This winter, Fellow Alumnus Stephanie Bloom will be joining Sam and I (Kate) in Ghana as a 2012 Winter Fellowship Leader! Stephanie is a graduate student at Columbia University and was a 2012 Summer Fellow. We’re so excited to have her as a part of the CWS Team and are counting down the days until the Winter Fellowship Program! Without further ado, meet Steph:
Ever since I left Ghana, I’ve been pining to go back. And so, to say that I am excited to return this winter as a Fellowship Leader is an understatement! I am so thrilled, and truly honored, to head back to Tamale as part of the Community Water Solutions team. I can’t wait to get back in the field, visit my village Jagberin, catch-up with all of the amazingly hilarious translators, and assist the forthcoming Fellows implement successful projects in villages of their very own!
I’m currently in my second year of graduate school at Columbia University, where I’m working towards my Masters Degree in Human Rights; my area of research focuses on women’s rights in sub-Saharan Africa, which is why I was initially drawn to the Fellowship program. Prior to traveling to Ghana with CWS, I knew very little about the global water crisis or clean water technology. As a student of human rights, learning about the dire need for clean water worldwide was invaluable. I was surprised by how much knowledge I gained about our human right to water, about the inner-workings of a community development project, and about how even a small group of dedicated, hard-working, and passionate students can make a difference in the lives of so many.
I first fell in love with Africa when I was an undergraduate student and studied abroad in South Africa; while there, I was able to travel to numerous other African countries, including Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana. But I have to admit, the Ghanaians are by far my favorite!
I’m so excited for this chance to go back and to take on a new role within the CWS family. I hope I can affect change not just for the thousands of new village residents, but also for the new Fellows. The best part of CWS is that it’s a grassroots, localized, and participatory organization that thrives on the generosity of the Fellows, the input of everyone, and the end result of clean water! It is an incredibly rewarding experience and I can’t wait to share it with a new group of people!
See you all in Ghana!