Meet Stephanie, the newest member of the CWS Team!

This winter, Fellow Alumnus Stephanie Bloom will be joining Sam and I (Kate) in Ghana as a 2012 Winter Fellowship Leader! Stephanie is a graduate student at Columbia University and was a 2012 Summer Fellow. We’re so excited to have her as a part of the CWS Team and are counting down the days until the Winter Fellowship Program! Without further ado, meet Steph:

Ever since I left Ghana, I’ve been pining to go back. And so, to say that I am excited to return this winter as a Fellowship Leader  is an understatement!  I am so thrilled, and truly honored, to head back to Tamale as part of the Community Water Solutions team.  I can’t wait to get back in the field, visit my village Jagberin, catch-up with all of the amazingly hilarious translators, and assist the forthcoming Fellows implement successful projects in villages of their very own!

I’m currently in my second year of graduate school at Columbia University, where I’m working towards my Masters Degree in Human Rights; my area of research focuses on women’s rights in sub-Saharan Africa, which is why I was initially drawn to the Fellowship program.  Prior to traveling to Ghana with CWS, I knew very little about the global water crisis or clean water technology. As a student of human rights, learning about the dire need for clean water worldwide was invaluable.  I was surprised by how much knowledge I gained about our human right to water, about the inner-workings of a community development project, and about how even a small group of dedicated, hard-working, and passionate students can make a difference in the lives of so many.

I first fell in love with Africa when I was an undergraduate student and studied abroad in South Africa; while there, I was able to travel to numerous other African countries, including Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana.  But I have to admit, the Ghanaians are by far my favorite! 

I’m so excited for this chance to go back and to take on a new role within the CWS family.  I hope I can affect change not just for the thousands of new village residents, but also for the new Fellows.  The best part of CWS is that it’s a grassroots, localized, and participatory organization that thrives on the generosity of the Fellows, the input of everyone, and the end result of clean water!  It is an incredibly rewarding experience and I can’t wait to share it with a new group of people!

See you all in Ghana!





CWS Is on

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Why Should YOU Apply to be a CWS Fellow?

by Peter Biyam, CWS Project Manager

About CWS

CWS has been working so hard to help in bringing clean water to villagers and making sure the people get to understand how important it is to always drink clean water. If you take a look at the kind of water people were drinking five years ago, they ended up getting diseases from the dirty water. But now, due to our excellent and hard work, our partner villages in the northern region are getting access to clean and healthy water.

About the CWS Fellowship

CWS’ fellowship program is a three-week program whereby fellows come down from all over the world to do work in rural villages in the northern region of Ghana. And throughout these three weeks, the fellows are going to be visiting their new villages to really find out what the people’s problems are. If they find that villages don’t have access to clean water, then they return to these villages to talk to the people, explain how a project will work and then find out whether or not the people really want to work with us. If the people want to work with CWS, then the fellows get the necessary supplies they need, build the treatment center, train women in the village to run the center, and talk to everyone in the village about how important it is to really drink clean and healthy water. The fellows go to every household to talk to them and make sure that each family understands how the center works. When the center starts running, the fellows make sure they get back to the villages to monitor the households and talk to people to see what everyone is thinking about CWS and the center.

Why Should YOU be a CWS Fellow?

I think the CWS fellowship is great. You get to meet all sort of people; children, old men, old women, and you get to see a different life altogether. You get to find out how people build their houses and you get to interrupt with chiefs and elders; you get to hold baby goats (and real babies too!) and get the kind of local dishes you have never tasted before. You get to learn how to carry water on your head the same way people do here. All the translators in CWS are awesome – you get to make cool friendships. Most importantly, you get to help people make a good change in their lives.

We can’t wait to see you fellows in December!


Peter Biyam, CWS Project Manager, writes about why you should apply to be a CWS Fellow

CWS Monitoring: Bucking the Trend

Monitoring and evaluation can often seem like the less glamorous younger sister of exciting implementation, who comes first, steals the show, is effortlessly photographable and charms everyone around her. As a CWS staff member whose job starts when the implementers go home, however, I’m here to tell you that monitoring ensures that implementation becomes something more than superficial AND has a certain charm of her own!

Kpalung center operator, Zaratu, and her son pose for a picture during a check-up conversation. Kpalung continues to impress follow-up staff (and hopefully visa versa)!

Continue reading

Just a few more Information Sessions

We are down to just a few more information sessions before the Winter Fellowship Application is due. Find out which information session is taking place closest to you and come out and here more about the Fellowship Program.

Thurs. Sept.15 at 4:00pm University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill in the Fedex Global Education Center Room 4003

Thurs. Sept. 15 at 4:30pm Connecticut College in Blaustein Room 212

Thurs. Sept. 15 at 7:00pm & Mon. Sept. 19 at 7:00pm Virginia Tech in Randolph Room Room 212

Sun. Sept. 18 at 5pm Harvard University in the Lamont Library in the Forum Room

Mon. Sept.19 at 6:45pm Yale University in the Anlyan Center outside Room N107

Tues. Sept. 20 at 4:00pm Boston University in the School of Management Room 114

Tues. Sept. 20 at 4:30pm Middlebury College in Hillcrest, Room 103


GT & USC Success!

Jasdeep & I

The Fellowship Information Tour down South is off to a great start! This past Thursday I was in Atlanta at Georgia Tech and had the pleasure of meeting some pretty amazing students. Jasdeep helped coordinate my high tech room. He is a Junior at Georgia Tech and President of the GT Water Alliance, which is a group of students that work to educate students on the global water crisis, while also working to get them involved in various efforts, like CWS’ Fellowship Program. It is so awesome to see such young people be so involved in such a pertinent issue! I am really looking forward to some GT applicants!

This afternoon I was off to University of South Carolina. It was a beautiful day for a nice cruise in my awesome wheels. Can’t miss me that’s for sure!

Don't be too jealous!
Seriously! Stop being so jealous! 🙂

Next stop my alma mater… Clemson University! I can’t wait to be on my own turf with my Tigers!

Updates From the Field: Shak Reflects (and Kathryn Photographs)

Today we have a very special blog post, written by our wonderful Assistant Project Manager, Shak! Here’s what Shak has to say about the past couple of weeks in the field:


Frequent visits are really helping a lot in the communities.

Wahab labels rainwater collection bins in Gbung
TJ tightens a tap in Kpalung

And I am happy everyone is liking our system.

At least, almost everyone is happy! Gidanturu's chief holds a baby who is scared by the Salaminga.

People [keep] telling us how they are having good changes in health as compared to the past.

A container at Ibrahim yili, Kpalbusi
Sanatu poses with her Guinea Worm filter in Kpalung

And I am happy with our team and our management in the office.

Wahab checks the polytank at Tacpuli
Sana poses with her son. She sends her greetings to Kushini's fellows!

We work according to the moto.

TJ heads out of Kushini

-Shakun Ibrahim, CWS Assistant Project Manager

More Information Session Dates Booked!

CWS is getting ready to pack up and head South to hold more information sessions at universities we would love to see you there!

I could not be more excited to speak to more students about CWS! While I take the South by storm other information sessions will be taking place all over the East Coast held by other Fellow Alum. Check out where we’ll be and come out to learn more about the program and ask questions! Email me, Sam at sderrick@communitywatersolutions, if you are interested in CWS holding an information session at your school and don’t see if on the list! Be a part of this amazing experience and help us get clean drinking water to more villages in Ghana!



Thurs. Sept. 8 at 8:00pm Georgetown University (ICC Rom 108)

Thurs. Sept. 8 at 6:00pm Georgia Tech in Klaus Room 1447

Mon. Sept. 12 at 1:00pm University of South Carolina in Arnold School of Public Health Room 103

Mon. Sept. 12 at 6:00pm University of Virginia in Newcomb’s South Meeting Room (3rd floor of Newcomb)

Tues. Sept. 13 at 4:30pm Clemson University in Edwards Room 304

Tues. Sept. 13 at 2:00pm Massachusetts Institute of Technology  in the TPP Lounge (3rd Floor of E40)

Tues. Sept. 13 at University of Illinois in the Campus YMCA

Wed. Sept. 14 at 6:00pm Boston College in Devlin Hall Room 008

Wed. Sept. 14 at 4:30pm for Amherst College, Smith College, Mt. Holyoke, Hampshire College & University of Massachusetts at the Amherst College Career Center

Wed. Sept. 14 at 6:30pm Elon University in the Moseley Center Room 215

Thurs. Sept.15 at 4:00pm University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill in the Fedex Global Education Center Room 4003

Thurs. Sept. 15 at 7:00pm & Mon. Sept. 19 at 7:00pm Virginia Tech in Randolph Room Room 212

Thurs. Sept. 15 at 4:30pm Connecticut College in Blaustein Room 212

Mon. Sept.19 at 6:45pm Yale University in the Anlyan Center outside Room N107

Tues. Sept. 20 at 4:00pm Boston University in the School of Management Room 114


  • Middlebury College
  • Harvard University

Email me ( if you are interested in attending and we’ll let you know when the dates and locations are set

Fellowship Information Session Tour Kickoff at UMD

I kicked off the Fellowship Information Session tour at University of Maryland yesterday. Despite it being my first information session, I kept my nerves in check and had so much fun! I was able to be a part of the first day of class for Professor Coke Farmer’s Global Health class of FRESHmen. And it went great! They thought it was going to be a normal syllabus first day of class and in I cam trying to get them to step out of their comfort zone and come to Ghana—meanwhile they haven’t even gotten comfortable at school! I think it was quite the surprise for them!

The students had been assigned to watch the National Academies a “Running Dry: Call to Action” before class and so, they had a good base-level of knowledge about the global water crisis. After I presented we opened up the floor for questions and they came pouring in. I must have at least 30 questions—the students were completely engaged and I loved it. I am really looking forward to some UMD fellowship applicants!

Talking to the UMD students got me really pumped about all the information sessions to come! Next stop —ATL to meet some Georgia Tech students and I can’t wait!

Below is the National Academies “Running Dry: A Call to Action” that Professor Coke Farmer shared with me. Definitely worth a watch!