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Meet Our Newest Corporate Partner: Phoenix Revolution

Saha Global is thrilled to announced our newest corporate partner: Phoenix Revolution!

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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, kate@sahaglobal.org, to learn more!

Nicaragua and Saha’s Growing Team

When I posted our scouting trip recap a few months ago, we were still keeping our expansion country a secret. Now that we have let the cat out of the bag, I wanted to write a follow-up blog post to share more information about our time in Nicaragua.

After spending a week in Peru, Kate and I headed to Nicaragua. We arrived in Managua and took a small 8 passenger plane to the Northeast coast to a town called Puerto Cabezas, or as the locals called it “Port.” After months of research, we had pinpointed Port as a potential headquarter city for Saha to operate from and were excited to finally check it out. Althoug we had met and talked to many different people working in Nicaragua on the phone, bwe hadn’t set much of plan for our trip beyond just getting to Port. The goal of our visit was to get to as many rural communities as possible, but we had yet to figured out which ones, how we were going to get there and who was going to translate for us.

Earl & Kate
Earl & Kate

Strangely a week before we left for out scouting trip Kate re-connected with an old friend named Earl. Earl is a pastor who was born and raised in Nicaragua and currently runs an orphanage in Puerto Cabezas. Kate had visited this orphanage numerous times during her undergraduate work with the Nicaraguan Orphan Fun and Engineering Students Without Borders at the University of Virginia, but it had been 10 years since she and Earl had connected. Earl opened his guesthouse up to us and was extremely helpful as we made contacts in Port to help with our endeavor. He set us up with two translators, a driver and set up a meeting with his co-worker, Dustin, who has lead many medical mission trips in and around the area.

Our translators were actually two 18 year old boys from the orphanage. They spoke excellent English were excited to be involved.
Our translators were actually two 18 year old boys from the orphanage. They spoke excellent English were excited to be involved.

Within just a few hours of arriving in Nicaragua we had a set plan for our next few days. We packed up early the next morning and were off on a bumpy four-hour journey to Waspam. Over the next two days we traveled to 8 communities along the Rio Coco where we met with community leaders and performed household surveys to get a sense of their water and electricity access. Our initial feeling was that despite cultural differences, the set-up and dynamic in the communities that we visited were very similar to our partner communities in Ghana. Additionally, people were collecting their drinking water from surface water sources and using kerosene lamps to light their homes at night.

We left Nicaragua feeling confident that Saha could have a significant impact on the rural communities that we visited and believe there is a great opportunity for long-term work in the area. We are extremely excited to explore the area further to get a better grasp on what working there would entail. There is still a lot of research to be done– getting a better idea of the community dynamic, setting up our headquarter operations, finding local partners, plotting potential partner communities and finding local water and solar technologies are just a few of the many things left to find out.

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On the left, Katie Spruill, and the right, Eda Reed

Which leads perfectly into the introduction of our two newest Saha Team members who will help make that all happen: Eda Reed and Katie Spruill. We know these two ladies have the skills, pluck and go get ’em attitude that we need on our team for our expansion to Nicaragua. In June Eda & Katie will travel to Ghana. They will help lead our Summer Global Leadership Program and then stay an additional month to learn the ins and outs of our in country Ghana operations from the pros themselves, Peter, Shak, Amin, Wahab and Eric. We see this training process extremely crucial. We pride ourselves on our 100% sustainability track record. We believe that spending time with out Ghana team will help not only Katie & Eda to get a better understanding of our work in Ghana, but will also help them understand what will need to happen in Nicaragua.

Tomorrow I will hand over the blog to Katie & Eda. Welcome to the Saha Team ladies! Let’s do this Nicaragua!

Fourth Annual Benefit Success

IMG_4332This 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!

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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!

Saha Executive Director & Co-founder welcome everyone
Saha Executive Director & Co-founder, Kate Clopeck welcomes everyone to the Benefit

 

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From Left to Right, Pat Cahill (Board Member), Vanessa (Co-founder & Board Member), Kate Clopeck (Co-founder & Executive Director), Sam Reilley (Director of Operations & 2011 Field Rep Alum), Kathryn Padgett (Director of Programming & 2011 Field Rep Alum) and Brianan Kiernan (Past Ghana Country Director & 2012 Field Rep Alum)

 

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Amory Sivertson on the piano
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Acappella group, Fermata Town

 

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.

 

Scouting Trip Recap

Two weeks ago, Kate & I returned home after an incredible scouting trip to Nicaragua & Peru. After months of research stateside it was so exciting to finally see how statistics matched up to the reality of water and electricity access in rural communities.

We had a fantastic trip and were impressed by the enthusiastic reception of each and every person we met along the way. Once we announce our chosen expansion country at the Benefit (in just ONE MORE WEEK) we will give you all the details of how we came to our decision. Until then, check out these pictures recapping our adventure!

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And we’re off! Next stop Peru!

 

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After a 2 hour flight from Lima to Pucallpa, Kate & I were off up the river for 6 hours to a small community with a big name, called Santa Rosa Tamaya Tipishca

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Long journeys aren't so bad when there is hammock involved.
Long journeys aren’t so bad when there’s a hammock involved.

 

The vast Amazon River! And this was the dry season, so the water level is at its lowest.
The vast Amazon River! And this was the dry season, so the water level is at its lowest.

 

Alum, in its natural form. In Santa Rosa there was a UNICEF project where they were given chlorine and alum to treat the river water within their own home.
Alum, in its natural form. In Santa Rosa there was a UNICEF project where they were given chlorine and alum to treat the river water within their own home.

 

Here is typical home in the Ucalyali Region.
Here is typical home in the Ucalyali Region.
Kate & I stayed the night in this community and watched the sunset with some of the community kiddos.
Kate & I stayed the night in this community and watched the sunset with some of the community kiddos.
An eco-sanitation project in the commmunity. There was one for each household.
An eco-sanitation project in the commmunity. There was one for each household.
Our sleeping quarters for the evening.
Our sleeping quarters for the evening.
Boots on and ready to trek.
Boots on and ready to trek.

 

Our boat back down the river, a bit smaller and with no shade and no hammock. It was hot journey back down to Pucallpa!
Our boat back down the river, a bit smaller and with no shade and no hammock. It was hot journey back down to Pucallpa!
Next city we visited was Iquitos. It was 2 hour flight from Pucallpa to Iquitos. Here we are with our translator and area expert Jose as we head out on another 6 hour journey to check out more rural communities in the area.
Next city we visited was Iquitos. It was 2 hour flight from Pucallpa to Iquitos. Here we are with our translator and area expert Jose as we head out on another 6 hour journey to check out more rural communities in the area.
A local hand-dug well in the community of Puerto Miguel.
A local hand-dug well in the community of Puerto Miguel.
In many communities they use these kerosene lanterns as their source of light at night.
In many communities they use these kerosene lanterns as their source of light at night.
After 6 hours on the river, we are off on a hour-long hike thru the Amazon to a small community called Nuevo Jerusalem.
After 6 hours on the river, we are off on a hour-long hike thru the Amazon to a small community called Nuevo Jerusalem.
This is Bana! Can you even handle the cheeks on this little cutie?
This is Bana! Can you even handle the cheeks on this little cutie?
Here is just one of the many people we had the opportunity to speak with on our journey. Her name is Chachita and she is from Piyarote.
Here is just one of the many people we had the opportunity to speak with on our journey. Her name is Chachita and she is from Piyarote.
Closing out a successful trip through Peru. Now off to Nicaragua!
Closing out a successful trip through Peru. Now off to Nicaragua!
Off on this small plane for a short 45 minute ride from Managua to Puerto Cabezas, located on the East Coast of the country!
Off on this small plane for a short 45 minute ride from Managua to Puerto Cabezas, located on the East Coast of the country!
 After an awesome meeting with some great contacts in Puerto Cabezas we were determined to get to small town called Waspam, located 4 hours north and on the Coco River, which is a river that borders Honduras.
After an awesome meeting with some great contacts in Puerto Cabezas we were determined to get to small town called Waspam, located 4 hours north and on the Coco River, which is a river that borders Honduras.
Reminds us of Ghana!
Reminds us of Ghana.
And so does this!
And so does this!
Our amazing translators! In the communities around Waspam, people speak Miskito. These guys were a tremendous help.
Our amazing translators! In the communities around Waspam, people speak Miskito. These guys were a tremendous help.
A household in the community of Kiwastara.
A household in the community of Kiwastara.
Louis Jackson, the Heffe of Andres, was extremely helpful as we tried to learn more about their source of electricity and water.
Louis Jackson, the Heffe of Andres, was extremely helpful as we tried to learn more about their source of electricity and water.
We could get used to this boat thing!
We could get used to this boat thing!

Headed to Peru & Nicaragua!

This Sunday, Executive Director, Kate Clopeck, and Director of Operations, Sam Reilley, are packing up and heading out on a 14 day scouting trip to Nicaragua and Peru!Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 10.23.39 AM

We have been researching these areas since February and are extremely excited to finally travel to the remote communities in these three regions to see which would be the best fit for the work that we do. We will start our two-week journey in Peru where will visit the area surrounding Pulcallpa and Iquitos. Next we will fly to Nicaragua where we will spend most of our time in the Northeast corner of the country to visit the area surrounding Puerto Cabezas.

The goal of this trip is to meet with potential partners and figure out if the need for drinking water and electricity in these rural areas is a good match for Saha’s community-level solution. We will sit down with community leaders in rural communities to identify things like their current sources of water and electricity (if any), the community structure, gender relations, the local economy/market, etc. We will also be meeting with a number of organizations who have been working in these regions for years. Hopefully these new partners will help us gain an understanding of what living and working in the area is like, since we will only be in each location for a few days.

From the jungle of the Amazon River to the Northeastern coast of Nicaragua we are sure to have quite the adventure! Check back next week for updates from our trip!

SAVE THE DATE: Saha Benefit in Boston Sept.25th

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Over the past 7 years, Saha has launched 93 businesses, which empower 191 women entrepreneurs that provide clean water and/or electricity to 40,900 people in Ghana. We have a 100% business success rate in Ghana and now are ready to grow! Over the past year we have been researching potential locations for Saha’s expansion and have narrowed it down to either Peru or Nicaragua. Now, we need your help to get there! All of the funds raised at this year’s Benefit will be used for on the ground research and piloting in Nicaragua or Peru. We are excited about expanding our impact and are so grateful for your support!

Join us for an evening of cocktails, light appetizers, a silent auction, raffle and live music!

EARLY BIRD TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE

We are off to scout in Central & South America!

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Round 3 of the Saha Challenge took place in Boston and we are just one step away from choosing our expansion country. Our Field Rep Alumni Challenge participants came to Boston on Sunday May 31st to give their final pitches for Cambodia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Nicaragua to a panel of judges.

For this round of the competition each team was given twenty minutes to pitch a 10 day scouting plan for our team to follow this Summer. Since February the participants have been researching these countries to get a better idea of what operating in the different regions may look like. The plan they put together outlined where we would fly into, the in-country transportation logistics required to reach rural communities, and proposed one to three cities for the Saha headquarters, as well as anticipate what we should expect in the communities as far as water and electricity access goes.

The panel of judges consisted of Kate Clopeck, Gabe Shapiro, Sarah Kearney, Pat Cahill, and Susan Murcott. As many of you may be aware, Kate Clopeck is Saha’s Executive Director and Co-founder; she knows the interworking of Saha’s operations in Ghana and gave the panel a balance when thinking through the feasibility of obstacles each country presented. Gabe Shapiro is Vice President of Outreach Programs at Next Step Living, one of Saha’s partners. Sarah Kearney is a Saha Board Member and the Executive Director at PRIME Coalition. Pat Cahill is also a Board Member and is the President at beep! directed voicemail. Susan Murcott is a Research Engineer at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning and was Kate’s advisor when she attended MIT. Each judge’s unique understanding in this round was IMMENSELY beneficial! Their insight when thinking through Saha Global’s expansion in each of these countries combined with their personal experience were incredible viewpoints to have when considering our operations in each country.

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Our panel of judges was throughly impressed by each of our participants. It was important for our judges to remember that the best pitch may not be the best fit for Saha’s expansion. They really needed to take the information at hand and applying that to Saha’s current model. After much deliberation, the judges selected Peru and Nicaragua, with the runner up being Ecuador. At the moment our budget only allows for scouting two countries. If given adequate funding, we would also love to scout Ecuador, as we think it has great Saha expansion potential.

For this next step in the Challenge our team will pack up and head to Peru and Nicaragua! The research is at a point where the only to way to get a better idea of what working in the country is to physically be there! Traveling out to the rural communities, meeting with community leaders, asking them about the current water and electricity situation, figuring out what materials are locally available, talking with locals about transportation and accommodation options, etc. We could not be any more excited!

A huge thank you to Katie Rumer, Kirsten Abel, MJ Rice, Sarah Steinke, Maxine Auzerais, and Kiana Kawamura for your participation in the Saha Challenge. We could have never gotten to this point without you. You all presented a solid case for your country’s and, if funding allowed, we would love to scout each one! Your research will be EXTREMELY beneficial as we look forward to exploring Cambodia, Ecuador and Panama for Saha in the future!

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The Saha Challenge Live Pitches in Boston May 31st

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We are one step closer to deciding where Saha Global is going to expand this year! On Sunday May 31st from 2:00pm to 4:00pm our Challenge Finalists will pitch their countries in front of a panel of expert judges in Boston, and we would love for you to join us!

In Round 2 of the Saha Challenge, our Field Rep alumni participants focused on a specific region and worked to quantify the need for clean water and electricity in the rural communities in that region. Over the last three months they have compiled research, have found partners on the ground, identified the need for water and electricity for the rural communities and started planning the logistics of running a Saha Global Leadership Program in each specific region.

For the final round of the competition, they will take all that information one step further to pitch a 10 day scouting plan for our team to follow this summer. They have to plan where would we fly into, the in-country transportation logistics required to reach rural communities, and select an area for our headquarters, as well as anticipate what we should expect in the communities as far as water and electricity access goes. We will follow the plan closely as we travel to each country to get a sense of what a Saha water or solar business in the country might look like and how we could bring Field Reps to that country.

On May 31st the Finalists will pitch their plans for Saha Global’s expansion for Cambodia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Panama & Peru and our panel of judges will decide which countries’ plans will be put into action this Summer; getting us that much closer to a final decision to be made in the Fall!

Our field reps have done an incredible job thus far and we are so excited for this part of the competition! Join us and dream up the possibilities of Saha expanding into Cambodia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Panama & Peru! This is event open to the public! RSVP HERE!

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Will Saha expand to Asia, Central OR South America?

Last week the Field Rep Alumni participants in Round 2 of the The Saha Challenge submitted video pitches for Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ecuador, India, Malawi, Nicaragua, Panama and Peru. Our panel of judges met on Wednesday to watch each pitch and select which countries would move on to Round 3 of the competition.

The panel of judges consisted of Kate Clopeck, Mark Moeremans and Alison Hynd. Kate Clopeck, as most of you know, is Saha’s Executive Director and Co-founder. Mark Moeremans is a Board Member, was a 2012 Water Field Representative and piloted the first Solar program after winning the Saha Global Social Enterprise Competition in 2013. Alyson Hynd is the Director for Program & Fellowships at MIT’s Public Service Center, where she reviews hundreds (maybe thousands!) of students international project proposals for funding.  Each judge’s insight in this round was EXTREMELY valuable! Their knowledge about travel and program logistics in each of these countries combined with their personal experience were amazing perspectives to have when considering Saha Global operating in each country.

For this round of the competition, the participants focused on a specific region and worked on quantifying the need for clean water and electricity in the rural communities in that region. They found partners on the ground who helped paint a better picture of the needs of the rural villages, which are often hard to extrapolate from general country statistics. They then used the information they gathered to put together a 15 minute video pitch.

Our panel of judges was extremely impressed by each of the participants pitches and they each presented strong cases. After much discussion, the judges selected Nicaragua, Peru, Panama, Cambodia and Ecuador to move on to Round 3. We are extremely confident in our judges decision and are even more excited about the possibilities in Saha Global expanding to one of these countries!

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 11.45.07 AMNicaragua will be represented by Bryant Foreman & Lucas Hilsbos , Panama by Kirsten Abel & Katie Rumer, Ecuador by Maxine Auzerais & Kiana Kawamura, Peru by Leah Staschke & Aly Carr and Cambodia by MJ Rice & Sarah Steinke.

For Round 3 of the competition our participants will be coming to Boston in May to give a live pitch in front of another panel of judges. The countries chosen to move on from Round 3 be visited by members of our Team this Summer!

A huge thank you to Katie Spruill, Danya Kiernan, Matt Sullivan, Jake Ballard, Melissa Quinn and Julia Kapit for your participation in the Saha Challenge. We appreciate all of your hard work and look forward to exploring Malawi, Bangladesh and India for Saha Global in the future!

Saha Global expands to a new country!

Saha Global has launched 82 businesses, which empower 178 women entrepreneurs who provide clean water and/or electricity to about 40,000 people in Ghana. With a 100% success rate of these business, we believe that we have a strong model and are ready to expand our impact outside of Ghana. But then there’s the big question: “Where?” Could our model work in a neighboring country? In Central America? Southeast Asia? India? And that’s the thing. There are so many options.

Last August, Kate & I were having one of our typical check-ins and like many of our chats, one thing led to another and we were soon spitting off ideas about what country Saha Global could work in. We thought about the time and research that we would need to make it all happen and it seemed overwhelming. Our own personal experience and exposure took the “New country for Saha” discussion only so far. That led to us thinking about all 264 of our past Field Reps. Our Field Reps know what we are all about and what makes the Saha businesses go round. They come to the program with amazing experiences and leave the program continuing to amaze us. We realized that we didn’t need to be overwhelmed by thinking about how to expand – we already have a whole team of smart, skilled, and passionate people who also care about Saha’s growth and who would be excited about reaching people living outside of Ghana!

Some of them have lived in Malawi for a study abroad program, or had an internship with a non-profit in India or even researched in China as a Fullbright Scholar. Some of them have done extensive research on solar electricity or worked under a professor to test the efficiency of a water filter for use in Bolivia. Some have even designed a simple solar system for a small village in Rwanda or simply backpacked through Southeast Asia and have had first hand experience with the dire need for access to electricity in Thailand.

They are the global leaders in the world and we want to harness their ambition, drive and knowledge to fuel our expansion into a new country! Which leads me to our exciting announcement:

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The Saha Challenge! This Challenge will work similar to the Social Enterprise Competition we hosted two years ago. The same competition that lead to our extremely successful expansion into providing access to electricity by establishing solar charging businesses.

The Saha Challenge kicked off in the first week of February when we hosted a online webinar to go over the different components of the competition, the rules and judging criteria. It will be a series of three rounds, each round field reps will be given a set of guidelines that they must research about their chosen country. After each round some countries will be eliminated, while others will be chosen to continue on in the competition. The winning country will be selected by the end of the Summer and will be announced at our Annual Benefit in Boston in the Fall. The winning team will then be invited to participate in a solar or water program in the new country, all expenses paid for.
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The initial country proposals were just submitted last week and we were extremely impressed by all of the proposals! The first round was about gathering some general statistics about the country, such as drinking water access, electricity access, the country’s progress towards the millennium development goals, travel and safety risks and the political and economic stability. After much discussion amongst the Saha Team, we have moved 8 countries on to the next round.

The Saha Where to next

 

This weekend the team’s will be submitting their pitches for Round 2! The idea of working in any of these beautiful countries is so exciting we can hardly contain ourselves! It is such a privilege to continue to collaborate with our field reps and to have them on this amazingly exciting journey!