Women become Entrepreneurs in Ghana through Water

Project: West African Women Providing Safe Water and Sanitation

Topics: ,

Source: Huffington Post
Source: Huffington Post

When the nonprofit Saha Global was started by an MIT grad student in 2008, the initial goal was to implement a water business run by women in Kasaligu, northern Ghana. It started with teaching one women, Fati, how to treat contaminated water from her village’s source using locally available materials that were simple to construct. Thus, Fati gained a business in selling the clean water, and her village of 1,000 people gained clean water. Now, seven years later, 178 women in northern Ghana have gained jobs, and their children and communities have become empowered through the work the women do. Although the women don’t make much money from their businesses, it is not insignificant, and in turn they invest it in their children, education and their communities.

“Kids used to complain of stomach pains in the mornings and many people used to have runny stomachs. But after the water treatment center was opened, all those complaints have stopped. I am happy to make sales and thankful for the opportunity given me”.

You can read the full article, and meet some of the other entrepreneurs, here.

A Look into the World of Water in Mali

Project: West African Women Providing Safe Water and Sanitation

Topics: ,

Source: Tara Todras-Whitehill/ WaterAid
Source: Tara Todras-Whitehill/ WaterAid

The Malian village of Diatoula, Mali, a West African country with 4.9 million people, a third of the population, lacking safe water. But 75% of Mali’s people don’t have adequate sanitation. Tara Todras Whitehill, with WaterAid, angles her camera lens at state of water in villages throughout Mali, and across Western Africa, and how people, mostly women and children, gather it for their families. A health clinic has a kiosk with a pump that provides water for the entire area, about 60,000 residents. Tanks near the kiosk also hold water, which is then pumped to the roof and subsequently pumped into sinks in the delivery room, and to the local school.

The water services have also provided income and stability for many women in the area, including Sitan Coulibaly who manages and sells the water.

‘Everyone comes to get water from here,’ she says. ‘It’s made a big difference. It’s my great pleasure to help the community,’ Coulibaly says

You can view the whole gallery, courtesy of The Guardian, here.

How Poverty hurts the Environment

Project: WISE Women's Clean Cookstoves Project

Topics: ,

Source: TRF/Kayode Ogunbunmi
Source: TRF/Kayode Ogunbunmi

Despite the fact that Nigeria is a leading producer of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and is seventh in the world for largest reserves of natural gas, it is also one of the biggest users of wood and charcoal fuels for cooking purposes. Given that wood is essentially free and that kerosene and other fuels are expensive and often difficult to obtain, it is easy to see how this dependence is unlikely to change. But using firewood has its costs. Death and injury from wood fires is frequent -98,000 women die each year from their use, according to a WHO report- and its effects on the environment can be equally devastating: Habitat destruction, air pollution and poor soil quality are just some lasting effects.

However the path foreword will be anything but easy, as there are many barriers to change. The largest barrier is the overall lack of “resources and political will” to implement and enforce the existing policies and laws.

Politicians must also tackle the barriers to positive change on the ground, experts say – starting with poverty, lack of access to electricity, and crippling power deficits in urban areas.

“We have to adopt policies that will make gas affordable. If this is done, fuel wood will become more expensive, and if we protect the forests, people will not be able to freely go into them to cut down trees,” he said. “Poverty is the greatest threat to the environment.”

To read more, see the full article, here.

The Ripple Effect Is Real

Project: Women Building a Water Movement in East Africa

Topics: , ,

by Gemma Bulos

Question: When would the equation 20 x 222 = 4588?

Answer: When you train 20 women how to build rainwater harvesting systems. They train 222 of their colleagues (84% of which were women). And together they build 31 tanks supplying water to 4588 people in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.  Help us amplify this impact by supporting our campaign on globalgiving.org today! 
Ripple_Effect2 (1) As a Stanford Social Entrepreneur Fellow for the Center For Democracy Development and the Rule of Law, I was honored to work with Masters Program students Sarah van Vliet and Savannah Hayes, who evaluated GWWI’s field data to assess the impact of our current Women-led Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) Service Center Training Program.

Sarah and Savannah combed through data that included hundreds of interviews with trainees, users and community members to objectively assess GWWIs impact for the first Phase of our 3-Phase WaSH Service Center Training where women learned to build rainwater harvesting technologies. They synthesized their analysis and distilled them into a powerful infographic.

We are most thrilled to share that the 20 women we trained in the current program:

* Provided water for over 4500 people;
* Reduced their water fetching time from 1 hour to 6 minutes;
* Trained 186 additional women; and
* Raised an average of $1860 to build more tanks and 70% reported an increase in personal income.

infograph 2 number of pax.jpg (1)


This of course is just Phase 1 of the 3-Phase Program. GWWI trainees learned how to build toilets last summer and in less than 3 weeks, they will be learning how to build filters and make chlorine at our next training in Kampala, Uganda.

You can join the ripple!  GWWI launched a month long campaign with globalgiving.org to raise $5000 for this next Phase of training where the women will learn a variety of ways to treat water! Please consider making a donation!

On March 12th, with every $25 donated, globalgiving.org will match 15%!

Thank you for helping us create powerful, measurable impacts for African women water leaders.

GWWI Partners with KIVA

Topics: ,

By Bess Zewdie, Research Intern

Jane Joseph, KSHP
Jane Joseph, KSHP

Global Women’s Water Initiative is thrilled to announce our new partnership with Kiva, the worlds largest – and highly successful – online micro-lending platform. Kiva allows contributors to fund loans in low socio-economic communities, where access to conventional means of financial support is not available.

This is done through their easy-to-use online system, where one can donate anything from $25-$100.This new partnership presents an invaluable opportunity to GWWI by helping two of our organizations service their local communities – Kilili Self Help Program (KSHP) in Kitale, Kenya and Women in Water and Natural Resources Conservation (WWNRC) in Kakamega, Kenya. These microloans are significant to our women due to the ability to finance entrepreneurial projects in a short amount of time, whilst paying themselves AND positively impacting their communities. These micro-business projects include the production and selling of handmade soap, shampoo, reusable sanitary pads and other sanitary-related products. In addition to income-generating purposes, microloans will assist households in purchasing the likes of 15,000 liter rainwater harvesting tanks to provide clean water in these Kenyan regions.

Rose Wamalwa, WWNRC
Rose Wamalwa, WWNRC

It’s no new revelation that the role of a woman in both the financial stability and sanitary health of her family is incredibly undervalued, particularly in the developing world. In East Africa, where KSHP and WWNRC are based, many women from low-income families are limited to household activities and farm work. Responsibilities beyond that, particularly finances, are left to men. Statistics show, however, that “poor women often have the best credit ratings. In Bangladesh, for example, women default on loans less often than men, and credit extended to women has a much greater impact on household consumption and quality of life for children,”(IFAD 2004). Due to their lack of access to the labor force, women are more inclined to be creative in their financial efforts, and more responsible in their spending.

GWWI is not only supporting and training KSHP and WWNRC about full WASH services such as construction, but we are also creating a framework of self-reliance. This self-reliance means that our women will continue to grow in their entrepreneurship endeavors long after our absence, and this partnership with Kiva will only further strengthen and sustain this vision.
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