Saha On the Road!

It’s that time of year again – The leaves are changing, the weather is getting cooler, and students are headed back to school. Yup, it’s fall, one of our favorite seasons here at Saha Global because it means that it is time for us to hit the road and spread the word about our Global Leadership Program! Over the next couple of months, the Saha Team is going to be speaking all over the US. Check out our schedule below and come on down to an info session near you to learn about how you can join us in Ghana this winter as a Saha Field Rep. Make sure to check back – we are constantly updating this list by adding new schools and presentations.

Don’t see your school on this list? Contact or join us for a virtual info session.

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Online Info SessionWed Sept 2 @ 6 pm EST

University of Illinois at Urbana ChampagneInSPIRE Club Meeting with alumni Cassie Arenz: Thurs Sept 3 @ 7 pm, 305 MSEB

Online Info SessionWed Sept 9 @ 7 pm EST

Georgetown University Info Session: Tues Sept 15 @ 7 pm, Cawley Career Center

USC Info Session: Tues Sept 15th @ 6 pm, ACC 310

Online Info Session: Wed Sept 16th @ 5pm EST

University of Virginia Info Session: Thurs Sept 17th @ 5 pm, Newcomb Hall Conference Room 389

Virginia Tech Info Session: Thurs Sept 17th @ 5 pm, Location TBD

UVA Center For Global Health Symposium KeynoteFri Sept 18th @ 12 pm, Minor Hall, “Global Health Passion and Profession”

Bates Info Session: Mon Sept 21st @ 12:15 pm, Commons 211

Online Info Session: Wed Sept 23rd @ 8pm EST

Colby Info Session: Mon Sept 28th @ 5pm, Location TBD

Online Info Session: Wed Sept 30th

St. Joseph’s University Info Session: Thurs Oct 1st @ 11 am, Campion (Sunroom #2)

University of Pennsylvania Info Session: Thurs Oct 1st @ 6 pm, Wharton School – Jon M. Huntsman Hall – Room G-90

George Washington University Info Session: Tues Oct 6 @ 12 pm, Location TBD

Skidmore Info Session: Tues Oct 6 @ 5 pm, Location TBD

Online Info Session: Wed Oct 7th

Lehigh Classroom Session: Thurs Oct 8th

Middlebury Info Session: Thurs Oct 8th @ 6 pm, McCardell Bicentennial Hall 104

Clark Info Session: Wed Oct 14th at 1:30 pm, Location TBD

BC Class Discussion: Thurs Oct 15th @ 1 pm with Fr. Jim Weiss

Tufts Engineers Without Borders Meeting: Tues Oct 13th at 9 pm, Anderson Hall 2nd Floor

Online Info Session: Wed Oct 14th @ 8pm EST

Online Info Session: Wed Oct 21st @ 6pm EST

MIT e4Dev Club Meeting: Tues Oct 27th at 5:30 pm, Location TBD

Boston University Info Session: Wed Oct 28th at 4 pm, Location TBD

*LAST* Online Info Session: Wed Oct 28th



May and July Monitoring Reports

As many of you know, we hosted our Summer Global Leadership Program in Ghana this June. During that time, Peter, our Director of Ghana Programming, was in charge of monitoring ALL of Saha’s water and solar businesses on his own. He did a great job of troubleshooting and making sure our entrepreneurs had support during the month, but we were unable to record consistent data. For that reason, we are skipping our June monitoring update and moving right from May to June. Below are the monthly summaries for both months. The July report only shows data from the last week of July, while May shows 4 weeks worth of data.

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Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 10.25.05 AMVillages Visited

May Week 1: Janakpeng, Gbrama, Manguli 2, Sakpalua, Voguyili, Kpenchila, Wuvogumani, Wuvogu, Moya ,Takpuli, Nyamaliga, Cheeko, Kpanshegu, Kudula, Jarigu, Sakpbarigu, Tijo, Tindan,NamduII, NamduI, Gundaa, Kasuliyili, Kpachiyili, Manguli, Buhijaa, Djello, Kabal, Kalinka, Tohanaayili, Nekpegu, Gbandu, Garizegu, Bogu, Kuldanali/Yapalsi, Wambong, Galinzegu, Kurukuvohayayili, Balampuso, Jangbarigiyili, Chanyili, Kpalung, Laligu, Yapalsi, Libi, Gbung, kabarashe,Sabongida, Kabache 1, Kabache 2, Kideng and Tunga.

July Weeks 1 & 2: Sabonjida, Original Kabache, Indigenous kabache, Kideng, Tunga, Kpalbusi,Gidanturu, Chanaayili, Jarayili, Wambong, Kuruguvuhuyayili, Kpalyn, Laligu, Yepalsi, Changyili, Jangbarigiyili, Yekura, Jabayili, Zanzugu yepala, Galinzegu, Zanzugu, Yapie yepala, Komlanyili, Kpanshegu, Takpili, Yepala, Chani, Jarigu, Cheko, Manguli II, Gbrama, Bamvim, Djelo, Manguli, Buhijaa, Bogu,  Tindan II, Kuldanali, Gbandu, Gariezegu,Kagbal, Gurumanchayili, Dundo, Kpaliga, Kpachiyili, Kasulyili, Tindan, Chandanyili, Tindan, Tijo, Kpalguni, Jabayili, Sagbragu, Namdu, Namdu II, Warvi.

July Week 3: Libi, Kagburashe, Jarayili, Tunga, Kideng, Original kabache, Indigenous kabache, Kpalbusi, Laligu, Kpalyn
Yapalsi, Wambong, Kuruguvuhuyayili, Galinzegu, Zanzugu, Yakura, Jabayili, Zanzugu yepala, Yapie yapela, Chandanyili, Kpalguni, Jagberin, Namdu I, Namdu II, Warvi, Jarigu, Cheko, Nyamalga, Manguli II, Janakpeng, Gbruma, Komlanyili, Bamvim, Kpansheg, Kalinka, Nekpegu , Tohinayili, Kuldanali, Kagbal, Bogu, Tindan II, Voughyili, Moya, and Kulaa.

July Week 4: Kideng, Tunga, Chanaayili, Sabonjida, Original kabache, Indigenous kabache, Kpalbusi, Gidanturu, Kushini, Yakura, Jabayili, Zanzugu, Balomposo, Changyili, Jangbarigiyili, Wambong , Kuruguvuhuyayili, Laligu, Kpalyn, Yepalsi, Kpaliga, Kasulyili, Kpachiyili, Tijo, Tindan, Kpalguni, Sagbragu, Jagberin, Chandanyili, Warvi, Namdu I, Namdu II, Kpenchila, Sakpalua, Yepala
Kpanshegu, Cheko, Komlanyili, Jarigu, Chani, Manguli, Gbruma, Kalinka, Tohinayili, Nekpegu, Manguli, Buhijaa, Djelo, Kuldanali, Bogu, Tindan, Gurumanchayili, Dundo, Kagbal, Gbandu.

Success Stories

The biggest success stories from May and July all have to do with the RAIN! After months of waiting, the rainy season finally arrived. The rain started slowly in May, but it rained frequently enough to fill many of the dry dugouts. By July, the rains were here in full force, filling all of the remaining dry dugouts! Of course, with the rain also comes some challenges. Sales often slow during the rainy season as many families collect rainwater to drink. But, at Saha we really view this as a positive thing. Families are able to access clean drinking water for free. As long as they harvest it directly into their safe storage container, they can prevent re-contamination and have safe water for their family. Some water businesses, like the one in Gburma, move the water treatment centers to town and collect rainwater from a tin roof. They then treat it with chlorine to keep it clean in the polytank. But, many business just adjust their schedules to make up for the slower sales and know that when the rains end, business will pick up again. Our Saha team takes samples of the rainwater from people’s homes to ensure that they are collecting and storing it correctly and truly drinking safe water.

In July, our Ghana team decided that Gbandu, Chandanyili, Garizegu and Kpanayili were all ready to graduate and become “independent villages.” This means that the water businesses in these communities have been running smoothly for years and that the women entrepreneurs are able to handle any issues that arise. Saha only visits independent communities once a month to check in with the women. Ghandu and Garizegu were ready to graduate because they now have running pipes in their communities, that provide clean water to the town. As we mentioned in April, the women keep treated water in the polytanks for the days when the government turns off the pipes. The entrepreneurs in these communities handled the transition to piped water so well, we knew they were ready to be independent.  Chadanyili and Kpanayili also mastered big transitions: the change in season from dry to rainy. This was not the first seasonal transition for either community and the entrepreneurs dealt with issues like dried dugouts and rainwater collection so well this year, we knew that they were also good candidates to become independent. Congratulations ladies!

In solar news, we had a lot of success in May and July. Shanka, Zelia, and Rahi from Djelo opened a bank account in July! Since we added 7 new solar businesses in June, the % of solar entrepreneurs with bank accounts listed in the chart above decreased, but the number of communities with bank accounts is increasing! We are so proud of the entrepreneurs from Djelo for taking this big step!


716b47e81fa407be711e094e045bf256In Sakpalua, Tawa used some of her profits to pay her daughter’s school fees. The rest of the women reported that they plan to purchase additional land to farm on this year. In Kpenchila, the entrepreneurs used some of their profits to buy more cell phone charges for the solar center so people who lost theirs can still come charge. In Takpuli, the ladies bought shea nuts with their profits and plan to sell shea butter to make even more money!

Perhaps the biggest solar success story, however, was from Yapalsi. In June, Yapalsi received electricity from the government. Now all of the homes in the community are hooked up to the grid! Now, this may seem like a challenge for the solar business, however, Sanatu and Asheitu are smart entrepreneurs and are already planning their next venture! They are going to use the money that they saved over the past year of running the solar center to start a grinding mill in the center of town. They are also keeping their solar business running for the days when there are blackouts (which are frequent in Ghana), but they are very excited to add a grinding mill to the solar center as a new source of revenue!


Luckily, there were no major challenges in May and July. In early May, many dugouts were still dry, but by July every dugout was full of rainwater. As we mentioned above, most water businesses have low sales through the rainy season, but people have access to clean drinking water, which is the number one goal of Saha Global. The entrepreneurs are able to adjust their schedules to make up for the slower season and they all know that sales will pick up when the rains slow.  There were a few leaky polytanks, but all were easily fixed. In Kuula, the dugout has been expanded and now it’s too steep for the women to carry water up to the location of the water treatment center. They are going to move their center to a new location and change out their cement polytank stand for a metal one so that its easier to move in the future.

Below are some more pictures from monitoring in May and July:



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Meet Our Entrepreneurs: Damu from Sakpalua

Sakpalua- DamuDamu hails from Kpalbe. When she was in her teens, Damu  went to live with her aunt in Sakpalua where she later got married and now lives. Damu has two sons and 9 grandchildren!

The water treatment center in Sakpalua was implemented in April 2012 thanks to the help of Fall Field Reps Nick, Rich, Colleen and Chelsea. Damu was selected as one of the women to run the business. A part from running the water business Damu also farms groundnuts and cowpea, an indigenious legume. “I was happy to be part of the process for my community to get safe clean drinking water,” Damu told Saha manager, Eric.

In April of 2014 Kate, Saha’s Executive Director, and Sam, Saha’s Director of Operations, approached Sakpalua about implementing a solar charging business to give source of electricity to the entire community. Sakpalua’s charging business was a one of the pilots for the new solar project and was Saha’s third solar business to open. “I was excited to later be brought solar. Now our kids can read at night and all the compounds have lights when it is dark. I am proud of that,” Damu said.

Since the solar business has been implemented, Damu runs the water and solar businesses with three other women in the community so that they are all able to still tend to their farms.

Headed to Peru & Nicaragua!

This Sunday, Executive Director, Kate Clopeck, and Director of Operations, Sam Reilley, are packing up and heading out on a 14 day scouting trip to Nicaragua and Peru!Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 10.23.39 AM

We have been researching these areas since February and are extremely excited to finally travel to the remote communities in these three regions to see which would be the best fit for the work that we do. We will start our two-week journey in Peru where will visit the area surrounding Pulcallpa and Iquitos. Next we will fly to Nicaragua where we will spend most of our time in the Northeast corner of the country to visit the area surrounding Puerto Cabezas.

The goal of this trip is to meet with potential partners and figure out if the need for drinking water and electricity in these rural areas is a good match for Saha’s community-level solution. We will sit down with community leaders in rural communities to identify things like their current sources of water and electricity (if any), the community structure, gender relations, the local economy/market, etc. We will also be meeting with a number of organizations who have been working in these regions for years. Hopefully these new partners will help us gain an understanding of what living and working in the area is like, since we will only be in each location for a few days.

From the jungle of the Amazon River to the Northeastern coast of Nicaragua we are sure to have quite the adventure! Check back next week for updates from our trip!

Meet Our Field Reps: Brianan Kiernan

Brianán talks to water business owner Ma'Fulera about center sales in Kalinka.
Brianán talks to water business owner Ma’Fulera about center sales in Kalinka.


My sophomore year at Boston College I read “Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus,” a book about how Yunus founded Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. A bank that gives loans to poor people, predominantly women, to enable people to be their own change-makers. I read this book and thought this is what I want to do with my life. I want to work in microfinance.

About a year later, I went to an information session about the Saha Global Leadership Program. I was enthralled. The Saha model was similar to microfinance in that the micro-capital for a business is donated to women. But the Saha model seemed to go beyond just the money. Setting up a water business would bring a village clean water. I knew I had to be apart of this!

That winter 2011-2012, I traveled to Tamale, Ghana and implemented a water business in Kpachiyili. I was most impacted by working with Mariama and Azara, the two women who were elected to run the business. They live hard lives but are still resilient. My biggest take-away from the program was not to underestimate people. People can be their own change-makers.

In June 2012, I moved to Tamale, Ghana to work as the Ghana Country Director with Saha Global. I lived and worked in Ghana with Saha Global until August 2014. My most memorable day in Ghana was my third day on the job. I was out on the “motos” with Wahab monitoring the Tolon district Saha communities. We were caught in this massive, end of the world rainstorm. The streets of Tamale were flooded. We had to take shelter from the rain for several hours. We were so cold! Hot tea never tasted so sweet. I will never forget that day.

After living in Ghana and spending time with the Saha women business owners, I knew that I wanted to continue to work with women. I wanted to learn more about public health in low and middle-income countries. Time and time again the Saha staff and I witnessed and experienced health challenges such as lack of transport, high costs, lack of training, accessibility, lack of human resources, lack of supplies. The list goes on. I wanted to learn more about what is being done and what can be done to strengthen health systems in low and middle-income countries.

I am currently living in Dublin, Ireland where I am getting my Masters in Global Health at the Center for Global Health at Trinity College. Upon graduation, I hope to continue my career in project management within the global health sector.

Want to learn more about Brianan’s experience or have any specific questions? Feel free to email her at Also take a look at what she’s up to now!