Hello dear readers! My name is Ichikael Malisa, I am 30 years old and live near Moshi, Tanzania. I studied Mass Communication and since May 2019 I am project manager at the Kilimanjaro Childlight Foundation (KCF), the project partner of the SoWaDi project.
I spent my school time in boarding school where there only was river water to drink, as the school could not pay for treated water. From this time, I know the diseases like typhoid and diarrhea, which can be caused by drinking contaminated water. Even today, I have to admit that the water situation is bad, and many families are not yet sensitized to pre-treat the water they drink. Therefore, I was happy when I heard about the SoWaDi project in June 2019. I always thought that boiling water with solar energy only works with expensive solutions like ready-made solar systems. Even more, I was surprised that there is a device that you can build yourself with simple, locally available tools and materials! It shows adults and especially children in an impressive way, that we can sterilize water in a sustainable way and drink it without having to worry about our health. This not only has the great effect of disinfecting water but can also be used as a vivid example to impart knowledge.
In order to advance the implementation of this project, I am always in active exchange with the SoWaDi team and as a project partner I take care of the coordination and communication on the spot. A special challenge for me is the communication with the partner schools. The project fascinates me so much that I often work on it until late in the evening and answer questions of our partners.
Finally, Jonas, Julius, Edgar and soon Rebecca are here, and I am looking forward to building further devices together with them and their team in Darmstadt as well as to ensuring a long-term exchange with the users.
Last Monday, 27.02., we went to Kidia to visit my parents, where the three of them live now. After a short get-together with the family we met the construction team and teachers of Kidia Primary School. Unlike at Malage VTC, the construction team here consists of five volunteers from the community, some of whose children attend the school themselves. In addition to the device at the primary school, there will be another one at Mr. Charles Njau in Kidia, which will be accessible to the community.
Meanwhile, Jonas and I continued our trip to Mwika to evaluate a school there as a possible third location. After we returned to Kidia, my skills as a translator were in great demand on Wednesdays, as we held a workshop with 150 school children, first about water in general, and then specifically about the SoWaDi device. The following day Jonas, Julius and Edgar went to Moshi accompanied by two members of the construction team for the purchase of materials. Among other things it was necessary to find out where the required materials were available and for example where the sheet metal and pipe bending work could be done.
As there was a need at the Malage VTC for a readjustment of the devices, we agreed that Edgar and Julius would get the rest of the equipment needed the next day, while Jonas went back to Mwanga. All in all, we are well on schedule, which is not least due to the great commitment of those who are helping to build up SoWaDi. I was especially pleased that, contrary to their announcement to work alternately in daily shifts, all those who are involved in the construction have decided to invest their time in the construction of the devices. This makes me very happy and optimistic for the next week!
Then Julius, Edgar, all the helpers and I will finally get to work on setting up the water disinfection devices. The only factor of uncertainty for us remains the weather, because if it rains, we cannot continue working outside. So, keep your fingers crossed that the sun will shine next week! Apart from the SoWaDi implementations Rebecca will arrive next Monday and we will meet people we can interview about the distribution of the device. So far, we have not been successful in finding a suitable third location. But I am sure that we will find a solution and I hope that we will continue the close contact in the future. After all, good communication is essential for the success of the project. In the long term, it would be nice if the devices could supply safe water for a long time and if the people here could be involved in a sustainable way. Then SoWaDi devices could be built in the future without the help of the project team and the team would only have to come to do the inspection.