World Water Day

Happy World Water Day Everybody!

World Water Day was last Thursday, and around the world people concerned with the global water crisis gathered together to celebrate all the positive water-y work that’s being done! To see some examples and learn a bit more about global water problems and solutions, check out!

Here in Tamale we had our own celebration! 45 of the ladies and men we work along side joined us in Tamale for some finger-lickin’ chicken n’ rice, minerals (soft drinks) and, naturally, some good old-fashioned CLEAN water! It was wonderful to get these ladies together to listen to some reggae, watch the latest Ghanian soap opera and chat about our businesses around Northern Region!

CWS celebrated World Water Day with our longest running partners, from Cheko and Jerigu...
. . . and our newest ones!

Did you and your friends miss World Water Day? No problem, here are some tips to conserve water around the house and make every day a water day! And of course, you can always support CWS efforts through Global Giving.

Happy World Water Day!

– Kathryn

Meet the 2012 Summer Fellowship Leaders!

We are very excited to announce the two awesome Fellowship Leaders that will be helping us run the 2012 Summer Fellowship Program: Ben Powell and Hudson Cavanaugh! We are so happy to have these two guys join our team this June – the Summer Fellows are going to be in great hands! Without further ado, meet Ben and Hudson:

There’s a good chance you’ll see some Virginia gear around the CWS office this summer, since Kate and I are both Wahoos! I was born and raised in Austin, Texas, and am now Fourth Year at UVa. I’ll be graduating this May with a degree in Computer Science, and am so excited and honored to be given the opportunity to return to Ghana as a Fellowship Leader this summer.

Ben back in June 2010 in Wambong.

It’s been nearly two years since I traveled to Ghana as part of CWS’s first Fellowship team, and I’ve been able to tell that the Fellowship Program has changed quite a bit since my Fellowship Program in Summer 2010! My team consisted of five people instead of four, and we were the only CWS Fellowship team in Ghana that summer. Peter and Shak worked closely with us to help my team open CWS’s 7th water business, located in Wambong. The World Cup was on TV just about every night we were there, and we adjusted our schedules whenever possible to see either Ghana or the United States play a match. You can imagine how much fun it was when the two teams actually played against each other in the Round of 16!

Since my Fellowship, CWS has expanded to 35 villages, changed offices, and hired several full-time staff members and fellowship translators. When I heard CWS added the Fellowship Leader position, I was excited and anxious to return to Ghana to play a bigger role in an organization that has not only affected me personally but also 20,000 Ghanaians who now have a permanent, safe source of drinking water. Watching CWS grow has been fascinating, and I’m convinced that the CWS model not only works locally but is sustainable, which is a key attribute of successful global development. I can’t wait to be a part of the growth this summer as CWS expands to even more villages.

I couldn’t be happier to return to Ghana with the new Fellows and be a part of the Summer 2012 Fellowship Program. I will never forget my experience in Ghana two years ago, and cannot wait to see what the Summer 2012 Fellowship has in store. Enjoy the next few months, and see ya’ll in June!


It has been less than a year since I’ve been back from Tamale working with Community Water Solutions, but I’m eager to go back. I’m a rising junior at Middlebury College with a major in Political Science and Latin American Studies and, after the CWS program is over, I will be working with an organization called Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), a student founded group dedicated to lowering the price of life saving drugs by working with research universities across the United States.

Hudson with his teammates Sharifa and Ianthe braving the rough village roads in Shak's Jeep (with the usual swarm of kids!)

The reason I’m proud to be working with CWS is not just all the incredible people I’ve met through CWS, but because the structure of the fellowship program accomplishes two important goals: it creates sustainable clean water projects around Tamale that provide clean water to entire communities, and it helps create waves of informed, responsible global citizens who I hope will go on to do great things. I believe it is our responsibility to be aware of our privilege and use the power and access that circumstance has given us to fight against global injustice such as extreme poverty and lack of access to clean water. One way I intend to do that is by working to ensure that this year’s fellowship program is safe, fun and, hopefully, as impactful as my own fellowship program.Ben and I are going to do our best to make sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible throughout the program. If any of you have any concerns, questions, or simply want to trade some emails, please feel free to shoot me an email at I’m looking forward to meeting all of you!


Updates From the Field: March Madness

March has been an exciting month for all of us here in Tamale. Monitoring continues in our new villages, and its been fun to get to know 9 new communities better! Staff spent a “lazy” Sunday in Libi, fishing with some of the village men there. We brought home a rice bag full of Talapia and some hilarious memories from our day in the river.

Peter poses with "fresh twins" during household visits in Libi
Mohammed, a huge help to CWS staff in Libi, clowns around for the camera.

In Laligu, the treatment center has undergone a few changes. Residents decided to construct a new center platform in a more central location, so that water would be more accessible to everyone. The ladies now pay a donkey cart from near-by Sevelugu to fill up their blue drums. They are very happy with the increase in sales they have seen already after “bringing the center home”!

Sharatu and Awabu pose by their new treatment center stand in Laligu - right in the center of town!

In Kagburashe, Amina and Mayama have really taken charge of center operations, making some changes to the way the business runs. Staff have been happy to work along side these two enterprising ladies to make the treatment center here unique to Kagburashe’s needs.

Ladies fetch water from Kagburashe's dugout.

Monitoring also continues in our older villages, but with some twists. Household visits have been extremely helpful for project evaluation and educational purposes, but we’re experimenting with some new approaches as well! This month, Shak began a water, health and hygiene educational program in Zanzugu, Zanzugu Yipela and Yipela. With a little work we will be able to expand this to other classrooms too!

Shak teaches a lesson to Zanzugu Yipela primary students about water contamination and health.
Which bottle would YOU like to drink?

No matter how many times we visit, kids still crowd around for pictures. Somethings never change.

Kids at Iddrisuyili pose for a picture in Kpalguni

– Kathryn

Exciting Additions to the CWS Team!

We’re only 8 days in, but so far March has been a very exciting month for Community Water Solutions! As many of you know from our constant emails, Facebook updates, tweets, and blog posts, the applications for our 2012 Summer Fellowship Program were due on Monday. We’ve got a big stack of applications from some pretty awesome people. We can’t wait to learn more about these potential Fellows!

But thats not all that’s been going on behind the scenes at CWS…we’ve had some other major changes in the works that we have been dying to share!

First, this awesome lady as officially signed on as our new West Africa Regional Director!

Just a typical day of work for CWS Ghana Country Director, Kathryn Padgett

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Rules of the Road from Kathryn Padgett on Vimeo.

For the past 9 months Kathryn has volunteered for CWS as our Ghana Country Director and has done such a wonderful job. This June she will officially join our full-time staff to help CWS plan and manage our expansion to other regions and countries in West Africa (and beyond!) We are THRILLED to have Kathryn join our team full-time. We know that she is the perfect person to be leading our operations in Africa!

This month we also welcomed Mr. Amin Mohammed to our full-time field staff!

Amin with his 2012 Winter Fellowship Team (photo credit: Lindsey Dukes)

Amin has been a Fellowship Translator for CWS for the past two Fellowship Sessions. He has an incredible work ethic, a passion for helping his country, and a great attitude! He has always received rave reviews from his Fellowship Teams and from the villages where they have worked. As a member of our full-time field staff, Amin will be responsible for monitoring our villages, finding new communities to partner with CWS and translating for Fellows when they are in Ghana. He is a great addition to our team!

Amin is taking the place of another Fellow Favorite, CWS field-staffer TJ.

TJ entertaining some Zanzugu boys during a monitoring trip

Last summer TJ graduated from Tamale Polytechnic and and this month he is started his national service year. In Ghana, students who graduate from an accredited tertiary intuition are required by law to do one year of national service to the country. We are SO PROUD of Teej for his academic accomplishments – he is the first member of our Ghanaian staff to pursue higher education! He finished his degree while also working full-time, which is no easy feat! Lucky for us TJ will still be based in Tamale so he’ll be helping us out from time to time when we need extra help translating, monitoring, or doing other work in the field. We are very sad to lose him for the year, but we are confident that he is going to do great things for his country!


Make Kony Famous 2012

Unless you live under a rock, you have most likely seen the Kony 2012  campaign by Invisible Children that has hit all of the social media outlets by storm this week. We at CWS are in awe of this amazing call to arms by such an incredible organization that has already done such great work to shed light on the horrific crimes that Joseph Kony has/is committing in Central Africa. If you haven’t already seen it, watch this video immediately and help Make Kony famous, so that we can arrest him in 2012!

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Celebrate! Ghana is 55!

Today (March 5th) Ghana celebrates the 55th anniversary of its independence! Tamale celebrated with a marching procession in Jubilee Park. I celebrated the marching with a FanMilk and a Boflot.

If you can’t celebrate this big day with some lock-step of your own, check out this music video about the Black Stars, pride of Ghana.

Happy Independence Day from Tamale!