It’s crazy to think that less than a week ago we were saying farewell to the 2017 Winter Field Reps. Thanks to this group of awesome, driven individuals, Saha was able to partner with with 9 communities in Northern Ghana to open 7 new water treatment businesses and 2 new solar charging businesses, which provide jobs to 21 new entrepreneurs. 1,664 people now have permanent access to safe drinking water and 752 people have access to reliable, clean solar electricity. Additionally, 5 of our water entrepreneurs have now been trained to run solar businesses, increasing their earning potential!
Alex C, Alex K, Ann, Becky, Caleb, Caroline, Celine, Elijah, Erin, Joanne, Kalin, Kevin, Laura, Lexie, Louis, Matt, Maureen, Micah, Mona-Mae, Morgan, Nikita, Olivia, Qingyi, Sarah, Shaminika, Shane, Shanelle, Shannon, Terynek, Tess, Walker, Wyatt, Yu and Zulean,
We can’t believe that just under a week ago, we packed our bags and loaded up in front of GILLBT for the last time! 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. It was such a pleasure to work with all of y’all, and we consider ourselves lucky to count you as part of Sahayili! As you head off to your next impactful adventures, please don’t forget your community and all of us here at Saha, and let us know what we can do to further your missions.
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!
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.”
Phoenix Revolution’s mission is to overcome the most challenging problems that face our world today, through engineering economic and environmental solutions. Their Ocean Pure Water System (OPWS) uses modern and proven water desalination processes in an innovative way to reduce power consumption and upfront costs, while maximizing water production. Using desalination and purification techniques based on reverse osmosis (RO), the OPWS does not innovate on the removal of dissolved solids, but on the ability to supply water to the system.
“What was once a multi year, multi billion dollar operation, can now be done in weeks with startup costs starting well under the $100,000 price mark.” Says Casey Glynn, Phoenix Revolution’s Founder and CEO. “Our system is easy, adaptable to being deployed under the sea or on land depending on your specific needs, and can get you started creating fresh, clean, potable drinking water right away. The OPWS is the beginning of ensuring that all people on this planet have quick and easy access to water.”
Saha was first introduced to Casey, last year through Next Step Living. We were immediately impressed with his passion for worldwide water access and his innovative technology. Casey and his team attend the Saha Benefit in the fall, were excited by our plans to expand to Nicaragua and immediately wanted to know how they help.
“[Saha and Phoenix] share the same belief. We are trying to solve the same problems and we feel that together we can make a large difference,” says Casey. “Companies coming together and working together is the only way we can all move forward on this most critical of problems”
Over the next year, Phoenix will be donating funds to help support our expansion and eventually will be contributing their water treatment products for us to test in-country during our Nicaragua pilots. Stay tuned for more exciting updates!
Is your company interested in expanding your impact by supporting Saha’s work? Contact Kate, firstname.lastname@example.org, to learn more!
It’s been just over a week since we said farewell to the 2016 winter Field Reps. Thanks to this group of amazing individuals, Saha was able to launch 11 new businesses, which provide jobs to 16 women (and 1 man). 2,330 people now have permanent access to safe drinking water and 1,728 people have access to reliable, solar electricity. Additionally, 14 of our water entrepreneurs have now been trained to run solar businesses, increasing their earning potential.
We can’t believe that it’s been 10 days since we packed up the bus in Tamale with our fingers crossed for a quick ride down to Accra. We are so grateful that you all choose to donate your time, energy and talents to Saha to help us bring water and electricity to new communities. Thanks to your hard work and dedication, thousands of people’s lives have been changed forever. It has been such a joy to work with each and every one of you. There are hundreds of moments from this winter’s trip that we will never forget: the dance parties on the side of the road in Kumasi, Damba festival, and the insightful conversations we had during debrief and office hours. We are so lucky to have you as members of the Saha Team!
This past Friday we had our Fourth Annual Benefit at the W Hotel in Boston. Our whole team was blown away by the tremendous amount of support we felt. It was so inspiring to be surrounded by a room full of Saha supporters as we celebrated all of our successes and made our announcement that our next country is…..NICARAGUA!
It is because of that support that we were able to raise $20,000 towards our expansion! We would like to thank everyone who helped make this night possible, especially our event sponsors: Wolf Greenfield, Dwell Proper, Oasys Water and KPMG; our Board of Directors: Vanessa Green, Sarah Kearney, Mark Moeremans and Pat Cahill; our amazing performers Amory Sivertson and Fermata Town; and all of our generous donors who contributed items to the auction.
We would also like to recognize the seven Next Step Living employees, who cycled nearly 400 miles the weekend before the Benefit as a part of Climate Ride, a non-profit that that raises awareness and funds for sustainable practices through multi-day bike-rides. The Next Step Living and Saha Global Climate Ride Team joined Climate Ride’s Northeast 5-day biking expedition, through Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts on September 17, and are raising funds for Saha Global through December. Thank you Next Step Living for your continued support!
There were many people invested in this expansion. There were hours worth of research that went into choosing which country would best suit Saha and we can not thank our Saha Challenge participants enough. Congrats to past field reps Bryant Foreman and Lucas Hilsbos for pitching Nicaragua and getting us to where we are today. And a huge thank you to past field reps Leah Staschke and Aly Carr for making an incredible case for Peru.
There is still a lot of work to do, but we feel confident in our ability to bring clean water and solar electricity to communities in Nicaragua that do not currently have access. In order to make our expansion into Nicaragua a reality we will need to establish a base to begin our in-country operations: plotting potential communities, researching local water treatment and solar materials and exploring local partnership opportunities. We are currently seeking an additional $50,000 to make that happen. Help get Saha to Nicaragua by donating on our website here.
We can’t believe that it was just a little over a week ago that we were sitting at the top of Giddipass cheers-ing all your hard work, closing the 2015 Summer Global Leadership Program with an epic dance circle.
YOU DID IT! We are so grateful for your dedication to fundraise, visit doctors, and struggle with visas, sit on a 12+ plane ride followed by an 18 hour bus ride, smush into a taxi for a ~2 hour ride out to your village, work under the sweltering African heat and sun, eat the chicken and rice, jump in the cold showers, and own the layer upon layers of dirt.
Working in some of the most remote villages in the Northern Region is hard work. The work to get these businesses up and running is grueling. Some days you may have asked yourself, “What the heck am I doing here?” But each day you rose to the occasion. Each day you were quickly reminded of the end goal, maybe from watching a child run to the dugout to grab a drink of extremely turbid water, talking to a mother about the effects of kerosene she has seen within her family, or chattin’ with the chief and elders about their community’s options for water or electricity.
Words can hardly express our gratitude. We really enjoyed getting to know each of you. Your passion and drive are infectious. From the moment you arrived in Ghana we were impressed by your energy, go-getter spirits, and ability to learn on the fly. You all were exactly what we needed on our team to reach our goal of 11 new businesses this summer. We are so proud of the work that you were able to accomplish and feel fully confident in the sustainability of the businesses that you implemented during your time in Ghana. Thanks to each of you, approximately 1,320 people now have a permanent source of clean drinking water, 2,240 people have access to solar electricity and 28 women have become business owners.
Welcome to the Saha Family!
Kate, Shak, Peter, Sam, Amin, Kathryn, Wahab & Eric
I am thrilled to share some exciting news: Community Water Solutions has changed our name to Saha Global!
The new Saha identity is a reflection of our tremendous growth over the past six years. In November 2013, with the help of Ben Powell and Mark Moeremans, we piloted our new solar electricity program in the village of Wambong. This pilot was a huge success and lead to a new partnership with Boston-based company Next Step Living. Thanks to funding from their philanthropic program, Next Step Giving, we have been able to rapidly grow our solar program and have now launched five solar businesses that provide access to electricity to 2,500 people. We have also continued to expand our impact in water and are currently serving 38,108 people in rural Ghana with our 71 water businesses.
As Saha Global continues to grow our water and solar businesses, we remain committed to long-term monitoring in our current partner-communities, which we believe is the key to our 100% sustainability rate.
I am also very excited to share our new video, which you can view above. When you watch this video, I hope that you feel as proud as I do about Saha’s impact, which would not have been possible with your generous support.
One of my favorite Ghanaian expressions is “small small” or “bayla bayla” as it’s known in Dagbani. Ghanaians use this expression all the time. Let me give you a few examples. You go to a chop bar in Tamale to get waakye, a local, favorite dish of rice, beans and other delicious, spicy toppings. The woman working at the chop bar starts to serve you waakye and motions towards the palm oil. You say, “small small” to mean just put a little, not too much. Or you are learning Dagbani, the most widely spoken language in Tamale, trying out some phrases with Dagomba friends. They say, “Oh you try” and you respond, “small small”. You are a CWS field staffer riding around on motos day in and day out. It just so happens you need to replace the piston and the rings on the moto. The fitter (mechanic) tells you to move “small small” so that the moto will be “free”. The list goes on… What I’ve taken from this whole “small small” business is that as long as you are moving “small small”, you are moving forward!
When I moved to Ghana in June 2012, I did not think I would live here for 2 years, although I am very happy now that I did. It all started “small small”… learning to ride a moto, figuring out where to buy food, navigating Tamale, learning Dagbani, working with the CWS team, meeting the entrepreneurs for the first time, encountering various challenges in the CWS communities and out on the “rough roads”. In the beginning, I didn’t feel like I was adjusting well. I found the heat unbearable, I felt lonely, I did not think I was qualified for the position but I kept trying and moving “small small”. And “small small” turned in to feeling comfortable in Tamale, being confident in my role at CWS, truly enjoying my work and getting to know my coworkers, developing good relationships with the CWS communities and entrepreneurs and feeling like I was positively contributing to this idea and project greater than myself. This upcoming September I am heading to Dublin, Ireland to get my MSc in Global Health at Trinity College. I hope to focus on women’s health and technology in developing countries. I know I would not be on this path if it were not for my experience with CWS in Ghana.
So without more small small babble… here are some pictures looking back on the last 2 years. The “small small” moments to the big ones. A big thank you to my CWS family: Kate, Sam, Kathryn, Chelsea, Shak, Peter, Wahab, Amin, Eric, Mark, Yacabu, the CWS board members, the fellowship translators, the fellows, the fellowship taxi drivers and all of the CWS partners for this fantastic opportunity. It has been a pleasure working with you! To all my friends and family who supported me and continue to support me, thank you! It has been quite the ride. Ghana, I will miss you-ohh! Until next time.
Dear Jeremy, Selena, Cara, Brielle, Nicole S., Sarah S., Christina, Melissa, Claire B., Claire C., Josh, Sofia, Robert, Camille, Phoebe, Brandee, Elijah, Michaela, Abby F., Naomi, Danya, Ana B., Remy, Ben, Erin, Sarah R., Miles, Abby T., Kelly, Ann, Evan, Lexie, Kelli-Ann, Maggie, Haley, Caroline, Julia, Hannah, Nicole G., Ana CR, Alex, Katie, Sarah F., Linda, Lucas, and Nick,
It is hard to believe that the 46 of you are already heading home from Ghana this evening. 3 weeks has certainty flown by fast! It has been such a pleasure getting to know each of your during your time in Tamale. From the moment you arrived, you have impressed us with your knowledge, work ethic, and most of all, your desire to make a positive impact on the world around you. We are so proud of the work that you have accomplished during your time with CWS this summer. Thanks to each of you, 11 communities and approximately 4,000 people now have permanent access to safe drinking water and just over 500 people have access to solar electricity. 26 women entrepreneurs now have new businesses to run, and (thanks to your training), they are well equipped to handle any issues that may arise.
Thank you for choosing to spend the beginning of your summer working with Community Water Solutions. We are so lucky to have you all as members of the CWS team and can’t wait to see the incredible things that you will do for this world!
It has been almost 3 weeks since the solar center opened in Kurugu Vohoyili. The solar center entrepreneurs, Ayi and Fuseina, report that business is going well. Community members say the lanterns are useful for cooking, studying, working at night and make them feel safe from scorpions lurking in dark corners. The entrepreneurs say people have been coming to exchange their dead batteries for “fresh ones” and cell phone charging sales are high, especially at night.
Last week on April 2, CWS Assistant- Project Manager: Shak, and I had the privilege of visiting the solar center in Kurugu Vohoyili with the Burro team, Burro founder: Whit Alexander, Burro Country Director: Carol Brown and Business Development Manager: Caleb Darko. Burro is a bottom-up social business based out of Koforidua that markets high quality, life-improving products to low-income and rural populations. CWS has partnered with Burro to bring lanterns, gensets and solar panels to the solar center pilots.
When we arrived at the center, Fuseina was there open for business! There were 34 batteries charging but no phones just yet. Fuseina said that some people still had charge in their phones but they would come. We checked out the solar panels, which had a layer of dust and some mud splotches. The Burro team was helpful in advising Ayi and Fuseina to clean the panels every morning with a cloth and water to remove all dust in order to get the most sunlight possible. Whit also advised the women to use alcohol to remove any residue build up on the AA batteries to make them more efficient. Burro’s mantra of “Do More” shined throughout the community visit.
Shak and I visited 6 households with the Burro staff. All 6 households still had charged batteries in their lanterns. 4 out of 6 households had charged cell phones at the solar center. The 2 households without charge still had charge remaining from before the solar center opened. These households have been conserving their cell phone battery to keep fuel costs down. They used to travel several miles to Tali to charge. I predict that cell phone charging demand will rise over time as the solar center is conveniently located in the center of Kurugu Vohoyili.
Burro Founder, Whit, started asking households about what they used to do for energy prior to the solar center. Most households used kerosene, spending 5-6 GHC on kerosene every 3 days. Now they no longer use kerosene, opting for the cleaner, cheaper energy offered at the solar center! KV community member Alimatu brought out her kerosene lamp to show us what she was using before. It was striking to see the kerosene lamp and Burro lantern side by side. Alimatu asked us if she could use the Burro lantern as a night-light to fall asleep, she had been using a kerosene lamp before. We said yes and her face lit up!
It was encouraging to monitor with the Burro team and to see the fruits of our labor after the pilot. A big thank you to Whit, Carol and Caleb for coming all the way to Tamale to check out the solar center and for all of their consulting.