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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April Monitoring Report

After a successful Summer Global Leadership Program, our team here at Saha is playing a bit of catch-up. Although we haven’t been posting our reports in a timely manner, we have been monitoring! So now it’s time to get back on track. Here are our monitoring results from April:

April Monthly Summary_Blog

Villages Visited in April

Weeks 1 and 2: Indigenuors Kabache, Original Kabache, Tunga, Kindeng, Sabongida, Jarayili, Gindanturu, Kpanshegu, Kpachiyili, Kagbal             Moya, Kpaliga, Gurumachiyili, Manguli 2, Chashegu, Bogu, Kpanshegu, Namdu 2, Tindan, Nyamaliga, Namdu, Kuldanali/yapalsi, Cheko,         Gundaa, Djello, Jarigu, Sagbarigu,  Buhijaa, Kudula, Jagbrin, Manguli, Kulaa, Chandanyili, Gbandu, Sakpalua, Tijo, Garizegu, Voguyili, Tindan,         Kalinkaa, Negkpegu, Tohanaayili, Changyili, Janbrigiyili, Balamposo, Zanzugu, Zanzugu yapala, Galizegu, Wambong, Yapie yapala, Jabayili, Yakura, Kuruguvokuyayili, Gburma, Kasuyili and Dundo


Week 3: Kpaliga, Chashegu, Namdu 1,Namdu 2,Gundaa, Kpaachiyili, Kasuliyili, Tijo, Sagbarigu, Manguli, Buhijaa ,Djelo, Gbandu, Garizegu
Kalinka, Nekpegu, Tohanaayili, Bogu, Tindan, Kuldanali, Janakpem, Manguli II, Gbrama, Kpanshegu, Cheko, Jarigu, Kudala, Wuvogu, Wuvogumani Moya, Chanyili, Balampuso, Janbrigiyili, Wambong, Kuruguvohayayili, Jabayili, Yakuru,Z anzugu yapala, Laligu, Kpalung, and Yapalsi


Week 4: Kpanshegu, Chani ,Jarigu, Takpuli, Nyamaliga, Cheeko, Kudula, Kulaa, Moya, Sakpalua, Voguyili, Kpenchila,Takpuli, Chani, Cheko, Tijo, Tindan, Kpaliga, NamduI 2 Namdu 1, Gundaa, Chashegu , Manguli, Djello, Buhijaa, Kabal, dundo, Gurumanchayili, Gbandu, Garizegu, Tohanaayili, Kalinka, Nekpegu, Yapalsi, Kpalung, Laligu, Balampuso, Jabayili, Yakuru, Chanyili, Jankbagiyili, Yapei  Yapala, Wambong, Zanzugu, Zanzugu Yipala, Kideng, Tunga, Jarayili, Chanaanyili, Kabache, Sabongida, Kabache 2


Success Stories

We had many success stories from April. Besides having most of our businesses running smoothly, the most notable successes were in Djelo and Nekpegu. In Deljo, Zeila made big leaps to expand her business. First, she bought cell phone chargers to keep at the center so people who lost their chargers could still come charge their phone. Then she decided to purchase cell phone credit in Tamale to re-sell at her solar center in the village. We are excited for Zeila’s success!

I got to chat with Zeila when I visited Djelo in April. She is so excited about the success of her new solar business and the high sales that she continues to see at the water business


April was also a very exciting month for the business owners in Nekpegu who opened their own bank account! Ramatu and Fatima have saved 300 GHS since opening the solar business in November which is now sitting safely in the bank. Go Ramatu and Fatmia!

We also had some interesting “success” news from some of our water communities. Gbandu, Garizegu, Manguli and Cheshegu all have piped water! We are so excited that these communities are now on the municipal water supply! For now, the entrepreneurs have stalled sales and people are using their safe storage containers to fetch clean water from the new standpipes in town. However, these ladies are still a little hesitant to celebrate. Other communities with piped water have complained that the water gets turned off for days, or sometimes weeks, at a time. So, our business owners are planning to keep their Saha water centers open as a back up source of clean water for the times when the pipes are turned off.


Our biggest challenge in April is that more and more dugout were drying out. The water businesses in Chashagu, Dundo, Gurumanchayili, Kpaliga, Chandanyili, Jagbrin, Kulaa, Chongashe, Kusheni, Gbatini, Jarayili , Tindan, Laligu, and Kpalbusi were all closed at some point throughout the month because they had ran out of water in their dugouts. Rainy season cannot come soon enough!

In addition to dried dugouts, our there were also some issues in Orginal Kabache this month. The water center was closed for a couple of weeks due to conflicts with the neighboring community. Peter did a great job of working with the women entrepreneurs and village leaders in this community to help them understand that despite the issues going on, access to clean water is still very important to people’s health. By the end of the month, the business was back up and running!

The detailed week by week reports are all available online here.

Below are some more pictures from the field form April:










March Monitoring Results

March was the second month that our Ghana team used new monitoring procedures, and they really started to get in the swing of things. March was a notable water month because we celebrated World Water Day with our women entrepreneurs in Tamale! Check out Eric’s post for more great pictures and stories from this awesome day! Below is the monthly monitoring summary for March:

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For a detailed description of how each line item is calculated, check out our February post.



There are a few things to note about our March monitoring results. The first is that our water business usage rate dropped slightly from February to March. This is due to dry dugouts. March and April are a very challenging time for our village partners because it is the very end of the dry season and many water sources run dry for a few weeks or a month before the rains come. This is difficult for Saha to deal with because without water in dugouts, there is no water for the women to treat and sell. They must temporarily pause operations until the rain comes. The number of dried dugouts varies year to year. This March, the dugouts in Chandanyili, Jabgerin, Galinzegu, and Zanzegu Yipela all ran dry.

When we monitor villages with dried dugouts, we still do household visits to see where people are getting their water. Sometimes, it will rain enough for a family to collect rainwater in their safe storage container, but not enough to fill the dugout. So, that house will have clean water and we will count them, but their neighbor may not. Sometimes people will walk to a nearby village with a Saha business and buy water there, so we can count them as having clean water too. But oftentimes, people do not have clean water when we check, so our average is brought down for the month. Our staff makes an effort to inform the District Assemblies about communities with dry dugouts, to see if the government can help them at all. Amin and Peter are in charge of setting up these meetings and are doing a great job! But for the most part, all that we can do is wait and hope for rain for our community partners.

The dried dugout in Chandanyili
The dried dugout in Chandanyili



Another thing to note about March is that our team did a much better job of visiting all of the new businesses, both water and solar! After the first week in March, every new business (less than 6 months old) was visited once a week. I was happy to have the team back on track after some scheduling difficulties last month.

The only other major issue in March was a conflict between the community of Budhja and the Fulani, a nomadic tribe that had been staying in the village. Due to the conflict, the entrepreneurs were nervous that the Fulani would steal their water supplies, so they closed the business for about two weeks. Many communities members left the village during the conflict and stayed at neighboring villages, so there weren’t many people around to buy water anyway. By the end of the month the conflict was resolved and business returned to normal in Budhja.

On the solar side, we had an exciting month because the entrepreneurs from Tacpuli opened their bank account! Amin spent the whole day at the bank with Lasiche, Maraiama, and Ayishetu but it was well worth it. Congrats Ladies! All of other solar businesses were up in running in March, with no technical difficulties and consistent sales. A great month for sure!

Lasiche, Maraiama, and Ayishetu opening a bank account for their solar business.


If you would like more information, the detailed week by week reports are all available online here. Check it out and email if you have any questions! Below are some more pictures from March monitoring in the field.



Its a good morning for solar sales in Djelo!


Batteries are ready to go!


A busy day of at the water business in Sakpalua!




Thumbs up from Fusiena and Dawu!



Everyone loves a good selfie!


Peter chatting with a family in Idigenous Kabache



First stop, the water business! Wahab taking notes on the water levels


World Water Day Celebrations at the Saha Office!


Clean solar panels means efficient electricity generation in Tacpuli!
Clean solar panels means efficient electricity generation in Tacpuli!




February Monitoring Results

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:

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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.

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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.

Ayi selling water in Kurugu Vohoyili
A busy morning in Kurugu Vohoyli
Eric noting how many Aqutabs Fulera had bought
Eric helping Ramatu how to strengthen the connection of the cell phone charges
The Nekpegu solar center is bumpin’!
Fati posing with all of the charging batteries in Nekpegu
Staff meeting selfies!
A straight-faced Salima make sales early in the morning in Wambong
After a month of low water sales in Wambong, Shak and the women met with the community chairman. Chang-Chang suggested that he make announcements at the mosque whenever she had water ready to sell, and he agreed. After the first announcement, the water center was BUSY!

A New Monitoring Routine

As we’ve mentioned a few times, Saha Global recently fully transitioned the management of our Ghana operations to our amazing Ghana team. During that transition, we also overhauled our monitoring process. With the help of our new Board Member, Mark Moeremans, we thought long and hard about the data that we collect when we monitor our water and solar businesses, what we use that data for, and how we communicate the results to our supporters around the world. In Mark’s blog post, we showed a sneak peek of our new monitoring spreadsheet, but we wanted to wait a couple months before posting regular updates to ensure that we would actually have enough data for the results to be meaningful. Well, a few months have passed and we are excited to start sharing our monitoring reports with all of you! This page is where you will be able to find all of our data from the field. Later this week, we’ll be posting our reports from February, March and April. After that, we’ll post a new update each month. If you are looking for reports from before 2015, you can head to our old monitoring page here.

Now, I would like to re-introduce one of our awesome managers, Eric Angkosaala. We thought that Eric would be the perfect person to describe just how our monitoring process has changed and what those changes mean for our Ghana team. Take it away, Eric!

10338763_736940336370510_7655639240748997261_nA typical week for a staff starts on Monday at 6:30am at the Saha office. The Staff look on our updated whiteboard board to see which villages might need immediate attention. We grab supplies we might be running low on like Aquatabs, taps, glue, thread tape etc. We also take along safe storage buckets, lamps, batteries, etc. to the villages who demanded for them, either to buy or if there was a new family in the community who had not yet received one. We then head out to our respective villages. We get back from the field in the afternoon to meet at the office where we report to Shak about our day and update the board. We do this Monday to Friday. We sometimes go to field on Saturday when there is a pressing problem, like a leaky polytank. We go to help the women fix such problems as soon as we can, or else all the water would drip out and the women’s time and energy would be wasted. On Fridays at 3 pm, we sit for a staff meeting to discuss issues that happened during the week and talk on how to solve problems that might have developed that week and plan for the future.

Eric taking note of the water levels at the business in Djelo
Taking note of the water levels at the business in Djelo

Usually, we monitor three villages in a day, but that depends. Sometimes we only stop in two villages because, there might be a problem and we have to spend extra time on that problem village to try and fix the issue before leaving. Sometimes, we visit four villages in a day, because things were great in those villages or those villages are close to each other.

When we get to a village our first stop is at the water center, where we check if there is treated water in the polytank and what level the water is at. We also check the blue drums to see whether there is dugout water or water has been treated with alum and ready to scoop. We also check the polytank to make sure there is no leakage.  If there is a problem, we try to work with the women entrepreneurs to fix it. If we can’t figure it out then, we take down notes to discuss with Shak and the team.

This is me chatting with Fulera, the water entrepreneur in Kalinka, about her sales.
This is me chatting with Fulera, the water entrepreneur in Kalinka, about her sales.

Next, we ask the entrepreneurs how business is going. When was the last day they made sales? When was the last day they used aqua tabs and how many? We find out from them how many aqua tabs are remaining and if they would like to purchase more. We also find out if they are saving the money they get from sales. We ask to see if there are any problems. In solar villages, we then go to the solar center. Once there, we ask the women: Is everything working well? Did you have any problems? How many batteries did you rent this week?  How many cell phones did you charge? How much money did you make this week? If there are no problems, we go around to households to see how people are doing with their safe storage containers and lanterns. In the households, we check to see if there is water and the level. We ask if they like the taste of water, if they have seen any improvement in their health, and if they know why dugout water is not safe to drink. We educate them on areas we see that they didn’t give good answers for. For solar villages, we ask families if they use their lantern. What do they use it for? Do they have a cell phone? How often do they charge their phone? We go around to at least 6 households in a village. But, we sometimes monitor 12 to 18 households if we observe that people are not going to the center to refill. If there are any complaints about the taste of water, we go back to the women to advise them on their next water treatment. We then move to the next village and then the next.

Anytime we get back from field, we look at the board to see which village has a problem or which villages have not been visited yet. We also look at the villages which are along the same area before choosing which villages to go.

Peter, filling out one of our old monitoring sheets in Sabonjida
Peter, filling out one of our old monitoring sheets in Sabonjida

When Brianan, our former Country Director was in Tamale, she used to go to field with a different field staff on a daily basis. Brianan created a monitoring sheet while she was here and some of the questions on it were: When was the last day sales were made? How many people came to refill? Are you saving from the sales you make? How are sales? Is there anything broken at the center? Was it fixed or do we need to go back? What’s the level of water in the polytank? How many blue drums have water in them and were they treated with alum? How many aquatabs were used the last time? How many remaining? Would you like to buy any more aquatabs? How many? Any compliants or problems? Have you seen an improvement in health? Why is dugout water not safe to drink?

We handed over the sheets to Brianan on our return from field and she would gather everything and then forward the reports to Kate.

Shak, Wahab, Amin and I checking in after a day in the field.
Shak, Wahab, Amin and I checking in after a day in the field.

Now, we no longer use the monitoring sheets because we have been using the monitoring sheets over the last few years, we know the questions to ask the women and in households. We take down notes in a notebook, which helps to save a lot of paper! Then, when we get to the office we tell our reports to Wahab, who then collates everything on excel and forwards a weekly summary to Kate. Wahab’s reports focus more on numbers like the number of aquatabs sold, the amount of money the solar women made in a week, and the number of buckets with clean water, instead of on the answers we get from conversations. The number of aquatabs used and purchased helps us figure out how much water is treated and sold each week. We can then see if those numbers align with the sales the women report and what we observe during household visits.


-Eric Angkosaala