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Meet the Saha Team: Gbandan Francis (Blessing)

Blessing attends the 2021 Mole Conference

Meet Blessing: Saha’s dedicated government liaison.  He works with Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies, regional governments, and government entities such as the Community Water and Sanitation Agency on behalf of Saha.  He ensures that we are properly registered in each district in which we work, introduces Saha’s work to new districts, and builds partnerships and maintains relationships with government partners.  Most of this work happens behind the scenes, but it is absolutely essential to Saha’s work and sustainability.

Blessing grew up in Tamale and attended high school in Salaga.  After senior high school, while preparing for his exams, Blessing worked as a “man with many hats” at WASHPOT – managing a supermarket, a pharmacy, and a drinking spot.  That’s where he met (now Deputy Director) Kathryn and her partner Redgie, and later (then Country Manager) Brianan, and became football-watching friends.  At first, when Saha needed part-time translators for the Global Leadership Program (GLP), Blessing wasn’t free – he had to prepare for exams, and couldn’t quit his job just for a 3-week program. He got the call again in 2014, and since he was planning to start university that year, he decided to take the leap.  During training, Blessing vividly remembers visiting the rural villages for the first time – he hadn’t been to places like that before, and his eyes were opened to how much development was needed in some places.  His first GLP village implementation was in Original Kabache in Salaga.  He describes that first team as great, and still counts them as friends.

Throughout his years studying at University for Development Studies (UDS), Blessing would occasionally translate for the GLP programs – filling in as needed for other people, and in 2017 completed a full implementation in Darivoguyili.  Also in 2017, Blessing interned for Saha’s new Research and Development team, staying overnight for two to three days in different communities to observe individuals’ water consumption.  When he graduated university in 2018, Saha made sure to snag him for the compulsory National Service Year.  That is when Blessing started doing the government liaising work full-time and he’s since become one of our best travelled teammates – visiting all our district and regional partners multiple times a year and bringing different government officials to visit Saha projects.

Translating during a GLP Program
Using 3M tests to explain the hazards of drinking dugout water

Blessing’s favorite thing about working at Saha is first and foremost the project itself – he identifies strongly with Saha’s mission to get clean water to rural communities.  Second, he appreciates how supportive Saha has been to him over the years – this is a culture he attributes to coming straight from Kate at the top. Currently, Blessing is balancing his Saha work with pursuing his master’s in Development Education from UDS and staying on top of every match from Manchester City.

Saha would not be able to do the work it does without our people!  We appreciate Blessing for all his many roles over the years with Saha and we are so proud he is a part of our ambitious clean water mission.

Blessing and his first GLP team celebrate the water business at Original Kabache

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