Life at Fluent

Fluent Dream Grant: Solving Problems with Opportunities

Jack Dream Grant Cover

This year, we rolled out Fluent Dream Grants, an initiative designed to give every Fluent employee the opportunity to pursue their personal dreams and passions. Learn more about the program here.

Dream Grant Destination: Tamale, Ghana

Saha Global HQ

Senior Marketing Manager, Jack Clopeck traveled to Tamale, Ghana with his sister, Kate Cincotta, to shadow and learn from her team at Saha Global.

The word “Saha” means opportunity in Dagboni, which is the local language spoken in Northern Region Ghana. Founded in 2008, Saha Global’s mission is simple: provide clean drinking water to those who need it most. Based in Ghana, with offices in Tamale (HQ) and Salaga, Saha Global focuses on rural villages that depend on dugouts as their primary water supply. These dugouts are shared with local animals and livestock and can contain a high volume of bacteria. In just three weeks, Saha constructs water centers, often near the dugout, and employees 3-4 women entrepreneurs to run the business. 

Water center in Sillinboma
Women entrepreneurs at a water center in Sillinboma

What was your inspiration for this trip?

My sister, Kate! A truly certified G, absolute kick-ass person, and someone who I have always looked up to. While working towards a master’s degree in Technology & Policy at M.I.T., Kate began to focus her studies on water issues in developing countries. She linked up with a professor and others who shared a similar passion, eventually identifying Ghana as an area in need, and developed the idea for Saha (formerly Community Water Solutions).

Opening day in Kalinka
Opening day in Kalinka

For the past 10 years, I have seen my sister’s hard work and time put into the NGO year over year. I’ve tried my best to support Saha in all ways possible – anything from running 5ks and attending benefit events, to Facebook fundraisers and reposting/liking everything on Instagram. I’ve primarily followed her business and journey from my seat here in the US and have never had the opportunity to travel to Ghana and see her and the team in action.

Dancing in Sillinboma
Dancing at opening day in Sillinboma

What was the day-to-day of your Dream Grant journey?

I spent a total of six days in Tamale, Ghana, staying at Saha Global’s offices. I was fortunate to spend four of those days out in the field with several members of Saha’s research and implementation team. This meant early mornings, waking up around 5:00 am to beat the heat and travel out to the villages, taking anywhere from 1-2 hours by taxi.

My time in the field was split between two villages:

Kalinka – a community with a Saha water center since 2013 (yes, over 6 years strong!). While there, I accompanied Mutala, a Saha R&D team member, to help distribute new buckets for families. We visited a total of 28 households, reinforcing why Saha was there, and sharing best practices when using materials.

Counting buckets in Kalinka
Mutala counting new buckets within a household in Kalinka

I returned two days later with Mutala and Kate for a re-opening of the water center in town. It was great to see familiar faces, and of course, the flowing of clean water into new blue buckets for those to drink. 

Children of Kalinka
Children of Kalinka (they loved my camera!)

Sillinboma – This was a brand new village for Saha. This particular trip out was the last one for the Saha team (pictured below) before opening day. I tagged along to see the final stages of preparation of the water center and distribution in the community.

Jack and Saha Global team
Me, Rashad, Esta & Shiraz

Rashad and Esta both joined Saha Global in September 2019, and Shiraz was leading them on their first full implementation and opening in a village. It was a great opportunity for me to shadow and learn from them throughout two days in the field.

What did you learn from your experience?

The true meaning of the saying “it takes a village.” I’ve never been anywhere in the states or elsewhere that I’ve seen a comparable cohesiveness amongst people who work and live together. Everyone has a role in each community. Whether they are 5 or 50 years old, there is a sense of responsibility to contribute and help each other.

Opening day in Sillinboma
The line at opening day in Sillinboma

At Fluent, we strive to learn, connect, innovate, and succeed – which of our core values applies to your experience?

Connect. It’s one thing for a non-profit or charity to raise funds and donate something to others. It’s a whole other thing to connect with those who are in need, educate them on the importance of the resource, and develop a relationship with them that leads to a change in behavior.

Mutala speaking to community
Mutala speaking to the community on opening day in Sillinboma

It is important to have buy-in from all members of a community or team in order to find success. Saha Global employs 30+ Ghanaians, who make up a variety of teams from training, research and development, implementation and monitoring. Since inception, all water centers (200+) are still in business today. From day one, it is clear that each center succeeded in connecting with the people they aimed to help.

Find out more about Saha Global and learn how you can help make a difference here.