Plans and aims for eight weeks in Tanzania

For the upcoming eight weeks, we have planned a whole lot of things. How to integrate the travel in the overall project, what goals we are pursuing and what exactly we have planned, we want to share with you in this entry. 

The last preparations before the journey

First, it is important to know that we are defined as a research project and therefore our ways of implementation may differ from other Engineers without Borders projects (Exploration, Implementation, Evaluation), which usually follow a similar structure. For about nine years, the group has now been working on the SoWaDi-device and has accomplished quite a bit: the concept was elaborated, prototypes were constructed, a manual was created, devices were built in Darmstadt and Tanzania and technical improvements were carried out. 

What we are missing at this moment are long-term data, to maximize the output for the consumer, therefore we are still in a stage of testing. On the one hand the device built in Darmstadt this year, will serve for this purpose, as it was equipped with measurement instrumentation. But analyzing this data one has to keep in mind that the conditions in Tanzania are very different, than the ones we have in Germany. Therefore having long-term information on devices stationed in Tanzania would have be of great value for our work in the future and to achieve this, is one of the goals of this travel. Ensure the communication lines with the consumers and built as many devices as possible to maximize the data output.  

In summer 2019, our plan was to send out a team for six weeks, consisting of three people and building respectively two devices at two different locations. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we were able to extend it up to eight weeks, a four-people-team and add another location with two more devices. This gives us the chance to make a better comparison between the different units. Are the devices working better on one location or the other? Is there some kind of difference between the ones at the same location?

Other aspects will also be handled during the travel. The distribution group prepared a questionnaire for user, local NGOs, craftsperson and public authorities, which will help us to narrow down the main target group to perfectly adapt the device to their needs. The construction manual was also improved and will help to build up the devices with the locals. 

January the 8th Edgar, Jonas and Julius are the first getting on a plane with the destination of Tanzania. The first days will be all about meeting up with the project partner to plan more detailed their stay at the different spots. The following two weeks will be spent at Malage VTC in the area of Mwanga, where in 2017 two devices were built, which are not working at the moment. Our plan is to repair and update them both to our current standard of knowledge.  

After Mwanga the next stop will be at Kidia in Old Moshi, where the plan is to stay three weeks and built two devices. Jonas will not stay the whole three weeks, but will leave after the first one to meet up with Rebecca, who will be joining the group in Tanzania at that point.  

To maximize the profit that comes with a four-person-group, the group will be splitting. While Julius and Edgar finish up the work in Kidia, Jonas and Rebecca will be meeting up with different organizations for filling out the questionnaire, before travelling to the third location: a school in Boma Ng’ombe. 

Edgar will be leaving after finishing the devices in Kidia, so after the first 6 weeks. That is when Julius will be joining the others in Boma Ng’ombe. At the end of the 8 weeks Julius, Jonas and Rebecca will be visiting again all three locations with the goal of bringing all the users together. For us it is important that not only the communication between our group ant the users is fluent, we also want to give them the possibility to communicate among themselves without us being around.