Back in the Field

Today was my first day back in the field since I was here in January. Peter, Shak, TJ and Wahab have been doing an awesome job monitoring all of the CWS villages over the past couple of months, and I was excited to go check things out for myself. This morning, I shadowed Peter and Wahab as they did household visits in Chani.

We started off the day with my favorite Ghanaian breakfast, eggs and bread (and nescafe)!

Our favorite tea-sellers' shop on the Salaga Road
Breakfast of Champions!

Then we hit the road to Chani! I was happy to see that everything at Chani has been going extremely well! That morning, about 10 people came to fetch water, and almost every household that we visited had clean water in their safe storage containers. Peter and Wahab did an awesome job monitoring – i just sat back and took pictures!

Peter and Wahab fixing a leaky tap in Chani
Peter checking out a safe storage container to see how much water is inside
Wahab diligently filled out the CWS monitoring sheet
On her way home from the water treatment center

Besides getting to see everything run smoothly, being in Chani this morning was exciting for another reason as well…there were puppies in almost every house! We didn’t know what was going on with all these little guys, but we loved it!

New Office!

With Sam doing such an awesome job running CWS’ operations in the States, I’ve jet-setted back to Ghana to start prepping for our Summer Fellows! They arrive in Tamale one month from today and the entire CWS-Ghana team is so excited for them to get here.

I arrived in Tamale yesterday and was thrilled to finally see the new CWS office, which we moved into in March! I’m in the process of setting everything up inside, but for now, here are some pictures of the outside:

CWS' new Tamale office!
From the other side...

Our new digs are bigger, in a safe neighborhood and pretty much the same price as our last place. We couldn’t be happier in this new spot!

Our Summer 2011 Fellowship Leaders

CWS is very proud to announce our 2011 Summer Fellowship Leaders: Annie McBride, Hannah Hill & Hannah Stonebraker! All three ladies were a part of this past Winter Fellowship Session and we are excited to have them back in Ghana this Summer! Let them introduce themselves…

I am so happy to be able to return to Ghana with the CWS team!  I graduated from Georgetown in 2010 with studies in English, Environmental Science, and Studio Art, and with the interest of pursuing an international development project post-graduation.  Thankfully I learned about Community Water Solutions through Georgetown’s Career Center and applied to the fellowship this past winter.  Though I knew little about the global water crisis at the time, I was eager to learn more and hoped it would be an eye opening experience that would lead to many others – and it certainly has!

I had an incredible time with a stellar group of volunteers and CWS employees, learned so much about Ghanaian culture, and, not to mention, brought clean water to hundreds of deserving people in our very rural village of Chanaayili!  It is amazing what can be accomplished in such a short amount of time with the guidance of the CWS team and the input of a dedicated group of volunteers. 

As one of the leaders of the summer fellowship, I hope to make sure all the projects run smoothly and to help the fellows have as wonderful of an experience in Ghana as I had.  This trip changed my life and made me realize that I wanted to work within the non-profit world, and hopefully it will be as eye-opening for the future fellows.

Can’t wait to meet everyone! See you in Ghana!


Like Kathryn and Annie, I bring my Hoya Saxa pride to the CWS team. Raised in Massachusetts, I am currently a sophomore at Georgetown University studying International Economics, focusing mostly on development economics, and African Studies.

When I first applied to the CWS Fellowship program, I was looking for a way to get to the amazing continent I had been studying for so long, but what I got was way more than a round trip ticket to Africa. I soon became passionate about everything CWS does. On one hand, the organization directly improves economic growth with the implementation of a for profit water purification business in every village. On the other hand, it creates a foun

dation for sustainable, long-term development by improving social development indicators in both the health and gender equality sectors. In school I have been studying (and debating) what needs to come first – social development or economic development – yet somehow CWS does them both simultaneously!

Since I returned to the States in the middle of January, I have been itching to get back to Ghana, to Tamale, and to my village Yipala. I am excited to see how Nafissa and Mimounatou, the women who ran the center in my village, are doing, as well as everyone else in Yipala. But more than that, I cannot wait to bring the fellowship experience to several more teams. There are no words to describe how you feel when you watch a little boy drink clean water from a tin can when, just a week earlier, you had watched him drink dugout water the color of chocolate milk while a cow lapped up the same dirty water. CWS is more than just giving, more than just learning, and definitely more than just experiencing. CWS is an awesome endeavor and I cannot wait to share it with the 28 new Summer Fellows!

-Hannah Hill

Today marks a month until my return to Ghana, and I could not be more excited. As a current sophomore at Middlebury College in Vermont, I major in International Studies with a concentration in Political Science and a regional specialization in Africa. I fell in love with Africa at the age of seventeen on a six week cultural immersion in Senegal. I spent a week of my trip living with a family in the south east corner of the country, and after experiencing the beautiful, but immensely difficult lives of the women and girls with whom I spent my days, I knew that I wanted to spend my career trying to make the lives of women like them easier. So when I heard about the Community Water Solutions Fellowship program, I jumped at the opportunity not only to return to West Africa, but to get my hands dirty and make a difference.

 Working with CWS as a Winter Fellow was an incredibly rewarding experience, as I was able to vastly expand upon my knowledge of development and health, all while helping the people of Chanaayili. Furthermore, I was able to interact with the people of the village, and build relationships with the Chief, the women who run the water center, and some of their children. While I returned to Middlebury more invigorated and motivated than ever, sitting in my African Politics class, and discussing the theories of development cannot come close to jumping in and getting work done. I simply cannot wait to get back to Ghana and work with all the new, and surely amazing, fellows and villages.

 – Hannah Stonebraker

Meet Kathryn, CWS’ new Ghana Country Director!

March and April have been two very busy and exciting months for CWS. We’ve hired Sam, our new US Director of Operations and Development, welcomed 28 new Fellows into our Summer Fellowship Program and most recently, have hired Kathryn Padgett to be our new Ghana Country Director! Kathryn was one of our 2011 Winter Fellows and constantly impressed us with her passion for development and her valuable insights regarding CWS’ long-term sustainability in Ghana.

So, without further ado, meet Kathryn:

I have to echo Sam’s excitement and enthusiasm for our upcoming work with the incredible CWS team – I am proud to be a part of this organization, and I am counting down the days until my position formally begins!

I graduate in May from Georgetown University in Washington, DC with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service in Science, Technology and International Affairs and a Certificate in International Development (what a mouthful!). A Community Water Solutions fellowship last December gave me the opportunity to see all this theory in practice. More than that, my experiences in Ghana invigorated me with a sense of possibility. I was thrilled to be able help the villagers of Kpalbusi create a unique system that will ensure their access to clean, safe drinking water indefinitely.  The challenges and successes we faced as a team and community were all part of a positive process of creation and revision that ultimately lead to a working system that myself, my teammates, our new business managers and the whole village could take pride in, and set a great precedent of teamwork and cooperation. Seeing clean water filling up the line of blue buckets beside Kpalbusi’s dirty, croc-infested dugout was one of the most inspiring experiences of my life, and the expressions on the faces of all those around me told me I was not alone in this sentiment.

I see these next few months as a similar challenge of problem-solving and collaboration on a larger scale. One of my biggest responsibilities will be to unpack today’s buzzword of “sustainability” in the CWS context. Continued monitoring of established projects and critically evaluating our methods and models, as well as fostering new, beneficial partnerships will all be part of this process. Luckily CWS has an incredible and growing team and circle of advisors, partners and supporters to help the organization sustain its momentum and success. Again, I am excited for this opportunity to continue to be a part of the growing Community Water Solutions family, and can’t wait to get back to Tamale to the friendly faces that made my December experience so meaningful.

– Kathryn

From a CWS Fellow to the Director of US Operations & Development…

Born in New York, raised in Maryland, a Clemson graduate, a love for helping people and drive to make a difference. It is my second day as a member of the CWS Team and I couldn’t be more excited! I have found the job that I am extremely passionate about and an organization I am so proud to be a part of.

I graduated Clemson in 2008 with a Bachelor’s in Health Science with a concentration in Promotion & Education and a minor in Psychology. Upon graduation I was able to spend three months in South Africa as Project Materials Developer for a non-profit located within Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. I was able to gain insight to the current health issues lying within Africa and the social aspects surrounding those concerns.  I had fallen in love with international development. I had returned back to Maryland with the drive to conquer the field and with a job market with very little options. I didn’t let that discourage me and continued to stay focused with what I ultimately wanted.

In the Winter of 2011 I was selected as a Fellow for Community Water Solutions. I was thrilled to get back to Africa and to get first-hand experience on the current global water crisis. In my first day in Ghana I was shocked at the dire need for water improvement. Seeing children dip their hands in water that animals defecate in and water bottles filled with water more murky then our rainy day street puddles hurt my heart. It didn’t take long for us to see the how greatly we were needed to help give these people something so simple—Clean water. And the most amazing thing, it would only take three weeks to do so.

The Ghanaians greeted us with arms wide open. I was amazed at the great sense of community and the way they looked out for one another with a “no man left behind” attitude. They took the matter very seriously and were there every step of the process. In completing our time in Ghana I left the village, Chanaayilli, with great confidence that the community would sustain their water treatment center and provide a clean water source for their community indefinitely.

In my return to the US I knew CWS was something I wanted to stay a part of. I had seen that the project had truly worked—there was no doubt in my mind that CWS would continue to grow and succeed in bringing people clean water. When I was offered a position on the CWS Team I knew this was an opportunity I could NOT pass up! I am so excited to see the places CWS will go and so proud to be a part of it!