Ghanaian Women: One Water Business at a Time

Content Manager • 15 January 2018

In November 2017, with the support of the SDG Philanthropy Platform, Saha Global (SDG Innovation Challenge Winner) trained thirteen women who opened clean water businesses in four new communities in Northern Region Ghana.

 Kate Cincotta, Executive Director Saha Global

At Saha Global, we bring the cleanest water to the poorest people in northern Ghana by training village women to open water businesses that reach everyone. In this region, 800,000 people lack access to safe drinking water. There are few year-round streams and groundwater is inaccessible, so people collect rainwater in open ponds called “dugout”. The water is highly turbid and fecally contaminated. The water quality gets even worse when the rainy season ends and the dry season goes on and on.

Saha trains women in rural villages how to take this contaminated water and make it safe to drink by using two local products – alum and chlorine. Our process is simple – the water is collected by hand, treated by hand, purchased by local families who then carry it home in a Saha-provided “safe storage container.” This simplicity has been the key to our success. So far Saha has trained 293 women who have opened water businesses in 114 rural villages that provide clean water to 53,450 people. Despite the difficult conditions of working in rural areas without access to sanitation, Saha water stays clean. We test it monthly – 98% of the water sampled from people’s home is free from E.Coli.

While we are proud of our impact on the water crisis, these statistics only tell part of the story. These businesses do more than provide clean water to rural families in Ghana, they also provide opportunities to women in a setting where opportunities are very limited. Most women in rural Ghana have been collecting water for their family their whole lives, often starting as young as four years old. Partnering with Saha gives these women the chances to support their community in a field where they are experts. They have been in training for this job for decades.

These are the women that inspire our team everyday. They are mothers, daughters, grandmothers, community leaders, and now businesswomen. In November, with the support of the SDG Philanthropy Platform, Saha trained thirteen women who opened clean water businesses in four new communities in Northern Region Ghana.

Here are some of their stories:

Anda, Fuseina and Sawda from Nyshelia

Nyeshila is a rural village with 47 households and 559 residents. Saha trained Anda, Fuseina and Sawda about how to take contaminated water from the village dugout and make it safe to drink. They opened their business on November 19, 2017, and made 19.8 Ghana cedis on opening day. So far they have saved a total of 46 Ghana cedis.  

Anda is pictured below on the left. She suggested that all the women organize into a group called Asuntaba Nyeshila Women's Association ( "Help Each Other" Nyeshila Women's Association), and leads the ceremonial clap every day! Fuseina (middle), has 2 daughters and a son who came out on opening day. Swada (right), has yet to have children and teases people for asking about it. She accompanied Saha to all 47 households while we were distributing safe storage containers, including the Fulani houses. She was the first to arrive at the water business and the last to leave everyday.

Three business owners.


When we checked in with Swada on January 8th she said that “the business is going very good. There was a funeral yesterday and many buckets became earlier the day to be filled. There was a lot of people visit the funeral, everybody, especially the strangers were surprised about the clean water at the community!”

Safia, Mariam, and Adisa from Kuchani

Kuchani is a rural village of Fulani with 8 households and 110 residents. Before partnering with Saha, all members of Kuchani were drinking water that they fetched from a shallow, turbid, stream. This village is the first community that Saha has partnered with that has exclusively Fulani residents!

Water business owners

Safia (right), Mariam (middle) and Adisa (right) are pictured below. Unlike many other Saha businesses, these ladies decided to put the center in the middle of the town instead of by their water source and are filling by hand using jerrycans. This makes trips to buy water much easier for families in Kuchani but it makes treating water more difficult for Safia, Mariam, and Adisa. So far they are doing great and don’t mind their work. The water business opened on November 26, 2017. Every family came out to buy water on opening day. Since opening the water business they have saved 26 Ghana Cedis.

We last checked in with Mariam and Adisa on January 5th. They said “Sales have been going great, everyone still comes to the center anytime they run out of clean water”

These are just a few stories of the many that we hear everyday at Saha. We are proud and honor to be working with these incredible water entrepreneurs.


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