t that deep. However, he was taking a back route that wasn’t moto friendly to avoid the puddle, so we were on our own. I decided to let Shak ride alone, and I would walk though the puddle rather than risk a swim were the moto to tip. Thankfully, the man was right and we made it through without (many) problems, but I am glad I walked!

Puddle

 

In Yakura I also saw Mary, one of the women entrepreneurs from my time in Vogyili. We were walking into our first household to monitor and there she was!

I knew that she had moved to another community, but I was so surprised and excited to see her! She’s now helping run the water and solar businesses in Yakura. Mary was equally as surprised to see me, and asked how Victoria, Jacob, and Hailey were (my 2013 GLP teammates).  It was a touching reminder of the lasting impact field reps and Saha truly have on each community and its entrepreneurs.

Kitchen

 

And now, an update on living in Tamale and a shameless plug for our food blog! Katie and I have started an Instagram account – tamaleeats – to document our adventures cooking and eating here in Tamale (even though we have zero experience with food photography). It’s a whole new world learning what goods we can actually cook from the market, and trying to operate our oven. It’s a great day if it only takes one match to light the stove!

 

Nevertheless, I think we’ve done a splendid job so far: we haven’t eaten plain rice for any meal and we discovered donuts in the market can be a good (albeit not nutritious) lunch substitute when it’s too hot to turn on the stove. Head over to tamaleeats to see homemade falafel, mujadara, chili, and more!

Donuts Falafel

#Sahayili16 Reflections on the 2016 Summer Global Leadership Program

It’s been just over a week since we said farewell to the 2016 Summer Field Reps. Thanks to this group of amazing individuals, Saha partnered with 15 communities in Northern Ghana to open 9 new water treatment businesses and 6 new solar charging businesses, which provide jobs to 27 new entrepreneurs. 3,288 people now have permanent access to safe drinking water and 2,232 people have access to reliable, clean solar electricity. Additionally, 16 of our water entrepreneurs have now been trained to run solar businesses, increasing their earning potential!

Abby, Adeel, Alexis, Aliyah, Angela, Anita, Anna, Annalise, Arielle, Ashley, Audrey, Ayodele, Bethany, Bill, Chelsea, Christina, Davis, Diana, Erin, Eugenia, Greg, Jack, Jen, Jhoanny, John F, John H, Jose, Julia C, Julia R, Kanaha, Kate, Kathryn, Kelsea, Kevonté, Kristen, Laura, Lauren, Lexie, Lorry, Lucy, Mcrid, Micah, Molly, Morgan, Olivia, Rachael, Ryan, Sam, Savannah, Shuoyang, Swapnil, Taylor, Tim, Vivian, Wivine, Yanshu and Yi,

We can’t believe that it’s been 10 days since we packed our bags and loaded up together for the last time – surprisingly on time and without technical difficulties, a real Tamale miracle! We are so grateful for the energies, talents and passions that you brought to Saha, which were essential to the opening of these new water and solar businesses. It is no exaggeration to say that because of you, thousands of people are living their lives with more opportunities for health and happiness. It was a pleasure to work with each and every one of you, and we are so lucky to continue to have you as members of the Saha Team! As head off to your next impactful endeavors, remember your community and Saha, and let us know what we can do to further your missions. 

To quote Kpanshegu’s chief, as he related to Team Amin during their Chief Meeting, “There is currently a shift in the consciousness of the African culture to realize that they [the villagers] deserve it [clean water, electricity, education,etc.]. True knowledge is not knowing English or how to read or write, but rather it is the recognition of who you are and what you need to do; and if you explain that this [business] is theirs and that they need to work with you for it, that they will appreciate it and make it their own. And those who have knowledge and do not share it with others will be cursed by god whether they know it or not. It is your job with knowledge to pass it on to others and facilitate that change.” 

With gratitude,

Amin, Brianán, Eda, Eric, Kathryn, Katie, Peter, Shak & Wahab

Bamvim - Anita, Jack, Yanshu, Laura

Jack, Yanshu, Anita and Laura in the community of Bamvim

 

 

Audrey, Taufik, Taylor, Micah and Anna in the community of Baayili

Audrey, Taufik, Taylor, Micah and Anna in the community of Baayili

 

Dzorsah, Greg, Wivine, Jen and Abby in the community of Changbuni

Dzorsah, Greg, Wivine, Jen and Abby in the community of Changbuni

 

Kathryn, Annalise, Simply, Molly and Aliyah in the community of Dawunyili

Kathryn, Annalise, Simply, Molly and Aliyah in the community of Dawunyili

 

Mcrid, Arielle, Kanaha, Lexie and Nestor in Jukuku

Mcrid, Arielle, Kanaha, Lexie and Nestor in Jukuku

 

Kelsea, Lucy, Bill, Sita and Diana in the community of Kanjeyili

Kelsea, Lucy, Bill, Sita and Diana in the community of Kanjeyili

 

Ayodele, Olivia, Lorry in the community of Komlanyili

Ayodele, Olivia, Lorry in the community of Komlanyili

 

Jhoanny, Adeel and Tim (missing: Shuoyang) in the community of Kpanshegu

Jhoanny, Adeel and Tim (missing: Shuoyang) in the community of Kpanshegu

 

Erin, Alexis, Peter, Swapnil and Julia in the community of Kpingiyili

Erin, Alexis, Peter, Swapnil and Julia in the community of Kpingiyili

 

Yi, Savannah, Eugenia and Chelsea in the community of Mahmuruyili

Yi, Savannah, Eugenia and Chelsea in the community of Mahmuruyili

 

TJ, Angela, Jose & John in the community of Moya

TJ, Angela, Jose & John in the community of Moya

 

Christina, Bethany, Sam, Julia and Sumaya in Sankunpe

Christina, Bethany, Sam, Julia and Sumaya in Sankunpe

 

Ashley, Lauren, Kate, Amina and John in Tantuani

Ashley, Lauren, Kate, Amina and John in Tantuani

 

Davis, Rachael, Vivian and Morgan in the community of Warivi

Davis, Rachael, Vivian and Morgan in the community of Warivi

 

Rachel, Ryan, Kristen, Wahab and Kevonté in the community of Yapala

Rachel, Ryan, Kristen, Wahab and Kevonté in the community of Yapala

 

 

Field Rep Voices: Team Diana, Bill, Kelsea, Lucy, and Sita

Starting a safe drinking water treatment center in Kanjeyili has been a community effort through and through. Kanjeyili’s community elected women entrepreneurs Aisha, Aishatu, Awau and Mayama are eagerly learning and getting involved in every aspect of the center from water treatment to managing the business. They are supported by other community members who help in whatever way they can and enthusiastically take ownership of the benefits of the center for their village. Kanjeyili’s successful treatment center depends on both the entrepreneurs and the community’s support and understanding of the business.

Kanjeyili’s women entrepreneurs quickly took the reins of the treatment process. We demonstrated how to use the alum to clear sediment from the water and they took a hands-on approach to trying the process themselves. By day two of training, they didn’t hesitate to fill the blue drums with dugout water and started treating it with alum right away. Alum treatment is an overnight process and they understand how important it is to the business to have water ready to treat and serve. Again, the community came out to support this process by carrying the heavy drums of water and helping form a six-month supply of alum balls. Having completed the first step of the process, the entrepreneurs moved on to disinfection.

Having successfully cleared the first batch of water with alum, the women entrepreneurs began scooping the water into the Polytank.* The Polytank disinfection step is the last in ensuring all E.Coli is removed from the water and is safe to drink. The community knew their dugout was making them sick, but showing them the results of the lab tests drove home the importance of the safe water center. The women entrepreneur’s primary responsibility is to continue the operation of the treatment center. Although they were apprehensive about charging a small fee for the water, both entrepreneurs and community came to understand the fee ensured the longevity of the safe water center. The women entrepreneurs keep in mind the price of filling a household’s safe storage container must be affordable for the entire village. This way, the entrepreneurs can provide an important service for the community, and in turn, the community drives the profitability and continuity of the business.

Kanjeyili’s safe water treatment center will continue to be successful because the community both needs and supports its service. Their entrepreneurs are highly competent and efficient at both water treatment and management because they dove into all aspects of the process. The community is helping with every step along the way, whether lending a hand to paint or carrying water to treat. This shared sense of ownership puts Kanjeyili on the road to better health and the success of their water treatment center.

*Polytank: Large drum with a tap commonly found in Ghana to store drinking water.

Kanjeyili kids help carry the polytank.

Kanjeyili kids help carry the polytank.
Lucy helps train their entrepreneurs about alum, the first step of the water treatment process.

Lucy helps train their entrepreneurs about alum, the first step of the water treatment process.
One of the new entrepreneurs from Kanjeyili fills a blue drum to get ready for alum treatment.

One of the new entrepreneurs from Kanjeyili fills a blue drum to get ready for alum treatment.