CWS is Now Saha Global!

Dear CWS Donors, Supporters, and Friends,

I am thrilled to share some exciting news: Community Water Solutions has changed our name to Saha Global!
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The new Saha identity is a reflection of our tremendous growth over the past six years. In November 2013, with the help of Ben Powell and Mark Moeremans, we piloted our new solar electricity program in the village of Wambong. This pilot was a huge success and lead to a new partnership with Boston-based company Next Step Living. Thanks to funding from their philanthropic program, Next Step Giving, we have been able to rapidly grow our solar program and have now launched five solar businesses that provide access to electricity to 2,500 people. We have also continued to expand our impact in water and are currently serving 38,108 people in rural Ghana with our 71 water businesses.

As Saha Global continues to grow our water and solar businesses, we remain committed to long-term monitoring in our current partner-communities, which we believe is the key to our 100% sustainability rate.

I am also very excited to share our new video, which you can view above. When you watch this video, I hope that you feel as proud as I do about  Saha’s impact, which would not have been possible with your generous support.

If you would like a new Saha Global sticker, enter your address here and we will mail you one!



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Looking Back on 2 Years in Ghana

All CWS staff

Me, Eric, Shak, Peter, Amin, Chelsea, Kate, Wahab, Sam and my dog, Dauphine! – April 2014

One of my favorite Ghanaian expressions is “small small” or “bayla bayla” as it’s known in Dagbani. Ghanaians use this expression all the time. Let me give you a few examples. You go to a chop bar in Tamale to get waakye, a local, favorite dish of rice, beans and other delicious, spicy toppings. The woman working at the chop bar starts to serve you waakye and motions towards the palm oil. You say, “small small” to mean just put a little, not too much. Or you are learning Dagbani, the most widely spoken language in Tamale, trying out some phrases with Dagomba friends. They say, “Oh you try” and you respond, “small small”. You are a CWS field staffer riding around on motos day in and day out. It just so happens you need to replace the piston and the rings on the moto. The fitter (mechanic) tells you to move “small small” so that the moto will be “free”. The list goes on… What I’ve taken from this whole “small small” business is that as long as you are moving “small small”,  you are moving forward!

When I moved to Ghana in June 2012, I did not think I would live here for 2 years, although I am very happy now that I did. It all started “small small”… learning to ride a moto, figuring out where to buy food, navigating Tamale, learning Dagbani, working with the CWS team, meeting the entrepreneurs for the first time, encountering various challenges in the CWS communities and out on the “rough roads”. In the beginning, I didn’t feel like I was adjusting well. I found the heat unbearable, I felt lonely, I did not think I was qualified for the position but I kept trying and moving “small small”. And “small small” turned in to feeling comfortable in Tamale, being confident in my role at CWS, truly enjoying my work and getting to know my coworkers, developing good relationships with the CWS communities and entrepreneurs and feeling like I was positively contributing to this idea and project greater than myself. This upcoming September I am heading to Dublin, Ireland to get my MSc in Global Health at Trinity College. I hope to focus on women’s health and technology in developing countries. I know I would not be on this path if it were not for my experience with CWS in Ghana.

So without more small small babble… here are some pictures looking back on the last 2 years. The “small small” moments to the big ones. A big thank you to my CWS family: Kate, Sam, Kathryn, Chelsea, Shak, Peter, Wahab, Amin, Eric, Mark, Yacabu, the CWS board members, the fellowship translators, the fellows, the fellowship taxi drivers and all of the CWS partners for this fantastic opportunity. It has been a pleasure working with you! To all my friends and family who supported me and continue to support me, thank you! It has been quite the ride. Ghana, I will miss you-ohh! Until next time.


Opening day 2

Opening Day in Kpachiyli – January 2012

Opening Day Kpachiyili

A line to get clean water on opening day in Kpachiyli! – January 2012

Kpachiyili Fellowship

Team Peter! Mark, me, Larissa, and Sarah! Winter 2012 Fellowship Program

Azara Kpachiyili

Azara selling water on opening day – January 2012

Learning how to ride

Back in Ghana June 2012 – learning how to ride a moto for the first time. Thank you Madame Kathryn!

Crazy storm!

My first week as Ghana Country Director, Wahab and I were caught in a CRAZY storm! We were under that roof taking shelter for HOURS. I thought every day of the rainy season was going to be like this… little did I know!

Shak's jeep!

Loading up Shak’s jeep with safe storage containers! RIP


World Water Day March 22, 2013

On Peter's farm in Libi!

On Peter’s corn farm in Libi!

Madame Kathryn's final solute

Madame Kathryn’s final solute… now not looking so final!!

Eric and Peter jumping picture in Kabache/Kasawuripe Salaga!

Eric and Peter jumping picture in Kabache/Kasawuripe  monitored from the Salaga office!

Caught in those birthday rains - September 12, 2013

Caught in those birthday rains – September 12, 2013

Moving offices!

Yacabu, Chelsea and Wahab stand by the moving truck as we move offices in Tamale!  – March 2014

The start of the solar pilot in Kurugu Vohoyili!

The start of the solar pilot in Kurugu Vohoyili! – March 2014

Ayi and Fuseina with their solar business in Kurugu Vohoyili!

Ayi and Fuseina with their solar business in Kurugu Vohoyili! – March 2014

My mom comes to Ghana and meets Fuseina in Kurugu Vohoyili!

My mom comes to Ghana and meets Fuseina in Kurugu Vohoyili! – April 2014

My family comes to visit in April and hangs with the staff at How Cool Joint in Tamale. Ow ow!

My family comes to visit in April and hangs with the staff at How Cool Joint in Tamale. Ow ow!

Azara, me and Mariama, the water business women in Kpachiyili. 2 years after opening day!

Azara, me and Mariama, the water business women in Kpachiyili. 2 years after opening day!

CWS Ghana staffers!

CWS Ghana staffers!

My sister Danya comes for the summer 2014 fellowship program!!

My sister Danya comes for the summer 2014 fellowship program!!

This past June I got to lead 8 wonderful fellows in Salaga with Blessing and Peter!

This past June I got to lead 8 wonderful fellows in Salaga with Blessing and Peter!

Kata, me and Sam. It has been a pleasure working with you both!

Kata, me and Sam. It has been so much fun working with you both!

Passing off the "torch" to the new Ghana Country Director, Chelsea Hodgkins!

Passing off the “torch” to the new Ghana Country Director, Chelsea Hodgkins!

A BIG THANK YOU TO THE CWS TEAM!!! Going to miss all of you :)

A BIG THANK YOU TO THE CWS TEAM!!! Going to miss all of you🙂

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Fall Fellowship Application Deadline August 18th!

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For the very first time we will be offering the opportunity to join our fellowship program for the implementation of a solar project! This Fall you will be given the choice whether you want to implement a solar charging station or a water treatment center. 

The 2014 Fall Fellowship will be a two week program and take place from November 4th to 19th. Orientation will take place stateside via webinar allowing our fellows to hit the ground running! We accept fellows on a rolling basis and encourage you to apply early! The deadline for the Fall Fellowship is August 18th! 

We are beyond excited to offer this opportunity! If you have any additional questions, please contact Sam at



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CWS now in 71 communities!


This is my first official post as Ghana Country Director and what an exciting time it is to be updating everyone following the CWS blog on what we’ve been up to since the 2014 Summer fellows left.

Thanks to the fellows, CWS has opened water treatment businesses in eleven more communities: Original Kabache, Sabonjida, Janakpam, Manguli II, Wuvogu, Wuvogumani, Changyili, Jangbarayili, Balamposo, Kagbal, and Sagbarigu, as well as set up a solar business in Yapalsi. This brings the total number of communities we are working in to 71! In addition to the newly established water and solar businesses, nine villages are now independent: Tijo, Tindun, Libi, Changashi, Kpenchila, Nyamaliga, Buja, Kushini, and Zanzugu. At Community Water Solutions, self-sufficiency is our end goal in the communities where we work. Data collected over the years of household visits we have done since the inception of these businesses has shown that the centers have been up and running and community members have purchased water at the center on consistent bases. The staff at CWS will still monitor and assist the women entrepreneurs to ensure the centers continue to run successfully, but we are proud to add them to our list of 23 total independent villages!

On the monitoring side of operations, going to the field this week with Amin, Shak, Wahab, and Eric has been a lot of fun. Figuring out the logistics of integrating our new communities into our existing monitoring schedules was challenging, but the guys have done an amazing job with handling the extra responsibility. Having heard so much from the fellows about the women and community members, I was really eager to go and see the new centers for myself! On Monday, Amin and I went to Jakapam, Manguli II, Wuvogu, and Wuvogumani. While the fellows were still here monitoring in their villages after opening day, community members of Janakpam had made it known during household visits that they felt the water tasted too strongly of alum, the chemical the women use in the first stage of treatment. This is typically a learning process when centers are first established; it is not an easy task to ensure an appropriate amount of alum is used to treat the turbidity of the water while also meeting the taste preferences of consumers. When the women heard of this, they wasted no time coming up with a creative solution: adding water from the polytank to the dugout water in the blue drums so that the alum would settle, then adding one chlorine tablet per blue drum scooped in to the polytank. This worked for the water they sold during the first days after the center opened and by the time Amin and I came to speak with the women on Monday, the problem had been completely fixed and community members no longer had any complaints about the taste of the water.

DSC01983While monitoring with Eric on Wednesday, Arasheitu, one of the entrepreneurs running the business in Kagbal, joined us for household visits. As a way to gauge our efforts to educate community members on the health benefits of drinking clean water, one of the questions we ask households when monitoring is, “Do you know why dugout water is unsafe to drink?” Anytime we asked this question and a community member would respond with, “No,” Arasheitu stepped in to explain why dugout water was unsafe to drink and the negative implications it has for health. Community members also told Eric and I that Arasheitu and her colleagues at the center, Adamu and Sanatu, were teaching people how to collect rainwater properly and reminding people to come and refill at the center with their safety storage containers on a regular basis. It was really amazing to see the level of Arasheitu’s initiative and her enthusiasm for helping her community. Eric and I also lucked out because one of the women in Kagbal had recently given birth to a baby boy and community members were celebrating the naming ceremony. Thanks to the CWS fellows and the women of Kagbal hard at work running the treatment center, this new addition to the Outdooring Kagbal 2community, Abrahim, will always have the option of clean drinking water. That is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job as Ghana Country Director.

I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting and interacting with the entrepreneurs and community members of the newly established treatment centers. As with all of the entrepreneurs we work with, these women are creative, kind, and devoted to improving the lives and health of the members of their communities. Their level of enthusiasm for running the treatment centers and the amount of hard work they put in to make sure their community has the option of clean drinking water never ceases to amaze me. I look forward to working with them during my time as Ghana Country Director.

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To the 2014 Summer Fellows


1964882_736716316392912_3695791533619431533_nDear Jeremy, Selena, Cara, Brielle, Nicole S., Sarah S., Christina, Melissa, Claire B., Claire C., Josh, Sofia, Robert, Camille, Phoebe, Brandee, Elijah, Michaela, Abby F., Naomi, Danya, Ana B., Remy, Ben, Erin, Sarah R., Miles, Abby T., Kelly, Ann, Evan, Lexie, Kelli-Ann, Maggie, Haley, Caroline, Julia, Hannah, Nicole G., Ana CR, Alex, Katie, Sarah F., Linda, Lucas, and Nick,

It is hard to believe that the 46 of you are already heading home from Ghana this evening. 3 weeks has certainty flown by fast! It has been such a pleasure getting to know each of your during your time in Tamale. From the moment you arrived, you have impressed us with your knowledge, work ethic, and most of all, your desire to make a positive impact on the world around you. We are so proud of the work that you have accomplished during your time with CWS this summer. Thanks to each of you, 11 communities and approximately 4,000 people now have permanent access to safe drinking water and just over 500 people have access to solar electricity. 26 women entrepreneurs now have new businesses to run, and (thanks to your training), they are well equipped to handle any issues that may arise.

Thank you for choosing to spend the beginning of your summer working with Community Water Solutions. We are so lucky to have you all as members of the CWS team and can’t wait to see the incredible things that you will do for this world!


Kate, Sam, and Brianan




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Voices from the Field: Team James (Sarah R, Ben, and Erin)

Monitoring, we’ve found, involves much more than monitoring. Every monitoring day in Wovogu brings new friendships and new challenges. Today was the third day of monitoring, and our second-to-last day in the village. It will definitely be hard to say goodbye to everyone we’ve met here!

Erin, Sarah and Ben with some of our new friends in Wovogu!

We visit around six households each day, and ask a series of questions about the water and how the safe storage container is working. Most of the safe storage containers were working, although two households reported leaky or broken taps, which we will replace. When we ask about the taste, they usually say “denyasa pom”— it tastes good.


Sarah hanging with some kids from Wovogu while monitoring

The more households we visit, the more our entourage of children grows. They love to follow us from house to house, asking for photos and holding our hands. It can be pretty overwhelming at times, but they are adorable and it’s nice to see how excited they are to have us in their village.

We also make sure to look over the water treatment center itself and to check in with our fabulous women entrepreneurs, . They’ve been great at keeping the center running smoothly. A large number of the households had returned to the center to refill their safe storage containers.

Senatu and Abiba have been doing an awesome job running their water business!

Senatu and Abiba have been doing an awesome job running their water business!

There are some troubling rumors going around that the clean water might limit fertility, or cause a woman to only give birth twice. We’ve been doing our best to dispel these rumors and to make sure that everybody knows that the treated water will improve their health and the health of their children.

In addition to monitoring, we visited the school that Wovogu shares with a neighboring village. We filled one water-bottle with water from the treatment center, one with dugout water, and one with salt-water. We had the kids decide which water they shouldn’t drink. The turbid dugout water, with visible pieces of fecal matter, was an easy first pick.

The treated water and the salt-water both looked clear, so we had the kids do a taste-test. After one boy got quite the salty surprise, we explained that just because water is clear, it doesn’t always mean it’s clean. We told them that it is important to make sure the water in the safe storage containers stays clean— if it gets recontaminated, you might not be able to tell just by looking at it!

Checking out the CWS Fellowship Handbook at the water treatment business

Checking out the CWS Fellowship Handbook at the water treatment business

We also played Healthy Habits tag, which was a lot of fun. We reminded the kids that practicing healthy habits can prevent them from getting sick.

Tomorrow is our last day of monitoring. We’ll visit six more households, check in one final time with Senatu and Abiba, and visit the chief to say our goodbyes. While it will be hard to leave, we know that our entrepreneurs will be more than capable of running the treatment center and making sure that Wovogu’s drinking water stays clean and safe.

-Sarah, Ben and Erin

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Voices from the field: Team TJ (Cara, Brielle, Selena & Jeremy)

A flashback to before opening day:

Greetings from Team Teej! (Brielle Jeremy Cara & Selena)

Whether it’s rocking out to Rick Ross’ “Sanctified” or the Tamale Hip-Life legends R2bees, we know how to have a great time.  We are currently working in the village of Changyili, which is only a short drive of 30 minutes out of Tamale.  Along our way we are able to see the local vegetation and markets where the people are always happy to greet us.  No hand wave is left unanswered!
It should be noted that the chief of Changyili is the most relaxed and friendliest elderly man we have had the chance to meet in Ghana.  As he chilled in his home-made recliner stroking his grizzly grey beard and smoking a personal rolled cigarette, he watched us paint our new metal stand that will hold the Polytank full of clean drinking water.


We began our work by setting up the water drums and Polytank, and once the women were selected we were eager to begin training with them. When we finish our work for the day, we usually play with kids in the village. The first game we ever played with them was the infamous “tag”. Thinking that because most of the kids involved were younger and smaller we all expected to easily stay out of reach of being “it”. Unfortunately, we quickly realized that either we had suddenly all become incredibly out-of-shape overnight or these kids were all solid contenders for Usain Bolt.

We’re having a great time and the villagers are really appreciative of CWS, which gives us all great encouragement.  They’re excited that this project is bringing health to their community, and we’re excited that we’re learning so much about their lifestyle.  It’s neat when they teach us the language of Dagbani, let us do hands-on work with them to make their food, and show us games all the kids play.  We get to pet baby goats and laugh with the people through simple means of communication and hand symbols.


As a group we are really looking forward to opening day tomorrow. This will mark the start of the new water business for the women entrepreneurs we have trained for the past two weeks. In addition, this business will provide clean water for the village of Changyili! GO TEAM TEEJ!

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