May Monitoring Report

May Monitoring Screenshot

Villages visited:

 Week 1:

 Gbung, Chongashe, Libi, Jarayili, Kushini, Kpalbusi, Gidanturu, Chanaayili, Original Kabache, Indigenous Kabache, Kideng, Tunga, Laligu, Kpalyn, Yepalsi, Jangbarigiyili, , Zanzugu, Zanzugu Yepala, Changyili, Balomposo, Tijo, Tindan I, Kpalguni I, Chandanyili, Jagberin, Sagbaragu, Gundaa, Namdu I, Namdu II, Warvi, Kpaliga, Chihigu, Galinkpegu, Naha, Cheshagu, Futa, Kpalguni II, Wovugumani, Wovugu, Manguli II, Janakpen, Gbruma, Takpili, Chani, Cheko, Kpanshegu, Komlanyili, Yepala, Bamvim, Kpenchila, Komonaayili, Kulaa, Moya, Kudula, Voghyili, Djelo, Manguli I, Kuldanali, Bogu, Tindan II, Nekpegu, Kalinka, Tohinayili, Gurumanchayili, Gbandu.


Week 2:

 Sabonjida, Tunga, Kideng, Chanaayili, Gidanturu, Kpalbusi, Jarayili, Gbung, Libi, Chongashe, Kushini, Kpalyn, Yepalsi, Laligu, Zanzugu, Zanzugu Yepala, Yakuru, Jabayili, Wambong, Garizegu, Changyili, Jangbarigiyili, Balomposo, Warvi, Chihigu, Cheshagu, Galinkpegu, Naha, Tindan I, Tijo, Sagbarigu, Jagberin, Chandanyili, Kpalguni, Namdu I, Namdu II, Gundaa, Tapkli, Chani, Cheko, Nyamalga, Jarigu, Komlanyili, Yepala, Kpanshegu, Bamvim, Kpenchila, Sakpalua, Kudula, Vogyili, Dundo, Gurumanchayili, Djelo, Buhijaa, Manguli I, Moya, Kulaa, Tohinaayili, Nekpegu, Kalinka.


Week 3:

 Gidanturu, Kushini, Libi, Jarayili, Chanaayili, Chongashe, Tunga, Kideng, Original Kabache, Indigenous Kabache, Balomposo, Galizengu, Yakuru, Kpalyn, Laligu, Wambong, Kuruguvuhuyayili, Kagbal, Changyili, Jangbarigiyili, Namdu I, Namdu II, Gundaa, Warvi, Chihigu, Naha, Kpachiyili, Kpaliga, Sagbarigu, Kpalguni I, Chandanyili, Jagberin, Tijo, Tindan I, Jarigu, Nyamalga, Cheko, Chani, Tapkli, Komlanyili, Yepala, Futa, Kpalguni II, Kpenchila, Bamvim, Kpanshegu, Manguli I, Buhijaa, Djelo, Vogyili, Kudula, Kulaa, Moya, Kpanayili, Gbandu, Garizegu, Gurumanchayili, Bogu, Tindan II, Kuldanali.

Week 4:


Gbung, Libi, Jarayili, Kpalbusi, Gidanturu, Chanaayili, Kushini, Chongashe, Kideng, Tunga, Sabonjida, Zanzugu, Zanzugu Yepala, Jangbarigiyili, Jabayili, Yakura, Galizengu, Balomposo, Changyili, Yepala, Kpalung, Laligu, Kagbal, Kpalguni, Chandanyili, Jagberin, Sagbarigu, Tijo, Tindan, Warvi, Chihigu, Cheshagu, Kpachiyili, Namdu, Namdu II, Bamvim, Kpanshegu, Yepala, Jarigu, Komlanyili, Chani, Cheko, Kpalguni II, Futa, Gburma, Janakpen, Jarigu, Wovugumani, Wovugu, Kpanayili, Kalinka, Nekpegu, Tohinaayili, Komonaayili, Kulaa, Kudula, Vogyili, Moya, Tindan II, Bogu, Kuldanali, Buhijaa, Djelo.


 We are happy to report that, once again, 80% of our households had clean water in their safe storage containers. We are very excited about this number and look forward to seeing it increase further! This month, there were a number of communities with high water sales. These villages include: Nekpegu, Chihigu, Vogyili, Kagbal, Balomposo, Wambong, Galinkpegu, Kideng, Gidanturu, Futa and Komonaayili. We are especially impressed with Chihigu, Galinkpegu, Futa, and Kombonaayili because they were recently implemented this past winter. Two of our solar communitites, Chandanyili and Wambong, had high solar sales this month. Although they don’t currently have bank accounts, Sagbarigu, Chadanyili, Kpalguni, Gundaa, Namdu I and Namdu II plan on opening bank accounts very soon!


Although some communities have received rain, the following communities still have very low dugouts: Djelo, Buhijaa Tindan I, and Chandanyili. When the dugouts fill back up, women entrepreneurs are encouraged to inform their community that their centers are regularly running again. This month, Namdu II, Kuldanali, Manguli II, and Djelo had polytank issued that were fixed by our full time staff. Most polytank issues are leaks from the tap, which can be fixed with new parts or just glue and tape! Additionally, Gundaa’s solar center had a leak in the roof that had to be immediately fixed and Jangbarigiyili experienced loose wires after a storm that were fixed with the help of our full time staff. Sagbarigu informed Wahab that they were not given any spare batteries after implementation of their solar business. Businesses are given 10% extra batteries for their solar centers to use as others are charging. Wahab plans to bring these to the women entrepreneurs as soon as possible.




Sanatu makes sales in Kpenchilla. The polytank was leaking but Eric helped fix the problem
Sanatu makes sales in Vogyili.


"Sun was scortching, so I brought the polytank under some shade to fix" - Eric in Kpenchila
“Sun was scorching, so I brought the polytank under some shade to fix” – Eric in Kpenchila


"Bought some aquatabs" - Eric monitors
“Ramatu bought some aquatabs” – Eric monitors Nekpegu
Scooping water to treat for sales in Kpaligini
Scooping water to treat for sales in Kpaligini


"Drinking some clean water and feeling refreshed" - from Eric, monitoring
“Drinking some clean water and feeling refreshed” – from Eric, monitoring


The community of Vogyili reinforces their dugout in the hope that it will hold more water this rainy season (background). In the foreground, kids pose with Eric
The community of Vogyili reinforces their dugout in the hope that it will hold more water this rainy season (background). In the foreground, kids pose with Eric
Solar center in Sakpalua
Solar center in Sakpalua , run by Damu (above and below)



"Tindan I water is running very low pray for rain to come" - Wahab in Tindan I
“Tindan I water is running very low pray for rain to come” – Wahab in Tindan I
Arishetu and Dahiyatu, entrepreneurs in Tindan I
Arishetu and Dahiyatu, entrepreneurs in Tindan I


Household visit in Tindan I, as Wahab monitors there
Household visit in Tindan I, as Wahab monitors there


"This family said they are happy to have a access to clean water at the community" - Wahab monitors in Naha
“This family said they are happy to have a access to clean water at the community” – Wahab monitors in Naha


"Household monitoring, though this house was my favorite household on this day. I found out that they have six safe storage containers in the house" - Wahab monitors at Galikpegu
“Household monitoring, though this house was my favorite household on this day. I found out that they have six safe storage containers in the house” – Wahab monitors at Galikpegu


A new compound in Galinkepgu. Wahab, who monitors here, gave the family a safe storage container so that they could start purchasing clean water from the treatment center
A new compound in Galinkepgu. Wahab, who monitors here, gave the family a safe storage container so that they could start purchasing clean water from the treatment center.


"Household vist" - Wahab monitors
“Household vist” – Wahab monitors
“I found dugout water in someone’s bucket at Galikpegu” – Saha’s policy is that safe storage containers can only be used for safe drinking water, so if our staff comes across dugout water while monitoring, the family needs to dump it out and wash the container thoroughly if they are interested in continuing to use it for clean water. This is what the long-term challenges of behavior change look like!


"Household visit with a full bucket of clean water"
“Household visit with a full bucket of clean water”


"This family is being doing good making sure they have enough clean water in the house so that those who come to their house would not drink dugout water by accident" - Wahab montiors Gundaa
“This family is being doing good making sure they have enough clean water in the house so that those who come to their house would not drink dugout water by accident” – Wahab monitors Gundaa




Sometimes figuring out the water-proof backing to these lanterns can be tricky!
Sometimes figuring out the water-proof backing to these lanterns can be tricky!


Amin arrives for sales at Futa
Amin arrives for sales at Futa


Household visits in Chanaayili - the business here was implemented in Jan 2011 and is still going strong!
Household visits in Chanaayili – the business here was implemented in Jan 2011 and is still going strong!


"Kpalbusi calling" - a photo from Peter's monitoring
“Kpalbusi calling” – a photo from Peter’s monitoring


"Today I met up with Nma Nimpaga at Komlanyili at their dugout. She was happy they now have water at their dugout so they don't have to move the center back and forth"
“Today I met up with Nma Nimpaga at Komlanyili at their dugout. She was happy they now have water at their dugout so they don’t have to move the center back and forth”
The team gathers at the Saha office for our weekly Friday meeting!
The team gathers at the Saha office for our weekly Friday meeting!


"Fati putting the batteries on charge" - from Wahab's monitoring
“Fati putting the batteries on charge” – from Wahab’s monitoring


Chihigu's new dugout after the rains
Chihigu’s new dugout after the rains


Fatima, an entrepreneur in Namdu 2, just had a new baby. Her name is Barikisu! Amarraba!
Fatima, an entrepreneur in Namdu 2, just had a new baby. Her name is Barikisu! Amarraba!


"This woman is from Chihigu and she is happy having access to clean water at the community" - from Wahab's monitoring in May
“This woman is from Chihigu and she is happy having access to clean water at the community” – from Wahab’s monitoring in May

Season Changeover Stimulates Water Business Sales

Happy customers on their way home from buying water from Amina and Massamata’s water business in Galinzegu!

The rains “are finished” as Ghanaians would say, which means CWS water treatment centers are back in business! In the rainy season, which lasts from June- October in the Northern Region of Ghana, CWS communities collect rainwater. Rainwater is plentifully and freely available in these months, so community members opt for free drinking water instead of paying the $.05 to fill their 20 L containers at the water treatment center.

200 L drums
Rainwater collected in 200 L yellow drums in the village of Gidanturi. While this water is safe for using for household chores, it is easily contaminated. People need to open the lid and dip a scooping bucket in to fetch the water. Contamination alert!

Now that the rains have stopped, the only available clean water source in CWS communities is for people to buy water from the centers. The only other water available for drinking would be stored rainwater in 200 L blue drums or clay pots (not safe for drinking), stored rainwater in cement rainwater catchment tanks (not safe for drinking), stored rainwater in hand dug wells (not safe for drinking) or dugout/stream water (definitely not safe for drinking).

While the answer seems obvious (they should go to the center!), it’s not that simple. The entrepreneurs have not been regularly treating water and the community members have not been regularly buying water. So this limbo period is always an adjustment for CWS communities. As CWS Assistant Project Manager Shak put it, ” It’s no longer raining. So this is just our biggest challenge for the next month, getting people used to buying water again. ”

Local well unsafe!
A “local well” in Kabache/Kasawuripe. This is the water the entrepreneurs have been treating in this community. It is not groundwater and is easily contaminated with human and animal waste… aka do not drink!

Behavior change isn’t easy. And that’s what CWS is focusing on in transitioning from the rainy to the dry season. Changing the entrepreneurs’ behavior so they incorporate water treatment and selling water into their daily routines and changing the consumers’ behavior, so they get used to coming to buy water.

Wahab monitoring
CWS Field staffer Wahab making household surveying look easy.

In most communities, this transition is seamless. For example, in Kpanayili where the entrepreneurs now use a metal polytank stand to move the center from the various water sources throughout the year, their water business is operating with high sales! Field staffer Wahab is in charge of the monitoring and evaluation for Kpanayili. He reported on November 20, 2013, “It was such a happy day, seeing Kpanayili’s center up and running after the rains.” Last year, community members took their sweet time transitioning back to using the center and this year, they haven’t missed a beat.

But in other communities, the transition has not been so seamless. For example, in Nyamaliga, the community relies solely on rainwater throughout the rainy season because their dugout path gets muddy and slippery. I along with the other staff can vouch for this as we’ve all taken a tumble trying to get to the dugout. Sana and Sofou who run the center refuse to treat water until the community members help them weed the path to the water treatment center, which means a few weeks of people not having access to clean drinking water. This baffles the CWS field staff because if the path is dry then the entrepreneurs should be able to access the dugout! CWS Project Manager Peter reported this week that the path was clear so there should be no delay in water treatment… as for that one we’ll have to report back next week.

Rainwater catchment tank
Rainwater catchment tank — CWS staff Amin and myself recently tested rainwater catchment tanks in Sakpalua, Djelo and Kpenchila. Almost every tank tested positive for total coliform and a few tested positive for e-coli. These tanks are hard to clean and the organizations that set them up do not return for testing or monitoring. We advise communities not to drink from them.

In Tohinaayili, the community decided to move their center to the town center during the rainy season to treat rainwater. This is Tohinaayili’s first transition from the rainy to the dry season, as CWS implemented here in the Winter of 2012-2013. While their polytank is not empty yet, the entrepreneurs have been lackadaisical to move it back to the dugout. The CWS field staff has seen this type of transition before and found that it takes a few seasons to get the hang of it.

Finally, the path to Gbateni was flooded all rainy season. The CWS staff had not been there since May! On November 20, 2013, CWS field staffers Amin and Peter were finally able to get there. They arrived at the center and it was empty, community members did not have clean water in their storage containers. The entrepreneurs were also not home so they could not figure out what was wrong. The staff will have to get back ASAP. Buhijaa and Chanaayili, villages that are also inaccessible to CWS staff during the rainy season, were up and running the entire season! Chanaayili even sent a message to Gidanturi mid rainy season requesting that CWS staff send aquatabs (chlorine tablets) with someone who was able to make it across the flooded road.

Amin to Gbateni
Amin trudges through the flooded path to Gbateni mid-rainy season.
metal pt stand
Shout out to the metal polytank stand which several communities are now using to move their water treatment centers from different water sources throughout the seasons

These seasonal transitions are a challenge for CWS every year. Each community adapts to the changing of seasons at a different pace. But the cool thing about CWS is that the field staff is with these entrepreneurs and communities throughout the process! The staff shows the entrepreneurs how to rally assemblymen, chiefs and queen mothers to get the communities back on track or even modifies the CWS technology (like the moveable metal polytank stands) so that these water businesses will be sustainable without staff help in the future!


Clear Water Doesn’t Always Mean Clean

In Kpanayili, this woman collects rainwater the right way! “She doesn’t joke with the clean water” – Peter

Two weeks ago while doing household visits with Wahab in Kpanayili, we entered the compound of a family that had a full safe storage container of clean looking water. We were delighted. “De viele, de viele” or “good, good”, Wahab and I said to Fati, the woman who showed us where her family keeps their drinking water. She smiled, shy but proud of what she had shown us. Upon further questioning, we found out; however, that while the rainwater this woman had collected in her safe storage container looked very clean, it was most likely contaminated and not suitable for drinking. Fati told us that she had used a clay pot to collect this rainwater from the tin roof above her husband’s bedroom, waiting five minutes for the rain to clear off the roof before collecting. She then told us that she had used her Guinea Worm filter, a mesh cloth that was distributed to her household by the Carter foundation to eradicate Guinea Worm (for more info on Guinea Worm click here or here), to filter water as she transferred it from her clay pot into her safe storage container. This clay pot had no lid and most likely stored dugout water (contaminated surface water) in it during the dry season, meaning that if tested in the lab, this water would come back positive for e-coli. Guinea Worm filters do not actually filter the water, they were used back in the day to make sure that these worms would not make it into the garrawas and buckets used for collecting water for household use. This mesh piece of cloth would remove some sediment at best, leaving all bacteria (the good and the bad) to multiply and stew. A water filtration system is the best and closest way to make clean water. If you are worried or concerned about the water you are drinking, it might be in your best interests to look for Best Water Filter Systems for maximum cleanliness.

It’s groundnut season in Zanzugu! Amin and I were given bags and bags full of groundnuts during household visits. We finally learned to say thank you but no thank you.

Wahab and I explained all of this to Fati, telling her that while her water looked clear, it was actually not clean for reasons X, Y and Z. “Awoomea”, Fati said or “I hear”. But would she actually get the message and follow through by properly collecting rainwater directly from the tin roof using her safe storage container? Wahab and I could only hope. We would not be there with her when the next rain hit. We would not be able to watch to see if she would use her clay pot again to store rainwater for drinking. The decision to make a behavioral change would have to come from Fati.

Amin uses salt-water solution to explain rainwater contamination to Wahab at a weekly office education meeting.

This is a common problem in many of the CWS villages that have tin roofs and collect rainwater during the rainy season. While we inform all of our communities on how to properly harvest rainwater, some people do not see a difference in using their clay pot versus using their safe storage container. After all, the clear rainwater looks so much cleaner than turbid dugout water. But how can we get them to intrinsically understand why this clear looking water is actually not clean? At our last staff meeting, this is a question that Peter, Shak, Amin, Wahab and I all pondered. We realized that we were going to need props if we were going to do this right.

Peter entertains a household in Kagburashe with some proper rainwater collection education! Which one would you choose?
Wahab uses a positive Total Coliform test to explain to a girl in Gariezegu how rainwater can get contaminated when collected in pots that once held dugout water.






Since then, we have been using water samples of contaminated rainwater that have tested positive for Total Coliform (a sign of contamination, shows up bright yellow in a test tube) and water samples taken from the polytank that have tested negative for e-coli and Total Coliform (shows up clear in a test tube). The CWS field staff has been using these two test tubes as a tangible demonstration given during household visits to show the difference between the clean and clear, the good and the bad. In order to get the children of these villages on board, we have also been conducting taste tests of a salt-water solution versus treated polytank water to show how clear water can have invisible germs inside and that you cannot always see what is in your drinking water. Almost every kid that tries the two spits out the salt-water solution in disgust! Clear does not always mean clean… or tasty.


Checking up on Chanaayili, Gidanturu and Kpallabusi

On Monday, I headed out with Wahab and Peter to celebrate my birthday in the field! We checked-up on Chanaayili, Gidanturu, and Kpallabusi. Besides some fallen signboards, all three villages were doing well and have been consistently selling water each week. Chanaayili can’t wait to see Annie and Hannah in a couple weeks and when the chief of Kpallabusi found out that Kathryn would be back in Ghana soon, he could not hide his excitement! Here are some pictures from our visits:

Peter and Wahab asking Hawa from Chanaayili about her sales this week
Water treatment center in Chanaayili
Chanaayili's dugout is getting pretty low and looking REALLY green. The community is very grateful for Annie, Hannah, Karla, and Sam (and all of the donors that supported their team), who helped them build the CWS water treatment center so they no longer have to drink this!
Wahab taking notes while Peter asks Baramini about last week's water sales in Gidanturu
Hanging out with Baramini at the Gidanturu dugout. Thank you to Colleen and Jeff Clopeck who sponsored the water treatment center at this village!
Last stop of the day was Kpallabusi where Peter and Wahab showed me the fence that the village built around their water treatment center.
After stoping by the water treatment center, we chatted with Zilifawu about the week. She was a little disappointed that I was there instead of Jim, Kathryn, Elsie or Lauren. But, she was excited to find out that Kathryn would be back soon!

2011 Winter Fellowship Program: The Impact

If you have been reading our “voices from the field” series, than you have gotten a small glimpse of the everyday work that our 2011 Winter Fellows completed during their time here in Ghana. You’ve seen how they built polytank stands, danced with the children in their villages, distributed safe storage containers, held village meetings, performed water quality testing in the lab, trained local women how to make water from their local sources safe to drink, and even sampled some traditional Ghanaian food!

The day-to-day work is fun, but sometimes slow; exciting, but often exhausting, and sometimes, its easy to get lost in all of the small details of the project. Looking back over the past 5 weeks, the bottom line is this: the 2011 Winter Fellows provided permanent sources of safe drinking water for over 4,200 people! That is pretty amazing!


Team 6: Karla, Sam, Annie and Hannah S.


Team 5: Shalyn, Pranav, Lina, and Sarah
Team 7: Eleanor, Rachel, Fabiola, and Sanita
Team 1 :Luke, Heather, Mira, and Catherine
Team 3: Jim, Lauren, Elsie and Kathryn
Team 4: Kevin, Marlene, Chris, and Allie
Team 2: Sarah, Cam, Nate, and Hannah H.

Of course none of the Fellows’ work could have been possible without your support! We’d like to thank all of the parents, teachers, friends, neighbors, churches, community groups, local businesses and everyone else who supported the 2011 Winter Fellows – without all of you, the fellowship teams could not have made such an amazing impact during their time in Ghana! THANK YOU!

Voices from the field: Team 6!

Dirt Don’t Hurt.

Our adventure begins…As we start construction of our water center, and all of our planning is becoming a reality, we are getting even more excited about our project. Our first meeting with village Gbashe did not go according to plan. We initially thought that they had six bio-sand filters for the entire village of approx. 85 households, which were provided by another non-profit, ensuring a CWS system was necessary. By the end of the visit we found out that they had six water filters for the chiefs palace alone!! Realizing they already had a great clean water system, we moved on to another village that had reached out to CWS a year ago – due to funding constraints, transportation, and distance this project had been put on hold. So we rose up to the challenge, with Peter (our translator), Small Boy (our fearless taxi driver), and Bone Shaker (our “trusty “station wagon). It wasn’t too long into the trip when we were blanketed in dirt, looking like we had just survived a spray tan catastrophe in a cheap Las Vegas salon.


Team 6: Annie, Hannah, Sam and Karla with our new spray tans!


The Bone Shaker!

Finally we arrived at Chanaayili, our new village and home for the next two weeks. We had a very successful meeting with the chief, who is da’ Bomb Diggity. He shared his wisdom with us…”When you have a load that is too heavy to carry by yourself, it is only with the help of others that you can finally lift the load.” With his wise words and welcoming attitude, we knew we had found the right village. We arranged a meeting with the entire village for 8am the next day, and with high spirits we headed back to Tamale.


The chief (far left) with some of the village elders in Chanaayili

The next day, after a 5am wake up and a successful meeting with the village elders, we headed to town to gather supplies (cement, sand, and 25 cinder blocks) to start construction. Only a few miles away from the village, we experienced our first “bump” in the road, with the truck’s shock system suddenly dropping off. The chief, made aware of our situation, sent a few motos to retrieve us from the bush. An unanticipated situation turned into an incredible bonding experience with our village. We…

• Played games with the kids, including drawing mustaches on them with charcoal and losing to them in foot races.

• Exchanged games and songs and made the kids giggle at our attempts at speaking Dagbani

• Practiced our corn grinding skills with the women

• Tried rubbing alcohol/ hand sanitizer, I mean “gin” packets

• Ate delicious yams and meat stew provided by the chief’s wife

• Witnessed the slaughtering of a goat to complete the funeral for the chief’s son

• Road motos to the nearest village, to get picked up by Shak!

After an epic day, we finally arrived home safely around 10pm, with our tribal faces still in tact.


Sam, Peter, Karla, and Annie after our epic day in the field. (Hannah was there in spirit!)


Wahab and Peter celebrating the end of a long day in the field!

The following day, we started construction of the stand for our water treatment center. Lots of men, from elders to kids, gathered to lend a hand and watch wide-eyed as we built to the beat of American pop songs. Wahab, our translator, entertainer, and building director, used calls to his forefathers to school us all in building and dancing. Over the next couple of days the construction will be finished and we are looking forward to finally providing clean water for Chanaayili. We are ready to embrace any future bumps in the road and any experiences that come along our way.



Team 6!


-Team 6: Karla, Sam, Annie, and Hannah