BENEFITING: Saha Global
Two days after Christmas this year, I will be traveling to Salaga, Ghana to implement a water sanitation system. In this northern region of Ghana, many people lack access to a water source in the village, and spend hours every day to collect water for their families. The water that they collect is far from sanitary; it is fecally contaminated and is not even suitable to bathe in. Can you even imagine not having a water source within reach of your home, and spending hours to collect water that is dirtier than your toilet water? 60% of the population of northern Ghana lives like this.
But this is where I will step in!
You may be wondering why you or I should care about water scarcity and quality. Not only is drinking water one of the most basic neccessities, water accessibility plays a huge part in social issues. The issue of gender based discrimination still happens in developed countries, but in third world countries where clean water is an issue, this discrimination becomes extremely prevalent. The water crisis and women’s roles run parallel. It is estimated by the World Health Organization that women and children in countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, and Singapore spend 140 million hours each day collecting water that is not even be suitable to drink or wash with. This is time not spent on education, agriculture, caring for families, or other generating income. When girls reach an adolescent age they may have to stop attending school to aid their mothers in collecting water for the household. Carrying the heavy loads of water for hours can also cause serious physical injuries to the women and children. There are numerous simple technologies that help communities alleviate water inequity, such as the water sanitation system my team will be implementing.Using these technologies I will be improving the environment these women live in and be working towards a future where gender discrimination is a step closer to being diminished. The system is not complicated, and consists of flocculants to clump dirt together (I've worked with these in my lab before!) and a biocide to kill harmful bacteria. Once the system is complete, we will train the women to use it as a business. I can help the women in the community I'm working with by giving them something they can produce not only revenue for their families, but also give health to their community and therefore opportunity for growth. With new roles in families and communities comes a stronger voice for these women, and a step closer to sociopolitical equality.
"It was agreed at the meeting that it is critical to engage all sides and work hand-in-hand with governments, the United Nations, philanthropies, the private sector, and leading individuals and members of civil society groups to make progress in ending violence against women and girls and promoting their economic empowerment." - United Nations dialogues at the Economic and Social Council
Getting to Ghana will not be an easy feat financially though. The field representatives, such as myself, have to raise the start-up cost of the business - $2950. I also have to purchase round trip airfare costing $1500. While I am currently applying to every grant and scholarship I can find, and every penny from my paychecks that doesn't go towards my bills and school dues will be going to this project, this semester is going to be insanely busy for me and I will not have as much time as I would like to fundraise. I am working 10-20 hours at the Blacksburg Farmers Market each week, starting a research position with the Virginia Tech StREAM Lab, taking 18 credit hours, and staying involved in numerous other activities. With all this being said, I would greatly appreciate financial help from people who want to support this cause! Even if you decide to give up 1 Starbucks to donate $5 to start up the community's business, I would be overjoyed with your generosity. Any amount counts! This website, Crowdrise, does take 5% of the money you donate, so if you want 100% of your donation to go to the project, consider writing a check to
Saha Global PO Box 225342 San Francisco, CA 94122-5342
and putting my name in the memo portion of your check! *Bonus: All donations are tax deductable, and whether you make them through Crowdrise or mail them to Saha Global you will recieve a reciept to use when tax time comes around!
What I can to everyone offer is an updated blog of before, during, and after my trip on what the experience was like working with a community affected by the global water crisis. I will also create a video documentary of the project, and cannot wait to share all of this with everyone! What I'm creating here is some transparency into developing countries - no trying to make less of the situation, and no trying to make more of the situation. I want to simply display the water crisis how it is. This is also an opportunity for people who want to donate and support international development causes, but do not want to be unsure of where their money is going. Many international development ideas have little to no focus on sustainability - but Saha Global's does. A 5-year follow up will be done on the business, and you can check data updates of the project on Saha's website.
Even if you are unable to donate, please share this page with other people so that they might be able to! Thank you for taking time to read this. I truly believe empowering women in communities will help men, women, and children alike, and can change the world.
For more info, feel free to check out Saha Global's webpage (link below) http://sahaglobal.org/