community water solutions

Community Water Solutions empowers women to launch sustainable water businesses. How do we do it? We don't drill wells! Instead, we bring students and young professionals from around the world to West Africa, where they build water treatment centers and train local women to run them. These businesses provide safe drinking water to the entire community, generate income for the women entrepreneurs who run them, and use local products. To date, CWS has launched 60 water businesses in Ghana that provide clean water to almost 35,000 people. 100% of our businesses are still in operation today. Want to see our work first-hand? Apply to be a CWS Fellow and come to Ghana to work with us!


water businesses launched


women empowered


people served


children reached


students and young professionals inspired

our mission

is to launch water treatment businesses in communities of the developing world that:

  • empower women in the community
  • provide clean water for residents of that community
  • are run by members of the community and
  • generate economic growth.

recent blog posts



Founders' Story

CWS co-founder and Executive Director, Kate Clopeck graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Aerospace Engineering and secured her "perfect" job — a great salary, benefits and her own office. It was a great opportunity, but from day one she knew something was missing. She longed for the fieldwork that had been her passion as an undergraduate leader of clean water projects in Nicaragua and Cameroon. more...

read about the entire teamMeet the Team

Kate Clopeck

Kate Clopeck

Executive Director & Co-founder

Kate Clopeck is the Executive Director for Community Water Solutions. Over the past 8 years, Kate has worked extensively on water improvement projects around the globe including Nicaragua, Cameroon and Ghana. She earned a Master's of Science in Technology and Policy from MIT in 2009 where her research was focused on the sustained use of water treatment technologies in Northern Region Ghana. She holds Bachelor's in Science from the University of Virginia's School of Engineering and Applied Science. Prior to working at CWS, Kate was an associate engineer at Aerojet, an aerospace firm located in Virginia. Kate loves running marathons, traveling, and the island of Nantucket. She currently splits her time between Ghana and her hometown of Boston, MA.

Samantha Derrick

Samantha Reilley

Director of Operations

Sam graduated from Clemson University in 2008 with a degree in Health Sciences, with a concentration in Promotion in Education and a minor in Psychology. Upon graduation Sam went to South Africa to work for a non-profit in the Red Cross Children’s Hospital where she found her passion, international development. In December 2010 Sam was a part of the Winter Fellowship Program and implemented a water business in Channayili, Ghana. In April 2011, Sam joined the CWS Team full-time! Living in Boston, Sam frequents Ghana several times a year to lead the Fellowship Programs. Sam thrives off adventure!

Brianan Kiernan

Brianán Kiernan

West Africa Regional Director

Brianan first joined the CWS team as Ghana Country Director at the beginning of June 2012, shortly after participating in the CWS Winter 2012 fellowship program. She graduated from Boston College in May 2012, earning a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies with a focus in Economics and a minor in French. Brianan grew up right outside of Boston in Milton, Massachusetts. She enjoys running, playing soccer and is a big fan of mangoes!

Peter Biyam

Peter Biyam

Project Manager

Peter Biyam is Community Water Solutions' Project Manager and was our first full-time field staff member. He has worked with CWS since 2008, when we implemented our second water business in the village of Nymaliga. Peter was born and raised in Tamale, Ghana. He loves leading groups of CWS Fellows, reggae and the Lion King.