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May 29, 2017
BENEFITING: Saha Global
This June, I'll be going to Tamale, Ghana to help start a water business with women entrepreneurs...
but I need your help to get there.
Every minute, a child dies from a water related disease.
For many villagers in rural Ghana, the only locally available water source are "dugouts" contaminated with fecal matter, creating a host of preventable diseases that impair the health and wellbeing of hundreds of thousands. For instance, drinking this contaminated water causes diarrheal disease, which is the 2nd leading cause of death for children under five.
What's more, these diseases are entirely preventable, using easy-to-obtain locally available materials. Often, all that's preventing local entrepreneurs from improving their access to clean water is the start-up capital and a bit of know-how.
This June, I'm going to be volunteering with an incredible organization called Saha Global to help women entrepreneurs in northern Ghana get a clean water social enterprise off the ground.
What is Saha Global?
Saha Global is a 501c(3) nonprofit that partners with communities in developing nations to establish sustainable social businesses that provide basic services, like clean water and electricity. The maintenance and operation of these businesses is funded by revenue from the business sales, so they can continue on long after Saha moves out. And most importantly, these businesses are completely owned and operated by women in the communities they serve, and use simple, affordable technologies to bring opportunities to these women that are nothing short of life-changing.
Needless to say, they are one of the most inspiring organizations that I’ve gotten to know, and I am so excited to be helping them out. As someone who has spent the last few years studying all sorts of strategies to help bring rural communities better lives in the face of climate change, I can tell you that many organizations struggle achieve the success and sustainability that Saha has – 100% of the business that they have started are still running! What a track record, no?
Now, you may be wondering why, if the businesses use such simple technologies, these women haven’t reached for this opportunity on their own. There are many reasons, but the biggest barrier is that starting a business costs money, and many of these women either don’t have the savings to buy the startup capital, nor do they feel comfortable with the idea of taking out a loan when they already may struggle to provide for their families.
So here’s where Saha comes in: it links up passionate college students and recent grads (like me!) with villages in need. We spend a month fundraising so we can donate, rather than loan, the startup capital to these women entrepreneurs, and then travel to the field to meet with village elders, train the women, and help monitor the business and iron out the kinks for while so that the business will be self-sufficient long after we head home. I will be working on a water filtration project in a Ghanaian village that currently is drinking water out of contaminated dugouts, leading to a host of preventable water-borne diseases. Luckily, once set up, this business will provide a permanent source of clean, drinkable water for the entire community.
And here's where I need your help: I'm trying to reach my goal of $3500 dollars by May 8th. Ambitious, yes, but if everyone opens their heart and finds just a little bit to give, we'll get there in no time!
For more info, go to www.sahaglobal.org.
How do the water businesses work?
First, women fetch water from their local surface water source, called a dugout. In most rural communities in northern Ghana, people have no other option but to to drink this fecally contaminated water.
Second, the women fill three 200-liter drums with the turbid dugout water that they collected.
Third, they use alum to remove the particles from the water, leaving the it clear. Alum is a coagulant, which causes suspended particles to clump together and sink.
Fourth, the women scoop the clear, settled water from the 200-liter drums into a polytank. This tank is where the water is disinfected with chlorine and stored.
Finally, the women sell the clean drinking water to their community for a small fee. They make enough revenue to cover the cost of running the business while earning a profit. Each community is different, so we'll work with the women to determine an affordable price. On average, the water price in Saha’a partner communities is 3 cents per 20 liters of water. Typically, this will provide enough clean water for a family for 2-5 days, depending on the size.
Besides providing the water drums, chlorine, and alum, the Saha Global Field Reps (that's me!) distribute Safe Storage Containers to every other family in the community. These 20-liter buckets have a lid and a tap, which make it easy to measure out the purchased amount, and helps to prevent water re-contamination in the home.
What will my money go towards?
The funds I raise will go directly towards starting the water business my teammates and I will be establishing, and ensuring that it keeps running after we leave. That means that your donations will allow for the cost of travel, the lodging in our Field Rep residence, the purchase of the start-up supplies (Safe Storage Containers, Chlorine Tablets, Alum Powder, etc), and finance the entrepreneur training sessions and the ongoing monitoring and evaluation check-ins that ensure the businesses run smoothly long after I've gone home again.
As Saha is a registered 501c(3), all your donations are tax deductible (hooray for side perks!)
We take clean water for granted, but for these women, the chance to provide it may change their lives.
Your generosity is the key to empowering these woman to move beyond their prior limitations and make a living, help their communities, and access clean water for what may be the first time.
I am delighted and honored to take part in this incredible opportunity, and urge you to help get me there.