Community Water Solutions

To implement community-level water treatment businesses in communities of the developing world that: - are run by members of the community - provide clean water for residents of that community - generate economic growth and - empower women in the community
Jul 16, 2013

Successful Summer Fellowship!

This Summer, CWS hosted 24 Fellows in Ghana, including 5 Fellows in our new office in Salaga! Both programs were extremely successful. In all, the Summer Fellows launched 7 new water treatment centers which now serve clean drinking water to 3,664 people! We are so lucky to work along side such amazing fellows!

 

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Carole Anne, Lilly & Taylor pose with the proud ladies of Kideng!

caroline and brigid

Caroline & Brigid pose with the excited kids of Kasawuripe!

Team Shak (Victoria, Eda, Jacob & Hailey) peacesigning with their lady entrepeneurs, Mary & Fushiena on their opening day in Vogyili

Victoria, Eda, Jacob & Hailey peacesigning with their lady entrepeneurs, Mary & Fushiena on their opening day in Vogyili

Team Sharifa (Katie, Lucas, Stephanie & Sandra) post with their women entrepenuers and some kiddos in front of Namdu's up and running water treatment center

Katie, Lucas, Stephanie & Sandra with their women entrepenuers and some kiddos in front of Namdu’s up and running water treatment center

Team TJ (Maxine, Casey, Jhanel & Bryan) pose with their grateful chief!

TJ, Maxine, Casey, Jhanel & Bryan with their oh-so-grateful Chief of Kpali!IMG_2556
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DSCN0219Kirsten, Sarah, Ethan, Angie & Nestor with the women as they fill their very first safe storage container of clean water in Gundaa

Mar 14, 2013

CWS on the Road: Pilot in Tunga

Our awesome building team!
Our awesome building team!

I’m sure that you all have been on the edge of your seats since our last update about CWS’ expansion! To recap: After a scouting trip to Liberia, Burkina Faso, and Togo last summer, Kathryn and I decided that for CWS’ first satellite office, there was really no place like home and began to focus our search on other Regions in Ghana. Kathryn spent the fall traveling around this beautiful country to learn about the water needs in the Upper East, Upper West, and Volta Regions as well as exploring more remote areas of the Northern Region. After months of moto, tro, and market bus rides to both big cities and rural villages throughout Ghana, we decided that the small city of Salaga, a seemed like the best fit for our next base of operations!

The river in Tunga - the village's only source of drinking water.

The river in Tunga – the village’s only source of drinking water.

Once we had selected Salaga as our potential new base of operations, the next step was to pilot a CWS water business in a nearby village! While we were fairly confident that both our water treatment technique and our business model would work well in this area, this pilot was essential in figuring out our supply chain and transportation logistics. As many of our past Fellows know, transportation is a huge challenge here in Ghana!  With the very poor road conditions around Salaga, we knew that finding a reliable way to reach the rural villages would be difficult. As far as supplies go, Salaga is much, much smaller than Tamale with a very limited market. So, about 90% of our supplies will have to be shipped down from Tamale – a process that we knew little about. A few more trips around Salaga later, we picked the village of Tunga for our pilot.

Tunga, is a rural village of about 500 people located 40 minutes north of Salaga and right outside the larger town of Banjai. The only source of water in Tunga is a river, that is highly turbid and fecally contaminated. We met with the village chief and elders in early December and, after a great conversation, they agreed to work with us!

Both Kathryn and I had a blast working in Tunga over these past few weeks. I have not implemented a water business since we launched the Fellowship Program in June 2010 and Kathryn’s last implementation was when she was a Fellow almost 2 years ago! After some initial delays due to the election.

The people in Tunga were extremely welcoming and a joy to work with – A group of local guys were very helpful in building the polytank stand and provided endless entertainment as we worked in the hot sun; An enthusiastic team of kids helped carry our safe storage containers all over the village as we distributed them to each family; And the women entrepreneurs, Sana and Aya, are a force to be reckoned with!

We celebrated opening day on Sunday, December 16th and were very impressed with the turnout! Sana and Aya were completely in charge, leaving Kathryn and I with little to do besides take pictures!

So far, the pilot in Tunga has been a success! Stay tuned for more updates on CWS’ expansion plans!

-Kate

The finished polytank stand
The finished polytank stand
Buckets all lined up to be filled with clean water
Buckets all lined up to be filled with clean water

Links:

Nov 7, 2012

CWS on the Road: the Hunt Continues!

Ghana Regions
Ghana Regions

Fall is such a busy time for Community Water Solutions! In the US the new Winter Fellows are up and fundraising. Here in Tamale, Brianan, Peter, Shak, Wahab and Amin are, as usual, hard at work supporting those (now 40!) communities running CWS water businesses – check status updates from each village here! As if this all this hectic energy weren’t enough…

The search continues for a NEW base of operations!

You can read about Kathryn and Kate’s impressions of our trips abroad to Liberia, Burkina and Togo on this blog. But all this travel reminded us that there’s no place like home.  Could other regions of Ghana benefit from the CWS social enterprise idea? We intend to find out! 

Upper East region was our first destination. This area of Ghana is known for its beautiful straw handicrafts, its crocodile ponds, and its wonderfully-named capital, Bolgatanga. While boreholes are around, some smaller, remote communities still rely on streams or open wells for water. Could Upper East be a new CWS destination?

Upper West was our next stop. We found beautiful mosques, hippos and some village gold mining! Communities lacking boreholes have been more elusive, but our District Assembly contacts are on the hunt for potential partners. Could Wa, the Upper West Capital, be a new base of CWS operations?

Volta Region is Ghana’s eastern portion and takes its name from the giant lake it borders. Roads might have been rough, but the fufu was delicious and the view of the mountains, incredible. Lakeside communities in particular seemed to lack access to potable water. Can CWS adapt what we do in Ghana’s smallest bodies of water to Ghana’s largest?

Then there’s our own backyard. Northern Region is HUGE -  one office could never serve all those communities here that could benefit from the CWS idea. After so many years, will our Dagomba pride really let us explore anywhere else while potable water needs exist all around us? Maybe Walewale or Salaga should be our next stop!

Before we make any decisions there is work to be done. Stay tuned for new office updates here!

 

-Kathryn

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