Blog

Updated March Campus Tour Schedule!

What an eventful month of February! It was such a blast running around to different universities to talk to more students about how they can get involved. Take a look and see where will be this March to learn more about the fellowship program and meet past fellows!

Monday March 3rd Georgia Tech Engineers Without Borders Meeting, Location: TBD

Monday March 3rd 5:00pm George Washington University Info Session in Ross Hall, Room 116A

Tuesday March 4th Georgia Tech Engineers World Health Meeting, Location: TBD

Tuesday March 4th West Virginia University Info Session Mountain Lair, Blackwater Room

Tuesday March 11th 4:30pm Goucher College Chemistry Club Meeting, Location: TBD

Tuesday March 11th 7:00pm Goucher College International Student Association Meeting in the Welsh Piano Room

Wednesday March 12th 7:30pm St. Mary’s College of Maryland Amnesty International Club Meeting, Location: TBD

Wednesday March 12th at 8:15pm St.Mary’s College of Maryland Sociology Club Meeting, Location: TBD

Thursday March 13th 6:00pm University of Maryland, Global Health Planning Class in SGUMD Bldg lll Room 5129

Tuesday March 18th 3:00pm MIT Drinking Water Treatment in Developing Countries Class, E25-116

Wednesday March 26th 5:00pm Loyola University of Maryland Info Session, Location: TBD

Don’t see your school on the list and would love to host CWS on your campus?

Contact Sam at sreilley@communitywatersolutions.org to set it up! 

Although applications for the Summer Program are due on March 21st, we are accepting Fellows on a rolling basis and the program is filling up fast! Early applicants not only have a better chance of securing a spot in the program, but they also have more time to fundraise their Fellowship Fee. Apply now!

Want to learn more about Community Water Solutions? Follow us on Instagram and Facebook! We update both accounts daily with pictures from the field and other updates from Ghana. You can also learn more about the Fellowship by reading this FAQ.

Campus Tour Schedule

We are so excited to announce our campus tour schedule for this semester! For the first time ever, CWS’ Director of Operations, Sam Reilley, will be heading out to California to reach out to students on the West Coast! We are so excited to share more about our work and to get more awesome students involved in the fellowship program!

Tuesday Feb.11th 10:30am MIT, DLab Class, Rm 1-138

Thursday Feb.13th Saint Lawrence University, Location: TBD

Thursday Feb.13th 1:00pm Goucher College Nonprofits class

Thursday Feb.13th 7:00pm Clark College Global Health Info Session, Sackler S121

Thursday Feb.13th 8:00pm Clark College Amnesty International Meeting, Sackler 122

Monday Feb.17th 5:00pm Skidmore College Info Session, Emerson Auditorium

Tuesday Feb. 18th 11:00am St. Joseph’s University Info Session, Barbelin Room 306

Tuesday Feb.18th 4:00pm University of Maryland class, Location: TBD

Wednesday Feb. 19th 12pm University of Pennsylvania Lunch Presentation hosted by the Wharton Social Impact Club, Location: TBD

Wednesday Feb.19th 4:15pm Pitzer College Info Session, Avery 226

Wednesday Feb.19th 3:00pm University of Pennsylvania Info Session, Stiteler Hall, Classroom B21

Wednesday Feb.19th 5:30pm Sewanee: The University of the South Info Session, Spencer 173

Wednesday Feb.19th 8:00pm University of Pennsylvania Engineers without Borders Meeting, John Hunstman Hall

Thursday Feb. 20th 11:00am Waterworks Museum Boston, MA

Thursday Feb. 20th 5:00pm Occidental College Info Session in Johnson Hall 302

Thursday Feb.20th 7:00pm Brown University Info Session, Sayles Hall 105

Monday Feb. 24th 11am Fairfield University Economic Development Class, Location: TBD

Monday Feb. 24th 12:30pm University of Pacific Info Session, Raymond Lodge 2nd floor Conference Room

Monday Feb.24th 5:00pm Sonoma State University Model UN Club Meeting, Student Center, Erin Fisher Room

Tuesday Feb. 25th 2:30pm Fairfield University Info Session, the Kelley Center

Tuesday Feb. 25th 4:00pm University of Southern California Info Session, ACC 312

Tuesday Feb.25th 8:45 am Fairfield University Environmental Science Class, 332 Bannow Science Center

Wednesday Feb.26th Claremont McKenna College Social Enterprise Initiatives Meeting, Location: TBD

Monday March 3rd Georgia Tech Engineers Without Borders Meeting, Location: TBD

Monday March 3rd 5:00pm George Washington University Info Session in Ross Hall, Room 116A

Tuesday March 4th Georgia Tech Engineers World Health Meeting, Location: TBD

Tuesday March 4th West Virginia University Info Session Mountain Lair, Blackwater Room

Tuesday March 18th 3pm MIT Drinking Water Treatment in Developing Countries Class, E25-116

Don’t see your school on the list and would love to host CWS on your campus?

Contact Sam at sreilley@communitywatersolutions.org to set it up!

Although applications for the Summer Program are due on March 21st, we are accepting Fellows on a rolling basis and the program is filling up fast! Early applicants not only have a better chance of securing a spot in the program, but they also have more time to fundraise their Fellowship Fee. Apply now!

Want to learn more about Community Water Solutions? Follow us on Instagram and Facebook! We update both accounts daily with pictures from the field and other updates from Ghana. You can also learn more about the Fellowship by reading this FAQ.

Problem Solving with Water Business Owners leads to Sustainability

At the CWS Ghana office in Tamale, the field staff and I talk about “problem villages”. These are CWS partnership communities that need help troubleshooting issues at their water businesses. The issues range in severity as the problems could be anything from the entrepreneurs having low sales because community members are busy on their farms. In this case, the use of Sales Tips could come in handy here, to improve sales and push customer expectations. On the other hand, it could also range to something as far fetched as a community believing there is a baby who comes out at night and puts evil spirits in to the polytank (this actually happened in the village of Tunga).

Let’s rewind to exactly 1 year ago and take a look at the project summaries for the communities Gbung, Jerigu and Galinzegu. This time last year the staff deemed these communities to be “problem villages”.

Jerigu- Al Hassan
Al Hassan – water business entrepreneur in Jerigu

January 4, 2013 – Jerigu. The polytank was empty. Al Hassan’s wife said her husband is busy which is why he hasn’t been treating water. He also ran out of Aquatabs (chlorine tabelts) and did not buy more until a few weeks too late. Beginning of February 2013, community members in Jerigu complain they never know when the center has water because Al Hassan is not around.

January 8, 2013 – Gbung – Wahab went to Gbung and saw the water business was empty. He went and spoke to Fati and Amina who reported they are trying to move the polytank from the market back to the dugout. Later in January, Amina said they are paying donkeys to come fill the blue drums in the market with water for 3 GHC ($1.50)! She needs to increase her price of water to make up for this added cost.

Donkey seller

January 18, 2013 – Galinzegu – Amina’s polytank has been leaking, so the water she treated had dripped out. She lost 3 Aquatabs worth of water. Two weeks later in February 2013, Amina ran out of alum and had not planned to buy more, and then had to travel for a funeral before she could treat water. The center was empty during this time.

 

 

 

Gbung-Amina
Amina (top) and Fati (bottom) from Gbung Gbung-Fati

One year later, these communities have all made progress. CWS staff members would even say Jerigu, Gbung and Galinzegu are currently three of the highest performing water businesses.

In Jerigu, Peter recently reported visiting the water business early one morning and monitored sales for 16 households that came out to buy water! Household visit results from January 2014 were: 10 out of 12 households visited had clean water in their safe storage containers, which is 83% and well above CWS household visit average!

Gbung also showed improvements since last year. On February 3, 2014, Amina and Fati said that sales are going well, people come to buy water whenever they run out. They have kept their center at the market and community members pay 20 pesewas ($.10) per 20 L of water.

In Galinzegu, Amina has added Massamata to her water business team. When one of them travels, the other will be there to treat water. Massamata told CWS staff in January 2014 that she is always treating and selling water. Households told field staffer Shak that they no longer have stomach pains or diarrhea because they drink the clean water!

Monitoring Sales with Amina
Monitoring sales with Amina in Galinzegu!
Galinzegu Amina
Amina treats water by the dugout in Galinzegu
Galinzegu - Massamata
Water business owner Massamata from Galinzegu

Business is not always easy for the CWS entrepreneurs but monitoring helps. By frequently visiting the water businesses, the CWS field staff is able to consult the entrepreneurs and give them business strategy. For example the strategies used in Jerigu, Gbung and Galinzegu: having a CWS field staffer come to monitor sales, discussing a price increase of water to make up for added treatment costs, or encouraging the community to have at least two women running the water treatment center at all times, are just a few of many ideas given to the entrepreneurs. In the future, CWS hopes the business owners will be able to make these decisions on their own by learning from experience. Through the use of monitoring and meeting with the entrepreneurs to work through issues in these “problem villages”, CWS is ensuring that the water businesses will be sustainable and independent in the long run.

-Brianán

Entrepreneurs in Wambong open Rural Bank Account!

Abiba & Salima matching
Abiba and Salima outside of Bonzali Rural Bank with their first deposit slip! 

What an exciting day it has been at the CWS Ghana office! This morning Shak and I accompanied Abiba and Salima, water and solar center entrepreneurs from Wambong, to open their first bank account!

Since the solar center opened in October 2013, Abiba and Salima have been saving up their profits from mostly cell phone charge sales. They want to save their money in the bank to prevent theft, to acquire savings interest, to have money in the bank in case anything breaks at the solar center and in their own words, “to save for something big”.

 

 

Salima & Shak
Abiba - bank helper Salima and Shak (top picture) — Abiba fills out bank account application with Bonzali Rural Bank employee (bottom picture)

After doing some rural banking research, Peter, Shak and I decided that Bonzali Rural Bank would be the best fit for Abiba and Salima. They have a bank branch at the University of Development Studies in Nyankpala, which is close and accessible to the women from Wambong. The bank conducts business in English and Dagbani and has employees help illiterate customers fill out deposit or withdrawal slips, which means Abiba and Salima can go to the bank on their own.

We are so proud and excited for Abiba and Salima and hope to help more entrepreneurs open bank accounts in the future!

-Brianán

Abiba:Salima passport

               Bonzali Rural Bank