This December, Morganne Hodsdon joined the Saha team as our newest expansion coordinator. Morganne will be working with Eda and the rest of the team in Ghana to help Saha prepare to expand in northern Ghana. She will specifically be focused on helping Saha better understand how frequently our beneficiaries drink clean water in their homes and how we can increase that frequency. Without further ado, meet Morganne:
After my first trip to Ghana as a field rep in June of 2015, I knew I wanted to come back at some point in my life, but I couldn’t have anticipated it happening so soon! Getting to revisit my solar village of Namdu 1 and joining the Saha team is an incredible opportunity, and I couldn’t be more excited and grateful for what lies ahead!
Similar to Eda, I graduated from Colby College in May so we will definitely be reminiscing on our chilly winters in Maine while living in the Saha house. With a bachelors degree in Economics and French I knew I wanted to pursue a career in international development, but wasn’t sure of exactly what realm of the sector I wanted to be in. While searching for summer jobs I found the Global Leadership Program, and my three weeks in Ghana ignited my passion to combat the global water crisis. Witnessing the devastating effects of waterbourne illness as well as Saha’s incredibly simple and sustainable solution to providing clean water access directed my job search. After graduation I spent time in New York as an intern at charity: water, where I was exposed to the fundraising side of non-profits. I loved getting office experience, especially with a water focused non-profit, but I am definitely ready to get back into the field with the Saha team!
As an Expansion Coordinator I will be assisting with the detailed monitoring efforts to ensure we’re doing everything we can to support the success of our businesses. I will also be running case studies with various villages to help us understand how households are using their village’s water, and how Saha can encourage clean water usage. Saha wants to ensure that the women entrepreneurs are profiting from their businesses and that no contaminated water is being mixed into anyone’s diet. The next several months will be a huge learning moment for Saha, and I can’t wait to see what methods prove successful to instilling safe and healthy water practices to all of Saha’s 46,510 (and growing) beneficaries!
You may have noticed we’re a bit behind on our Monitoring updates these days, but with good reason! Saha is revamping our data collection and distribution methods, which will make it easier for you to understand how all 93 of our communities are doing.
Saha’s growth in recent years is extremely exciting for many reasons, but during the process we outgrew our ability to keep up the old style of village-by-village monitoring updates. The goal in the coming months is to be more transparent with how our daily visits go, and have more comprehensive summaries each month for both water and solar centers.
But of course change takes time, so we hope you’ll understand the delays! Check back soon for more.
All of the newly implemented villages from the GLP Summer 2016 are running very well!
The following villages had 6/6 during at least 1 visit: Sagbarigu, Naha, Galinkpegu, Warvi, Moya, Tindan II.
Kalinka, Moya, Komonaayili, Gburma, Kushini and Kagburashe are planning ahead to move their centers as their dugouts are getting flooded.
There are 18 new households (16 Fulani) in Tunga and Peter gave them safe storage containers.
The entrepreneurs of Kushini plan to open a bank account soon!
As it’s the rainy season, most of the villages have low sales with their water business because people are harvesting rainwater.
Villages that have problems with their water businesses are:
Chandanyili, Tijo, and Laligu have dry dugouts, and their centers are closed. Chandanyili plans to move the center to a new dugout. Djelo and Sagbarigu polytank taps were leaking and they couldn’t treat water, but that is fixed now. Kalinka and Chandanyili polytank taps broke and have been fixed.During lab testing week some households came out with total coliform and E. coli. Staff followed up with households that came out with positive results and give advice.
Villages with problems with their solar businesses are:
Kurugu Voyili, Djelo, and Vogyili complain of lamp batteries problems. They don’t last long after charge and sometimes people don’t want to pay for batteries that are not well charged. The door to Djelo solar center is broken by a storm and needs to be fixed. Two families in Chani have purchased batteries for their lamps, and some other people in that village want to buy batteries too. Nekpegu and Chani have complaints about their lamps and lamp batteries. Yapalsi has a genset problem but they have electricity now. It was mentioned that Kpanshegu had some households complaining of not getting lamps during implementation and Amin is to find out from the assembly man why their names were omitted from the household list. Bamvim solar center was leaking and has been fixed now. With Solar, Kurugu Vohoyili batteries are dead and Nekpegu have no battery chargers as all are broken. There is a plan to have a meeting in Nekpegu with the community to discuss price for charging phones as women entrepreneurs complain.
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!
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!
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.
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!
Two leadership programs down and two weeks of monitoring under the belt – wow, life in Tamale is different when there aren’t 60 salamingas running around town. As I settle into this new lifestyle, I am starting to reflect on the differences of being a Field Rep and working as a staff member in Ghana.
As a field rep, my mind was set on the end goal of beginning a water treatment business in Sagbarigu. There were definitely problems along the way, but we were able to find quick and easy solutions to each problem we faced. We left in June 2014 confident that the skill sets we gave the women entrepreneurs were enough to keep the business running.
Now I am back two years later as a full-time staff member. Yes, Sagbarigu’s water treatment business is still running well. But, I have already learned in my short time here that there are many gray areas to the success of these businesses. It’s not just about the incredible team that implemented these businesses. It’s also about the incredible staff members that work hard to monitor in these communities. Every day, we visit 3 communities to check on the center, sales, successes and challenges of the water and solar businesses. I am learning quickly that each business has its unique challenges that I could not have imagined as a field rep. As I sit in the solar center of Chandanyili with Wahab and the 4 women entrepreneurs talking about money management, I can see a concrete difference in the way I solved problems as a field rep and the way I solve problems now.
Instead of wondering, what can be done right now to solve this problem, I ask myself: What is better for the sustainability of this project? Should we use the easy solution to get the center back up and running now? Or talk with the women, encourage them to hold a community meeting, and let us know their final decision on sales? Do we lead these business owners towards the answer we want to hear or do we let them find solutions to their problems that best fit their community? Will their answer end up being the same as ours?
I may not know the answers to all of these questions now, as they are sure to be different with each unique situation, but I have learned so much already from Eric, Wahab, Amin, Peter and Shak. Eda and I continue to be thankful for their patience, willingness to answer any [silly] question, and the constant laughter (usually relating to our most recent marriage proposals). We’re excited to see what this year has in store for us!
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!
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.
Gidanturu, Yepalsi, Naha, Moya, Kpalguni II, Yepala, Sakpalua, Namdu II, Warvi, Galinkpegu, Kpachiyili, Tunga, Tohinaayili, Bamvim, Balomposo, and Chani all had high sales at their water businesses during April. Polytank taps were fixed in Kasulyili, Changyili and Kideng, so the centers are now up and running!
Eighty-two percent of households had clean water in their safe storage containers this month, which we’re quite proud of given how dry this time of year is.
Chandanyili had high sales at their solar business, and with some saving the entrepreneurs will be set to buy new batteries once the old ones wear.
The biggest challenge in April is dry dugouts. Many communities have to travel further to get water during this month, so encouraging the entrepreneurs to keep the water centers going is important!
Kasuyili’s water center closed this month, but Wahab sat with the chief and elders and discussed the problems. It was agreed that changing the women running the center would help get the business working again. Wahab will be checking on them in the following weeks.
Jarayili, Libi, Gbung, Gidanturu, Chanaayili, Kushini, Chongashe, Kagbrashe, Kagbal, Kuruguvuhuyayili, Zanzugu, Zanzugu Yepala, Balomposo, Changyili, Yakuru, Galizengu, Laligu, Kpalyn, Tijo, Tindan I, Sagbargu, Chandanyili, Kpalguni I, Sagbarigu, Warvi, Naha, Galinkpegu, Chihigu, Cheshagu, Kpaliga, Namdu I, Namdu II, Gundaa, Kpalguni II, Futa, Wovugumani, Wovugu, Janakpen, Gburma, Manguli II, Tapkli, Yepala, Kpanshegu, Komlanyili, Gbandu, Garizegu, Kuldanali, Bogu, Tindan II, Kpanayili, Komlanyili, Kalinka, Tohinaayili, Nekpegu, Kulaa, Kudula, Moya.
The percentage of clean water in households that were monitored this month was 84%! This is progress that we are very proud of because it is the third month in a row with over 80% usage. The following water businesses had high sales: Yepalsi, Naha, Moya, Gidanturu, Kpalguni II, Yepala and Sakpalua. Our solar businesses have seen great successes this month. Chandanyili had high solar sales and two additional lanterns were sold in our communities! Gundaa was able to buy extra cell phone chargers this month to support their solar charging center. 42% of the solar businesses have opened bank accounts with the hopes that Chandanyili will open a bank account very soon.
In March we also celebrated World Water Day with a day-long conference at our Tamale office with some of our our water entrepreneurs. The team brought together water business owners from our highest and lowest performing partner communities and lead a day of sharing sales techniques, advice, and community engagement strategies. As always, the conference was a lot of fun and a great success.
There are a number of communities that have had to close their water business due to dry dugouts. These communities include Karayili, Kpalbusi, Chanaayili, Zanzugu, Zanzugu Yepala, Galizengu, Yakuru, Chihigu, Chandanyili, Jagberin and Kpachiyili. There were also a few communities that had issues with their water businesses and had to close for a while until they were able to reopen. These communities include: Original Kabache, Kasulyili, Dundo and Jabayili. We are working with these communitites to find solutions to their problems. As always, entrepreneurs are always encouraged to make announcements when the water centers are available for business!
Villages with problems at the solar centers are Chani, Nekpegu and Yepalsi. Chani and Nekpegu had lamp battery problems with their solar business. Our staff has been working with the women entrepreneurs to solve these battery issues. Additionally, Yepalsi has a broken inverter, which we hope to be replaced soon.
For detailed, week by week monitoring reports from March, click here.
Jarayili, chongashe, libi, gbung, kushini, kpalbusi, gidanturu, chanaayili, original and indigenous kabache, kideng, tunga, laligu, kpalyn, yepalsi, jangbarigiyili, zanzugu, zanzugu yapala, changyili, balamposo, tijo, tindan I, kpalguni I, chandanyili, jagberin, sagbragu, gondaa, namdu I, namdu II, warvi, kpalga, chihigu, galinkpegu, naha, cheshagu, futa, kpalguni II, wovugumani, wovugu, manguli II, janakpen, gbruma, takpili, chani, cheko, kpanshegu, komlanyili, yepala, bamvim, Kpenchila, kulaa, komonaayili, moya, kudula, voghyili, djelo, manguli I, kuldanali, bogu, tindan II, nekpegu, kalinka, tohinayili, gurumanchayili, gbandu.
The new water villages implemented during the Winter Global Leadership Program were shared among the staff to monitor. Wahab monitors Naha, Galinkpegu and Chihigu. Amin monitors Futa and Kpalguni. Eric monitors Komonaayili and Shak took over monitoring Kagbal.
February marks the second month in a row with over 80% usage in our water villages! Given that our average usage rate over the past 7 years has been closer to 70-75%, it’s exciting to see this upward trend. The monitoring team and our field reps have done a great job focusing on water and health education, not just business logistics, which really helps with long-term behavior change. We are proud of this progress! The following villages had 6/6 household visits at a point in the month (meaning that all of the households that we stopped into see that day had clean water in their safe storage containers): kushini, kpalyn, warvi, galinkpegu, chihigu, naha, yepala ,futa,k.kpalguni, djelo, nekpegu, and komonaayili. And, since they always say a picture is worth a thousand words, here are some pictures from monitoring our water villages this month!
On the solar front, we’ve had a couple of great successes this month. The entrepreneurs in Kpenchila were able to open a savings account with Bonzali rural bank! We are so proud of these ladies! The lighting wasn’t great, but we were able to capture a few photos from this day.
During February, the Sakpalua entrepreneurs bought 40 AA size rechargeable batteries to replace worn-out batteries. After months of talking about this with them, we were thrilled that the ladies committed to re-investing in their business. Also, the entrepreneurs from Namdu I, Namdu II and Voghyili told us that they plan to open savings accounts soon.
It’s that time of year when we start to see dugout drying out in some of our communities. In February, the dugouts in bamvim, manguli II, futa, chihigu, futa, zanzugu, zanzugu yepala, galinzegu, gbruma, voghyili, buhijaa, balomposo, kpaliga, chesagu, yakura, kpachiyili and jangbarigiyili all dried up and water sales have stalled until it rains and there is water treat. Bamvim and voghyili both had very high sales before their dugouts ran out. The women in Dundo have also temporarily paused water sales because people have started to go down the road to the University of Development Studies where they can get tap water for free. We are unsure if this water will continue to be available to for free in the long-term, so they entrepreneurs in Dundo are being patient and will start up sales again if the USD pipe is no longer an option. In Jabayili, the women are still experiencing problems related to their stolen blue drum. Although they still have two of their blue drums, the women complain it’s now difficult to treat water. We are working with the village leadership to find a solution to this problem. In Kasulyili the project that pumps water from the dugout to the community is still running and many people still have the misconception that the water from this pump is treated (it’s not). Our team is planning an education campaign to address this problem. Finally, sales at the water business in Nymaliga were slow one week because the chief passed away and everyone is busy arranging for the funeral. Other smaller problems included a leaky polytank in Moya that was easily fixed.
Villages with problems at their solar centres are wambong, yapalasi, chani and Nekpegu. In Wambong, the main battery at the solar center seems to have a problem. The women can manage the issue by having small repairs done, but eventually will need to replace it. In Yepalsi, the inverter has broken down. However, as we mentioned a few months ago, this village now has electricity from the city and the solar center is just used during “lights out.” So it has not been a huge problem. Finally, both Chani and Nekpegu complain of their lamp batteries not lasting long after charge. This is expected as both centers have been open for over two years. Like Sakpalua, the entrepreneurs will have to replace the AA batteries soon.
December was a great month for both our water and solar businesses. Despite some challenges (see below), our usage rate for the water business was higher than our usual average, with 85% of people drinking clean water! Our team really focused on education this month as the rains have totally stopped and people have no other option, other than the water treatment centers, for safe drinking water. Their hard work paid off!
The solar businesses were also thriving with high sales and exciting purchases made by many of our entrepreneurs. Read on for photos and more info!
This is the first monitoring post written by Saha Manager Eric Angkosaala and Senior Manager Wahab Lawal. I’ll let them take it from here:
The Kpanshegu water business made a lot of they had made a lot of sales this month. The ladies made a total of 70cedis and are planning to buy crops to store and later sell.The following villages had high sales and had 6/6 household visits at some point during the month (meaning every house visited had clean water in their safe storage container at the time of the visit): komlanyili, yepela, tunga, kideng, indigenous kabache, nekpegu, tohinayili, kagbal, warvi, sagbragu, namdu I, yakura, balomposo, jangbarigiyili, and changyili.The overall percent usage rate for the month was 83%, which is above our typical average of 75% Go water villages!
We also had some successes with our solar businesses this month. The Voghyili solar center had high sales because people were coming from Djelo to charge their phones and batteries. This is a success for Voghyili but a challenge for Djelo (see below). The ladies in Voghyili also bought phone chargers for the center. The entrepreneurs in sakpalua bought some crops so they sell later when prices increase.
The water businesses that had challenges during that month were jarigu, kpalbusi, kudula, jagberin, jarayili. All had very low or sometimes no sales. To address this issues, our team emphasized that the entreprenuers shoulld try to make announcements when their business is open and to go round households anytime they treat water. Nyamalga, kasulyili and jabayili have closed centres at the moment, but we are working with the entrepreneurs to get them back up and running. In nyamalga, the stream that they use for their source of water in the rainy season has run dry and they need to move the center back to the dugout to resume business. Moving seems to be taking a long time, but we are hopeful that they ladies will get it set up by the dugout soon. The reason for the delay is that the Chief of nyamalga recently passed away dead so the village is busy arranging for the funeral. As we mentioned in previous posts, kasulyili now has a project that pumps dugout water to the village. Although this water is not treated, the community thinks that the water is safe because it is coming from a pipe. Wahab held a village meeting with chief and elders and women but there is still no change in behavior yet. We plan to do continued education in kasulyili over the next couple of months to help people realize that the water is not treated and unsafe for drinking. As we mentioned last month, J two blue drums stolen were stolen from Jabayili, which has stalled sales. The community is working on buying new blue drums. Additionally, yapie yepela now has running taps and so the women have not been treating water. We don;t really view this as a challenge because all of the water test came out clean from this tap! Go Yapie. We are keeping the water center in this village for now until the community can be sure there there will be consistent water access at the tap.
Villages that had solar challenges were yepalsi and djelo. Both had broken inverters and our technician from Burro had a major delay in helping the women fix them. In Sakpalua, chani and nekpegu people have noticed that their lamp batteries don’t last long after charge. This is something that we anticipated since the batteries only last 500 charges before needing to be replaced. The entreprenuers at these villages are working on buying new batteries to replace the older ones. Addtionally, voghyili had four broken battery chargers. These were still under warranty, so Burro replaced them.
Click here for more detailed, week by week monitoring reports for December.