Blog

“Chew and Pour” No More!

“Chew and Pour” refers to the teaching method typical in most Ghanaian school systems that focuses on repetition and memorization. It is the difference between a lecture versus a hands-on activity. In the past year, we have been trying to focus our interactions with the community away from lectures and towards conversations. Instead of lecturing about the importance of clean water, we have been emphasizing more on the conversation around clean water and allowing our communities to come to the same conclusions. “You should ____ ” and “Stop doing that” have turned into “Why do you ____?” and “Do you think ____? ” . We’ve learned that it is a more effective way of sharing an idea or concept if they are able to draw their own conclusions through participating in an active engaged dialog. This month, we tried to take this technique of conversation and curiosity and apply it to the way we talk about children’s education. So, this year is the start of our Children’s Education Month!

Eric having a little fun after finishing a Children’s Education.

This years Children’s Education Month ran from June 20th to July 26th which is the last day before kids (kindergarten, primary, and junior high) children go on break. We kicked off the month by introducing a Children’s Education and Parent Discussion Handbooks to our staff to start trying out in the field. It included key concepts to go over and suggestions for types of questions to help encourage participation in the conversation. The goals of these conversations was to learn about the challenges that parents and children face in having clean water available for children/getting children to drink clean water, how to promote good WASH habits, and ways Saha could help support the effort to have children drink clean water. The children are the future of all our communities, so it is important for us to help encourage these good habits and understanding at an early age, so they could continue to on to a strong adulthood.

This year we were able to do Children’s Education for 16 Villages: Nekpegu, Tohinayili, Kalinka, Baiyili, Dawunyili, Sagbarigu, Lambo, Juni, Yendanyili, Jagberin, Tijo, Tindan, Bamvim, Wambong, and Warivi. In the classrooms, we printed out “Commitment to Clean Water” posters where students pledged their commitment to clean water.Some of the Children’s Educations happened in schools some were done informally with a collection of kids in a village. Education can happen anywhere, not just in the classroom! (I would argue that most learning happens outside of the classroom anyway.)

In addition to the formal gathering of children, we also encouraged monitors to talk to kids and parents in their households while they conduct their normal monitoring visits. When I went with Nestor to Sahanaayili, we talked to each household about children having access to clean water. Every household we visited had a clean water cup/container just for their kids. The parents would watch over the children to make sure they were taking care of their cup/container properly and not recontaminating the water. It was so great to see! The children were also excited about it. We talked about one of the challenges that many households face: Children playing with the tap. The households in Sahanaayili each said that they would serve the children what until they were old enough to learn how to use the tap properly, then they would be shown what to do and what not to do. The older kids were helpful in making sure the younger ones used it properly. This hope is to help communities who are struggle with advice from those who have been doing well.

One of the challenges we learned that children face with regards to drinking clean water is that sometimes they have a hard time telling their parents that they should have clean water in the household for fear of it becoming disrespectful. So, even if they knew that they should be drinking water, they couldn’t always because their parents wouldn’t get the water. This insight reinforces our efforts to talk to parents more and frame more conversations around the children and their health. Additionally, Wahab (who was the one who had this conversation with the kids) also made a great point saying if your parents were to walk on a hole and potentially break their foot. It is okay to bring up things that are good for their health. Approaching children’s education from both angles (parents and kids) has been a great tool to encourage children to drink clean water.

Prototype in the house by Seidu, Rhiana, and Kathryn
Prototype in the community: Sita and Theo
Prototype in the school: Simply and Heidi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Several Saha staff signed up for an online course called Prototyping 201 hosted by Acumen which overlapped with Children’s Education Month. We used this coincidence as an opportunity! For our first practice of prototyping, we took an idea and made physical prototype out of it and our inspiration was Children’s Education Month. So, we brainstormed ideas on how to talk about drinking clean water with children in 3 situations: at home, in school, and in the community. The team was able to come up with fantastic ideas! For the conversations at home, Seidu, Rhiana, and Kathryn prototype stickers for children to indicate good and bad WASH habits. In the schools, Simply and I prototype a coloring book called “Healthy Hadija helps Silly Sana” where a little girl helps her friend learn how to keep clean water clean in the home.  For the community conversation, Theo and Sita developed prototype for a microscope to help kids, parents, and everyone see what is really in their water so they can learn that clear does not mean clean. It was an incredibly fun exercise and amazing to see the creativity of the team! Hopefully these creative ideas keep going and eventually turn into new (fun!) ways of communicating our ideas to our communities.

The biggest thing we’ve learned this year is to just talk about it! Incorporate these questions about clean water for children in our everyday interactions in the villages. Engage with the children. Engage with the parents. There is a lot to learn from them when we get them involved in the conversation. The hope is not just to have these conversations one a month, but every day!

Oh what a month! I would like to thank the team for their input on the handbooks an going out and having these school educations and these conversations. Thanks for all your hard work this month.

I’ll end with a quote from my favorite song in preschool, why this was my favorite song as a preschool is beyond me, but young Heidi was very wise “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.”- “The Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston

 

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

Meet Our Entrepreneurs: Ramatu from Nekpegu

Nekpegu - Lamatu

Ramatu is one of the business owners of both the solar and water businesses in Nekpegu, a small village located about two hours outside of Tamale. She was born and raised in Tohinayili, which is another Saha partner village in the Northern Region of Ghana. She later got married to her present husband in Nekpegu and has lived there ever since. She has 6 kids, four boys (two of the boys are a set of twins!) and two girls. Alongside running the water and solar businesses in her community, she farms groundnuts, okra and shea nuts. She grinds the shea nuts to make shea butter, which she then sells in the market.

Ramatu and her business partner, Fatima, have been running the water business in Nekpegu for two years. With the help of 2013 Winter Field Reps, Vanessa, Linda, Alexa & Julia, Ramatu and Fati were trained how to run the water treatment business to provide a source of clean drinking water to their entire community of about 300 people. “People are cooperative and come to buy water anytime they treat water and make announcements,” says Ramatu.

The solar charging business was implemented in Nekpegu just this past November by 2014 Fall Field Reps, Anne, Terry, Kerry & Mary. “Now our kids can study at night” Ramatu says. When asking Ramatu about the solar business she remembered the opening night of the solar center when they did a local dance, torah, with Terry and Anne to celebrate. “I am so happy to make sales at the solar and water business!” she states.

February Monitoring Results

February was the first month that our Ghana team officially switched over to our new monitoring procedures. Below is the monthly monitoring summary for February:

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I was happy to see that our usage rate (the % of households with clean water in their safe storage container when one of our team members stopped by) was 73%. Over the past 7 years, our average has been right around 75%, so right off the bat I could see that February was a pretty typical month (we are constantly striving to get this number up, mostly through education campaigns in our partner-villages, but at the same time, we are also constantly adding new communities). Keep in mind, just because there isn’t clean water in someone’s safe storage container, does not mean that there is contaminated water in there! Usually the bucket is just empty. Some families may have just finished their water and haven’t had a chance to re-fill. However, for some it is because they aren’t frequently filling.

The “Clean Water Used” stat is calculated from the number of Aquatabs that the women reported having used each week. Each Aquatab treats 200L of water, so we just multiply the reported number by 200.

The “Clean Water Sold” stat is calculated from the number of Aquatabs that the women bought each week. This number differs from the clean water used, because the entrepreneurs don’t always buy the same number of Aquatabs they use. Some women buy in bulk one month and slowly use the tablets over time, before making another big purchase a few months later. Others may use 2 in a week but then buy 3 or 4 to replenish their pile. Each business owner works out their own system.

The “Number of Lanterns Sold” indicates how many lanterns the solar business owners have sold to members of their community. During implementation, each family receives 1 lantern for 1 GHC, and they can buy more at market-rate if they would like. The women buy the lanterns from Saha at cost and then choose to mark up the prices as much as they would like. Unfortunately, over the last couple of months our lantern supplier has increased the price of the lanterns dramatically, so the ladies haven’t been making many sales recently. Lantern sales used to be a big money maker for the solar entrepreneurs.

The “Average Solar Business Earnings”  is the total earnings (730 GHS) divided by the number of villages visited. This month, our team only made it to 7 out of the 8 businesses.  All revenue is reported in GHC.

Below is an example of the weekly data table that Wahab fills out, based on the information that our team collects in the field. You can access the actual excel files here – each week has it’s own tab, with the monthly data summarized at the end.

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There were no big issues in our communities this month. Little things like leaky polytanks sprung up here and there, but those small issues are easily solved. Some communities, like Wambong, reported slow water sales, but our team was able to work with the community and the entrepreneurs to get back on track (see the last photo below). The biggest challenge this month was getting our team back on track with their new monitoring schedule after the Winter Global Leadership Program. As I mentioned earlier we only made it to 7 solar communities in February. Since most of our solar businesses are less than a year old, each community should have been visited 3-4 times this month. After receiving the week 3 report from Wahab, I noticed this problem right away and discussed the issue with our Operations Manager, Shak, during our weekly check-in. Shak and the rest of the team then discussed their new schedules during their next staff meeting and were able to figure out how to re-arrange their weeks to make sure new communities were getting visited more frequently!

Below are some pictures from the Field from February! Stay tuned tomorrow for our March monitoring report!

-Kate

PS – remember, for monitoring reports from before 2015, visit our old site here.

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Ayi selling water in Kurugu Vohoyili
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A busy morning in Kurugu Vohoyli
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Eric noting how many Aqutabs Fulera had bought
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Eric helping Ramatu how to strengthen the connection of the cell phone charges
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The Nekpegu solar center is bumpin’!
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Fati posing with all of the charging batteries in Nekpegu
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Staff meeting selfies!
A straight-faced Salima make sales early in the morning in Wambong
After a month of low water sales in Wambong, Shak and the women met with the community chairman. Chang-Chang suggested that he make announcements at the mosque whenever she had water ready to sell, and he agreed. After the first announcement, the water center was BUSY!

 

 

Thankful for a Source of Water & Electricity

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It was this time last week that the 2014 Fall Global Leadership Program came to an end and we all headed off on our journey back home. It is no doubt that the days working in the village can be long with the extreme amounts of sun and dust, but time and time again the end of a program sneaks right up on me! When you are hanging with a bunch of inspiring field reps doing life-changing things, it should be to no surprise that the programs zoom right by.

Because of the hard work, passion and commitment of our 2014 Field Reps, Saha Global was able to bring a source of clean drinking water and a source of electricity to two new communities. Leah, Alfonso & Logan worked to implement a water treatment center in the village of Gburma, which empowered four women to become entrepreneurs and serves the community of 450 people a source of clean drinking water. Anne, Terry, Kerry & Mary worked to implement a solar charging center in the village of Nekpegu, which works to provide electricity for 300 people.

We can not thank you enough for your dedication to Saha Global! You have left a lasting impact on Nekpegu and Gburma and should be extremely proud of the your hard work. It was such a blast working along side all of you during your time in Ghana and we cannot wait to see the incredible things you will accomplish in this world!

This Thanksgiving I can’t help but think of how thankful and fortunate I am to work along side a team filled with such brilliant and influential people.  Welcome to the Saha Team Fall Field Reps!

Many Thanksgiving Cheers to All You,

Sam

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Voices from the Field: Team Shak

Terry, Mary, Kerry, Anne and Shak make up Saha’s Solar Center Project Team Shak! Due to “life and so it goes”, Kerry and Mary were unable to make the trip despite their successful contribution of considerable funds, and so they are very much with us in spirit here every day.

We have been assigned the village of Nekpegu which is about an hour and a half away from Tamale; The chief and elders were quite anxious to meet with us. The women entrepreneurs have successfully managed a Saha Water Treatment Center since 2013 and were happy to tell us about the positive effects on their health. The chief’s son had seen Saha’s Solar Center in another village and was sharing his experience with the chief and elders. The Chief mentioned that it would be helpful for the children to study and for their night school, and offered the cooperation and assistance of the entire community.

The construction of the Solar Center took a couple of days, the equipment was delivered and the training of the women could begin. The village chose the two women who are currently running the water business, Ramatu and Fati, to manage the solar business as well. They learned how to hook up the power convertor, do some troubleshooting and how to manage the sales they will make from their new business. Lanterns were distributed household to household and we are now ready for Opening Night!

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At our every step, there are thirty little steps behind us with smiling faces…

Shak is our translator, but he is also project manager, carpenter, navigator, “fixer of everything” and now, friend.

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-Terry & Anne

Voices from the Field: Team E (Linda, Vanesa, Alexa and Julia)

Team E (Linda, Vanessa, Alexa, and Julia) has spent the past week in Nekpegu, a small village of 26 households.

Prior to opening day, we had met with the chief and whole community and distributed 26 buckets to all the households. After only an hour on opening day, all buckets had been filled at the center. Our two women, Fatima and Ramatu, had made a profit of over two cedis—which is more than a weekly income for most people in rural Ghana.

What was best for us was really watching the women take charge, and see the village’s excitement. When the chief arrived at the polytank Ramatu was so eager to have him take the first drink from the tap. (The photo of him smiling is when he was asked what it tasted like… I thought it tasted pretty good, too.) The second they turned the knob and saw the crisp clean water, the whole line of 15 women and children started clapping.

During the first training session we had with Ramatu and Fatima, which Julia helped lead, Ramatu modestly accepted Julia’s notebook and pen and explained with a smile that she could not write. Seeing her pose with her notebook and pen, after learning how to tally the people who arrived, gave light to the empowerment that the CWS model brings to the women of these villages.

The next day, the polytank was empty and our women were enthusiastic to start round two and scoop their blue drums into the tank for treatment. On our last days we get to monitor and hear back from our households on how the center is working for them (and mostly just how the water tastes.) We will also be spending a day at the small school in our village and we are excited to get to help start the education process with our children—because, as our chief said to us, the kids will help enlighten them.

xoxox

Lexi Lee