A Week of Monitoring

I have officially been in Tamale for a week now, and what a week it has been! After spending a few days getting the office all ready for the Summer Fellows, I headed out to the field to help Shak, Peter, Wahab and Amin monitor some of the newer villages that I had never been to before (crazy!)  It was so much fun to be back in the field and to see how awesome the water businesses are doing in these new communities! Over the past four days I visited Yapalsi, Laligu, Kpalung, Kagburashe, Libi, Gbung (an oldie but goodie), Sakpalua, Buja, Kadula, Kpaniyilli, Kurugu Vohoyilli, and Kpachiyilli!


Everyone in Laligu was asking about the 2012 Winter Fellows!


Shak monitoring water sales in Yapalsi


Amin conducting household visits in Kplung


Peter and I hanging with some of our favorite kiddos in Gbung
Rainy season clouds…


Peter and Wahab checking out the water level in Kagburashe’s polytank


Me and Wahab with the ninos in Gbung






Shipping out!

This time next week 23 amazing fellows will be on their way to Ghana to implement into 6 more villages! We are anxiously awaiting their arrival and could not be more excited to welcome them to the team! It is going to be one fun Summer for CWS!

Without further a due I would like to introduce you to CWS’ 2012 Summer Fellows:

  • Abby Lebowitz– Colby College
  • Alexander Zorniger– Tufts University
  • Brie Reardon– University of Notre Dame
  • Brittni Woolwine– Virginia Tech
  • Cameron Glover– University of South Carolina
  • Evan Dent– Virginia Tech
  • Heidi Vreeland– Georgia Tech
  • Jennifer Kao– M.I.T.
  • Kelsey Barton-Henry– Middlebury College
  • Kelsey McDavid– Georgia Tech
  • Khadijah Qamar– Georgetown University
  • Krysta Falasca– MiamiUniversity
  • Leah Fessler– Middlebury College
  • Mark Moeremans– Boston College
  • Marwa Mubarek– Concordia University (Canada)
  • Matthew McMurray– Gettysburg College
  • Meagan Neal– Middlebury College
  • Megan Hanno– Boston University
  • Moriah Lynch– Miami University
  • Olivia Thompson– Meredith College
  • Sarit Cliffer– Virginia Tech
  • Tyler Milne– University of Virginia
  • Zoe Anderson– Middlebury College

Happy packing fellows! We can’t wait to meet you!

– The CWS Team

I’ll take Hot Tamale Over Accra Any Day

Anula (good evening) from Accra! I arrived here last night and have spent the day running some last minute errands to prepare for the Summer Fellows. Since CWS works in Tamale, which is about 12 hours north of Accra, there actually isn’t too much that needs to be done here for our Fellows – just some travel and lodging logistics.

Tamale, where CWS works, is the capital of the Northern Region and is about 12 hours north of Accra.

Although there were only a few errands to run, they still managed to take all day because of Accra’s infamous TRAFFIC!

My view for about 90% of the day…

While there are a lot of perks to living in Accra (namely delicious restaurants, the beach, and HOT SHOWERS) I much prefer spending my work-days like this:

photo credit: Stephanie Bloom

than this:

I can not wait to be back at the CWS Office in Tamale tomorrow! Summer Fellows – we are so excited for you to get here!


ps – want to come join us in Ghana? Apply for the Fall Fellowship Program today!

Ready to take off for the Summer and already preparing for Fall!

The Summer Fellowship will take off at the beginning of June with 6 teams! It will be one exciting Summer as we open more water businesses and continue to serve new communities clean drinking water! Though the Summer is off, the Fall Fellowship application is up! This Fall from Oct. 10th through the 31st– an ideal program for any recent graduates or even young professionals looking for experience in international development! The great thing about the application is that it is rolling. Giving our fellows a unique opportunity to start their fundraising early! Get your applicationin today and be set with your Fall plans with an amazing experience in Ghana. Grow your skills in

  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Real world problem-solving
  • Time management
  • Working under pressure
  • Public speaking

If you have any questions feel free to email Sam at 

Reflections of an (almost-former) Ghana Country Director

I can’t believe its been a year. A year already? A year only?!

Volunteering with Community Water Solutions this year was an experience that I am struggling to summarize. I could go by those landmark successes (and failures):

– Opening days in SIXTEEN communities = great success!

– Pushing the CWS truck down the Kumasi road = huge fail!

But I think it’s those ordinary days that have defined this year for me. I’ve been lucky to be able to hit the road most (earlyyyy) mornings with five incredibly hard-working and altruistic guys. Peter, Shak, Wahab, TJ and Amin made up our Tamale full-time field staff this year, and without them, well, I would be unintelligible in our villages. But their job is much more than translating. They wheedle information about problems out of reluctant housewives, they teach kids how to push taps without breaking them and give presentations to their classrooms, they take it personally when a house has misused a safe storage container, they charge community cellphones at their houses, switch farming tips, stories and food with the local men and women and kids, and they are the face of CWS to the communities they work with. I’m just lucky that I got to be part of such an ace team.

It’s not just the CWS posse that has impressed me daily. The ladies we work with in every village never cease to surprise me. Some are grandmothers and some are unmarried girls. Some work farms, others roadside food stops. All support their families and their communities without giving it a thought. Of course, the profits from the business are a great incentive to keep them going, but the actions and words of the ladies we work with have led me to believe that, for most, profits are only part of the reason they continue their work. The importance of community well-being here is something that I have rarely found so highly valued elsewhere in the world.

This year has certainly been one of great change for CWS. We have expanded rapidly, and the way we follow up in the places that we work has changed with this expansion. Figuring out how to optimize our time and resources and figuring out what ways monitoring is most effective were the twin challenge for me this year. Communicating our findings to a broader, international audience lead to in addition to topical blog posts. We also managed to successfully incorporate local government participation into our projects, and many villages are now nominated by their districts to partner with CWS. In retrospect, our growing pains were minimal; making water accessible to thousands more has yet to feel trying, and when you put it that way, how could it?

Of course, none of this would be possible without the amazing fellows we have had roll through our Tamale office, and a huge perk of this job was being able to work with so many talented, energetic and creative students and young professionals. Thank you fellows; keep in touch and keep your villages close to your hearts.

“Who is more dirty?” – my favorite game to play

Luckily I don’t have to say my goodbyes just yet, but leaving this week is still bittersweet. Its wonderful to know that a competent group, headed by new Country Directer Brianan Kiernan, will be able to take over operations once I’m out. But it’s very sad to think that I won’t spend my mornings hanging off the back of a moto. I’ll have to console myself with a fat American hamburger – thats right – its time to leave the chicken and rice behind, if only for a while!

– Kathryn