March and April have been two very busy and exciting months for CWS. We’ve hired Sam, our new US Director of Operations and Development, welcomed 28 new Fellows into our Summer Fellowship Program and most recently, have hired Kathryn Padgett to be our new Ghana Country Director! Kathryn was one of our 2011 Winter Fellows and constantly impressed us with her passion for development and her valuable insights regarding CWS’ long-term sustainability in Ghana.
So, without further ado, meet Kathryn:
I have to echo Sam’s excitement and enthusiasm for our upcoming work with the incredible CWS team – I am proud to be a part of this organization, and I am counting down the days until my position formally begins!
I graduate in May from Georgetown University in Washington, DC with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service in Science, Technology and International Affairs and a Certificate in International Development (what a mouthful!). A Community Water Solutions fellowship last December gave me the opportunity to see all this theory in practice. More than that, my experiences in Ghana invigorated me with a sense of possibility. I was thrilled to be able help the villagers of Kpalbusi create a unique system that will ensure their access to clean, safe drinking water indefinitely. The challenges and successes we faced as a team and community were all part of a positive process of creation and revision that ultimately lead to a working system that myself, my teammates, our new business managers and the whole village could take pride in, and set a great precedent of teamwork and cooperation. Seeing clean water filling up the line of blue buckets beside Kpalbusi’s dirty, croc-infested dugout was one of the most inspiring experiences of my life, and the expressions on the faces of all those around me told me I was not alone in this sentiment.
I see these next few months as a similar challenge of problem-solving and collaboration on a larger scale. One of my biggest responsibilities will be to unpack today’s buzzword of “sustainability” in the CWS context. Continued monitoring of established projects and critically evaluating our methods and models, as well as fostering new, beneficial partnerships will all be part of this process. Luckily CWS has an incredible and growing team and circle of advisors, partners and supporters to help the organization sustain its momentum and success. Again, I am excited for this opportunity to continue to be a part of the growing Community Water Solutions family, and can’t wait to get back to Tamale to the friendly faces that made my December experience so meaningful.