February was the first month that our Ghana team officially switched over to our new monitoring procedures. Below is the monthly monitoring summary for February:
I was happy to see that our usage rate (the % of households with clean water in their safe storage container when one of our team members stopped by) was 73%. Over the past 7 years, our average has been right around 75%, so right off the bat I could see that February was a pretty typical month (we are constantly striving to get this number up, mostly through education campaigns in our partner-villages, but at the same time, we are also constantly adding new communities). Keep in mind, just because there isn’t clean water in someone’s safe storage container, does not mean that there is contaminated water in there! Usually, the bucket is just empty. Some families may have just finished their water and haven’t had a chance to re-fill. However, for some it is because they aren’t frequently filling.
The “Clean Water Used” stat is calculated from the number of Aquatabs that the women reported having used each week. Each Aquatab treats 200L of water, so we just multiply the reported number by 200.
The “Clean Water Sold” stat is calculated from the number of Aquatabs that the women bought each week. This number differs from the clean water used because the entrepreneurs don’t always buy the same number of Aquatabs they use. Some women buy in bulk one month and slowly use the tablets over time, before making another big purchase a few months later. Others may use 2 in a week but then buy 3 or 4 to replenish their pile. Each business owner works out their own system.
The “Number of Lanterns Sold” indicates how many lanterns the solar business owners have sold to members of their community. During implementation, each family receives 1 lantern for 1 GHC, and they can buy more at market-rate if they would like. The women buy the lanterns from Saha at cost and then choose to mark up the prices as much as they would like. Unfortunately, over the last couple of months, our lantern supplier has increased the price of the lanterns dramatically, so the ladies haven’t been making many sales recently. Lantern sales used to be a big moneymaker for the solar entrepreneurs.
The “Average Solar Business Earnings” is the total earnings (730 GHS) divided by the number of villages visited. This month, our team only made it to 7 out of the 8 businesses. All revenue is reported in GHC.
Below is an example of the weekly data table that Wahab fills out, based on the information that our team collects in the field. You can access the actual excel files here – each week has it’s own tab, with the monthly data summarized at the end.
Remember, should you need to compare any excel files, you could always use this free excel compare tool. There were no big issues in our communities this month. Little things like leaky poly tanks sprung up here and there, but those small issues are easily solved. Some communities, like Wambong, reported slow water sales, but our team was able to work with the community and the entrepreneurs to get back on track (see the last photo below). The biggest challenge this month was getting our team back on track with their new monitoring schedule after the Winter Global Leadership Program. As I mentioned earlier we only made it to 7 solar communities in February. Since most of our solar businesses are less than a year old, each community should have been visited 3-4 times this month. After receiving the week 3 report from Wahab, I noticed this problem right away and discussed the issue with our Operations Manager, Shak, during our weekly check-in. Shak and the rest of the team then discussed their new schedules during their next staff meeting and were able to figure out how to re-arrange their weeks to make sure new communities were getting visited more frequently!
Below are some pictures from the Field from February! Stay tuned tomorrow for our March monitoring report!
PS – remember, for monitoring reports from before 2015, visit our old site here.