Cheering for Change: How You are Encouraging Innovators in Ghana

“I run alongside, cheering her on.”

This is how iDE Canada board member Lindsay Poggemiller Smith describes her mentorship with Polak Fund winner Abdul Rahman Hamidatu.

Hamidatu won a Fail Fast Grant worth $20,000. She is testing her big idea that using recycled plastics in the construction of toilet facilities will make them more affordable for customers while remaining durable and comfortable. If this big idea succeeds, it will mean more people in Ghana will be able to afford toilet facilities, and that means people will be safer, more comfortable, and proud to own a toilet.

Lindsay and Hamidatu meet together every few weeks through a video conferencing platform (Lindsay is in Winnipeg, Manitoba and Hamidatu is in Tamale, Ghana). They also have a digital project log they use to keep up to date.

Hamidatu appreciates Lindsay’s enthusiasm and excitement for the project and says it helps keep her spirits high. Also helpful is the practical support Lindsay provides like working through challenges, helping with report writing and thoughts on choosing a manufacturer.

Lindsay is impressed with Hamidatu and her team, and believes they are capable of successfully testing and launching their big idea. The mentorship also provides the opportunity to get to know one another personally and celebrate life’s milestones (like Hamidatu’s recent marriage!).

Hamidatu and her team have recently completed the research phase of the project and have chosen two manufacturers to produce the recycled plastic tiles that will be used to build the toilet structure. From there they will compare the two products and ensure they comply with environmental standards.

Like Lindsay, you “run alongside” the Polak Fund winners. Your donations provided the funds necessary to award this Polak Fund grant, and through this, you are showing Hamidatu and her team that you believe in them and their big idea – thank you!

Are you interested in mentoring a Polak Fund winner? If you’re a supporter of iDE and have experience in business, you can reach out to us for more information at