departing people are back in Germany for a month now. During this time a
lot has happened and we would like to give you a small update about our
current work as well as the situation in Tanzania and in Darmstadt with
this blog entry.
Our current work:
after the return of Rebecca, Jonas and Julius from Tanzania, the
follow-up of the departure started. This includes not only the viewing
of pictures, notes, etc., but also constant communication with our
project partner, the Kilimanjaro Childlight Foundation (KCF), and the
users of the units. Furthermore, the costs of the individual units are estimated and the interviews with the people on site are evaluated.
have established a support group that maintains contact with Tanzania
to collect feedback and the recording of the weekly sent measurement
data to maintain contact with Tanzania. The measurement data collected
in this way includes the daily water output of the 6 plants as well as
information on the weather. These weather data can be compared with the
data of an online database in the future and allow a more detailed
analysis of the output data.
the departure, minor design changes were also made to the unit, which
are now being discussed in the Performance Issues Theme Group and
included in the assembly instructions by the Instruction Group. Our goal is to include major design changes in the planned setup of the second test unit here in Darmstadt.
special focus is currently on measurement technology. Within the scope
of an Advanced Design Project (ADP), 5 students are working on a robust,
inexpensive and easy-to-implement measurement electronics, which will
be installed in our second test unit in summer. At
the same time, scales for characterizing the performance of the system
are to be determined. The ADP tendered for this purpose is supervised by
the Institute for Technical Thermodynamics at the TU Darmstadt.
Effects of the COVID 19 pandemic on our work:
course, the COVID 19 pandemic has a major impact on our work. In this
blog entry we would like to give you a short insight into the situation
in Tanzania. For this purpose, we have received insights into the
current life in Tanzania from Ichikael, our contact person at KCF, and
Gasiano, the headmaster of the Malage Vocational Training Center, where
the departure team has put the two units of 2017 back into operation
this year, which we would like to present to you here briefly.
Ichikael (Communication on the 1st of april):
has a son and also takes care of her nephew. Both of them have to stay
at home right now because the schools in Tanzania are closed. She takes
over the work of the teachers – unfortunately, the two little ones want
to go back to school despite all her efforts. Currently the question
arises whether the exams should also be written at home.
facilities such as markets and churches are still open, but mass events
have been cancelled. People who do not take the situation seriously are
particularly problematic. Many do not particularly restrict their
public life, hygienic protective measures, such as washing their hands,
are often not taken.
comparatively few people are in quarantine in Tanzania, the tension is
still noticeable. The infection figures from Europe are being followed
with great concern.
Gasiano (Communication on the 25th of march):
Gasiano describes the current situation as difficult. It is a pity that his school is closed to students; neverless he sees the situation positvely because of the still low infection figures. The teachers at his school continue to carry out their duties, such as maintaining the school or cultivating the school gardens. The government’s school closures are expected to continue until 17 April and will be closely monitored. If a school opens despite the governments‘ orders, the headmaster risks a permanent closure of the institution.
has five children. His daughter is studying in Xi’an, China and came
back to Tanzania in February because of COVID-19. The family is happy
that she is at home and everyone is healthy. Through various news
channels they are informed about the situation in other countries.
Especially the situation in Italy is followed with great concern.
are very happy that all users and contributors in Tanzania are doing
well according to the circumstances. Although public life is partly
restricted, this is the only way to slow down the spread of the virus.
The constant contact with the users on site is especially important in
some of our units are located on school grounds, some of them have been
put into standby mode. For this purpose, the absorber box is covered
with a plastic sheet that is impervious to light so that no components
are heated by the sun. At the moment three of the plants are in this
state. The remaining systems are still in use and measurement data is
sent to the support group on a weekly basis.
course, the way of working within the project group has also changed
over the last few weeks. Since everyone works in his home office,
alternatives for meetings and project group meetings had to be found.
For our meetings every second Tuesday we use a program for voice
conferences. There is a lot of communication via social media and
lectures can be presented via a special website.
In spite of all the technical helpers, we are looking forward to hours together again reunited in the university group house!
I’m Sara Konrad. At the end of this year’s journey, I’ll share a
different perspective from the back office. The back office has actively
supported the outgoers from a distance, but has also maintained the
normal project operations in Darmstadt.
I am 25 years old and am studying Mechanical Engineering and Energy Science and Engineering. Already since 2015 I have been working for Ingenieure ohne Grenzen in Darmstadt, but I started working for SoWaDi only two years later.
For a long time I was exclusively involved in the organisational work of the whole regional group, wrote newsletters, organised teambuilding events and coordinated the working media of the regional group. It was personally important to me to be involved in development cooperation. However, after two years, during which I was purely involved in organisational work, I wanted to get into a project and decided to join SoWaDi. Especially in the project SoWaDi it is very well possible to enable many people to have a better life situation by improving the water supply. In SoWaDi I had the feeling to be able to use my knowledge from my studies in the best possible way.
At the beginning of my project work the outgoing team of 2017 had already been back from Tanzania for a few months and the phase of follow-up work was in full swing, so that plant optimisations resulting from the journey were tackled. The trip to Tanzania had shown that the plant could be optimized at some points in order to contribute to higher efficiency and robustness and to simplify the distribution. My task was to deal with the glass breakages that occurred in Tanzania. One of the results was that the highly stressed lower glass pane was divided into several small glass sheets.
technical challenges of SoWaDi it was not possible for a long time to
find a location for a test plant in Germany which would have allowed us
to have the plant in operation for more than six weeks. Therefore I was
very happy that we finally found a location in early 2019 and a few
months later we could build a plant at the TU Darmstadt which will be
there for at least 3 years. This enables us to test changes in practice
and collect long-term data.
the skills I have acquired through the engineering work, I have learned
a lot about working together and efficiently in large groups. Since
October 2018 I have been the contact person of SoWaDi and have learned a
lot about successful group management and organisation and was able to
use the already acquired skills from my IOG beginning time.
Furthermore, this work has made me much more sensitive when it comes to intercultural communication and development cooperation. Also the attendance of some seminars for further education of Engineers without Borders has contributed to this. Through this work I have gained a completely different perspective on topics such as everyday discrimination and racism.
the outgoing team was working in Tanzania, it was my job to support
them as much as possible and to derive tasks that the back office can
take over for them. This way they could concentrate fully on their tasks
on site, while I always knew what was coming up for them and was
involved in the important decisions.
activities of our back office team were mainly of an organizational
nature: we wrote the blog entries and donation reports, answered
questions from the outbound team and in doing so, promoted the long-term
orientation of the project.
addition, we had enough time during to bring in the communication
between us as SoWaDi team in Darmstadt and the users of the facilities.
The nice thing about it was to see that not only we could give input to
the people on site, but also the dedicated users gave us suggestions for
improvement of our work, so that we are already a well-rehearsed team
with most of the users. This was a very important sign, which reflects
the good course of the departure and hopefully is an example of how
things will go when the outgoing team is back in Darmstadt.
am also particularly pleased that the project will continue in Germany.
The test phase is also entering the next round here in Germany: In
cooperation with the Institute for Technical Thermodynamics at the TU
Darmstadt, we want to further optimize our measurement technology
concept to increase the efficiency of the system. A twin is to join the
plant, which is already here in Darmstadt, at the beginning of summer.
The idea is that the improvements we will be making to the twin plant
will not only be implemented even faster, but above all we will be able
to evaluate them directly in comparison with the standard plant.
Last week, the departure team had important meetings with the project partner, which had to be conducted directly with the responsible persons on site. These meetings were extremely important, so that the Kilimanjaro Childlight Foundation can be the interface between us and the users in the future, should there be any problems with the installations or with the communication among each other.
On Wednesday 04.03.2020 Jonas, Julius and Rebecca started their journey home with a heavy heart and arrived safely in Germany on Thursday morning.
that they have left the country, the first thing to do is to do some
follow-up work so that no valuable knowledge is lost. There have been a
lot of exciting discussions on the subject of the distribution of the
plant and we have to continuously process the data we constantly receive
from the users.
the immediate follow-up is complete, the biggest challenge for the team
will be to crystallize the other essential project tasks and to focus
on the newly set goals. These will certainly include, among other
things, the technical challenges that arose during the construction of
the six plants, which the outgoing team will report on in detail in the
in all, I am extremely pleased that the departure went well despite
some minor challenges. We can be really satisfied and proud, the long
preparation was worth it. An extraordinary amount was achieved, not only
by the outgoing team and by us in the back office, but also by the
people on site, most of whom we did not even know before leaving. The
fact that the feedback from working together on site was always positive
was a welcome reward for the last months of intensive preparation.
We realize how important it is to continue working on our project. Not only because we ourselves are fascinated by it, but also because the local people see the necessity of the plants and their advantages over existing methods of water treatment. The problem of the water situation is and will continue to be topical in many regions of the world and for all these people it is worthwhile to further revise the plant and to optimise dissemination strategies so that as many people as possible can benefit from it.
my name is Samwel Emmanuel Masaga and in this blog I will tell you
about the current state of the SoWaDi project and my role in it. First
some things about me: I am 25 years old, live in Moshi, studied Wildlife
Management at the Sokoine University of Agriculture and work as Project
Manager at KCF (Kilimanjaro Childlight Foundation). In this function I
have only been working on the project since February and had great
respect for getting into the subject. However, with the help of Rebecca,
Jonas, Julius and Edgar, it was made very easy for me to get started,
so I now feel in good hands with the project. I like the fact that I
always have the chance to learn something different, to have new,
intensive encounters with different communities and thus broaden my
horizon. Above all, I find it remarkable that the project aims to
improve the water situation in our communities.
I was little, we sometimes boiled the water on a fire, but that always
involved a lot of work. Before that, firewood has to be collected and
brought home. This sometimes involved long journeys and after the
working day my parents were usually too tired for that. Drinking it from
the tap is much more comfortable. But here in the region it is mostly
coupled with health risks. I am convinced that SoWaDi can make a big
I was not allocated to the project that long yet, I had the chance to
watch the completion of the first plant in Kidia, the second location,
together with Jonas and Rebecca. I was very impressed to see the hot
water and some steam leaving the plant. Treating water with the sun is a
rather unknown technology and many, including myself, find it difficult
to understand directly what exactly happens. After seeing the plant in
action for the first time, I had no doubt that the water is actually
To give you an impression of the last week and my work at SoWaDi I would like to tell you a little bit about it:
the beginning of the week, the construction team, together with Jonas,
Julius and Rebecca, completed the sixth and last plant of this trip.
Julius and Rebecca held a workshop on water and hygiene at the secondary
school in Kidia. During the almost two hours, interesting questions of
the about 60 students about different aspects of water and especially
about its treatment arose.
in the week, Jonas and Julius went on to the Malage VTC. There they
worked on the last open points and took water samples of the first two
plants again to make sure that they continue to deliver safe water.
Meanwhile, Rebecca and Ichikael travelled to Arusha to meet with Dr.
Hilonga from Nanofilter and Dr. Machunda from the Nelson Mandela African
institute of Science and Technology. Primarily topics concerning the
possible future expansion of the plant were discussed, but contacts were
also made to further benefit from each other and to exchange knowledge.
Friday I learned how to take water samples together with Rebecca and my
KCF colleagues Samier and Ichikael. We were professionally trained by
our contact person at MUWSA, the local water authority in Moshi.
functionality of the plant should be checked at regular intervals
during the test phase. For this purpose, it is necessary that water
samples of the untreated input water and the safe output water are taken
to a laboratory and examined there. My colleagues and I take over the
task of taking the samples from the plants and handing them over to the
laboratory. Here we have to pay special attention to the fact that
mistakes during sampling can lead to incorrect results. I was able to
learn all this and much more during the training. I am pleased to be
able to actively shape the test phase with this newly acquired
the end of this successful week, we all drove to the Secondary School
in Kidia on Sunday to do a “get together” with all users of all the
facilities. The aim was for everyone to get to know each other and to be
able to support each other in the future if necessary. As a contact
person of the KCF I also play an important role in this, especially when
Jonas, Julius and Rebecca are back in Germany. We took the opportunity
to visit the plant there together, and there was a lively exchange on
the similarities and differences between the respective plants.
So far, we have built six plants together at three different locations here in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania and have already been able to help some people to get access to safe water. This is what I really wish for: That this project does not just take place in a few spots, but becomes big. It should spread further, not just in one or two places, but throughout Tanzania and beyond. I am sure that there is a demand for SoWaDi plants, which are easy to operate and maintain, in many places in Tanzania. Above all they are an alternative way to get germ-free water without time-consuming wood collecting and without laborious wood fires. I think that currently especially smaller schools and orphanages can benefit enormously from this technology, because the daily output of the plant is still too little for larger facilities. Because it was very easy for me to understand the plant and to get familiar with the project, I am sure that there are always people who are also enthusiastic about SoWaDi. These people will then be willing to take over the task of operation and maintenance and thus contribute to an improvement of the living situation in their environment.
my name is Julius Breuer, I am 26 years old and I have lived in
Darmstadt now for 6 years. There I study Master of Mechanical and
Computational Engineering at the Technical University. I rather
coincidentally found my way to “Engineers without Borders” via a project
of the university and joined the project SoWaDi with enthusiasm: In
contrast to my studies, I was able to deal with technical questions in a
very practical way. I was able to share this motivation with many
others. Together we have learned to approach emerging problems. In the
process friendships have developed which I would not want to miss
the beginning I took over the evaluation of measurement data at SoWaDi.
In order to further improve the evaluation, we decided to build a test
facility with measuring instruments. This way we would like to learn how
to further optimize the plant. Today it is located at the Lichtwiese in
Darmstadt. Since the conditions here are not the same as those where
the systems will serve their purpose in the future, this is also a major
goal of our current departure: We would like to equip further solar
water disinfection plants with measuring instruments for data
acquisition on site, in order to create a basis on which we can build in
planning our departure to Tanzania, a problem became apparent:
Unfortunately, we were not able to make good use of the experiences
gained during our visit in 2017 and build on them. With the fluctuation
of those involved at that time, a lot of knowledge was also lost. We are
therefore developing various strategies for knowledge management. One
of the tools we are using is a kind of project wiki. But personal
contact should not be underestimated when passing on knowledge. So it
was also our good luck that Kasimir told us in detail about his
experiences, the country and the culture before leaving and answered our
questions. In the end, this also increased our anticipation of a
journey that would bring new experiences, impressions and perspectives.
are now at the end of our journey. If we want to stick to our goals,
there should be no problems that cost us time, because there are only 10
days left. Although we have almost finished the construction, we still
want to connect the different plant supervisors* so that they can
support each other and develop a network that ensures the maintenance of
the plants on site. We also want to strengthen the contact from Germany
and thus contribute to the long-term preservation of the project. In
this respect the week was very successful. Like the others last time, I
would like to tell you about our last week in the following:
On Monday we were able to start the week successfully with a user training for the fourth plant. On Tuesday, Sam from KCF and I set off for Rombo, while Edgar enjoyed his last full day in Moshi before leaving for Germany on Wednesday. In the Rombo region, Sam and I visited the Mamtukuna Folk Development College, which could become a future project partner, as they have all relevant aspects for the construction of the plant. However, there is a lot of rebuilding going on there at the moment, so the location was not yet available for the current departure. Afterwards I met a contact person of a project of the Regional Group (RG) Cologne in Mashati. We had got to know the project of the RG Cologne in advance during an association-wide exchange of experience on the topic of “water, sanitation and hygiene” and found out that we are active in the same project region. Their project is the construction of a large rainwater cistern at a school. This is to improve the water situation at Maki Secondary School. Also the RG Köln was missing important data. Therefore, we interviewed a stone supplier, visited a reference project and surveyed the area for the new facility in terms of building heights and gradients. We also benefit from the cooperation in the region: Through them, we have found our partner organisation KCF and are able to take on smaller tasks for each other before leaving the region.
Thursday I drove back to Kidia, where Rebecca, Jonas and I worked with
the construction team on the penultimate plant. They had been working on
it since Monday and for the first time during this trip they bent the
sheets for the absorber themselves. This worked very well with the help
of a self-made sheet metal bending device built according to the
operating instructions. But there was no time to take a rest, so after
the completion of the fifth plant we immediately brought all the
necessary materials to the sixth location, in order to start building
the last plant on Monday.
week ended on Sunday in Kidia in the church. There we were invited to
the church service and could present our project to the church community
afterwards. We talked about the relevance of safe water. Afterwards we
were able to answer the invitation and invite those present to visit one
of the plants and ask further questions.
back on the week, I ask myself more and more: How can we ensure that
the newly built solar water disinfection plants function as long as
possible, that knowledge about their construction, use and maintenance
is preserved and disseminated? The sustainability of our work is of
particular concern to me, and the experience I have gained allows me to
reflect more critically on development cooperation than before. I must
also always keep a critical eye on my own actions. Cooperation is often
not as easy as I thought in advance and we have to improvise a lot in
order to achieve common goals. Before we left, for example, I didn’t
expect language to be as big a barrier as it actually is, since many of
our project partners* here hardly speak any English and I don’t speak
I am curious about the next few days and excitedly await the test phase of the six plants that have been erected. Many greetings from Kidia, yours, Julius.
my name is Stephen Makyara, I am 32 years old and live with my family
in Kidia, near Moshi. At the end of 2019 I heard about the SoWaDi
project from Ichikael Malisa, because she was looking for volunteers to
help building two SoWaDi plants in Kidia. I think it is very important
that all children of Kidia Primary School should benefit from the
plants, which also includes my son. I was very interested in helping
with the construction of the plants in order to learn more about the
function, the construction and important factors for the building of a
solar thermal water disinfection plant. The last two weeks I was
therefore involved in the construction of the first two plants in Kidia.
During the construction we encountered several problems. The water
containers were initially leaking and the glue we used did not hold well
at first. Fortunately, we were able to solve the problem at the
beginning of the week. The 10 meter long copper pipe has to be bent
several times. To save time we first tried to buy a bending tool, but
could not find one. In the beginning I was sceptical if it would work
well to bend the copper pipe by yourself. In the end, bending the pipe
worked better than expected.
assembling the equipment I learned a lot about the alignment of the
copper pipe to the input container. It is important that the container
and the pipe are placed at the right distance to each other so that the
water is heated sufficiently and all pathogenic bacteria are killed.
However, one of the biggest challenges during construction was to
provide the insulation for the plant. I know a lot about building houses
and the materials needed to do so, in addition to the work with the
animals that my family owns ( goats, a cow, chickens and a rooster), I
build houses. But the houses here are not insulated. For the existing
plants at Malage VTC, sisal was used to insulate. We could also get
sisal from the Mwanga region for our plants. In the middle of the week
we were able to complete the second plant here in Kidia. On Friday the
plants were handed over to the teachers of the vocational school, who
will use the plant together with the students every day. They discussed
what to pay attention to when using the plant. In addition, the teachers
will be in close contact with the users of the Malage VTC and the
project team in Darmstadt for the next few years to collect and evaluate
data and experiences of use over.
Monday and Tuesday, Jonas and Rebecca visited the Meli Secondary School
again, where the next two plants were supposed to be built.
Unfortunately, they encountered problems in the final phase of
preparations.In the end, no plants can be built at Meli Secondary
School. We, the volunteers from the construction team, have therefore
agreed to build two more facilities in Kidia at short notice. Two of my
team members, Charles and Thomas, started buying materials for the other
facilities on Wednesday. Since the facilities are no longer new to us
and we know what is important when it comes to the materials needed, my
team members were able to purchase the materials independently. Together
with Ichikael, Julius and EdgarI visited possible locations for the
two additional plants and the decision was made in favour of Kidia
Secondary School. In addition to the school children of Kidia Primary
School, the students of Kidia Secondary School can also benefit from the
project. I will be part of the team again when the next two facilities
are going to be built next week.
I said, we successfully completed the second plant in the middle of the
week. Thursday and Friday I had a long talk with Rebecca, Julius and
Ichikael about my experiences as a craftsman and my impression of the
SoWaDi plant. I hope that helps the SoWaDi team to find a suitable
dissemination strategy so that as many people as possible can benefit
from the project in the future. From my point of view SoWaDi has many
advantages compared to other systems for water treatment. The people
here in Kidia are currently using many resources to boil water. With the
system we only need the sun. This saves a lot of work that we usually
spend collecting firewood. Once the system is paid for and installed,
there are no running costs. I hope that more SoWaDi plants will be built
in the future.
Karibuni and hello to you all, my name is Rebecca James and in this blog entry I will tell you about my first experiences in Tanzania. I arrived on Monday the 3rd of February to support Jonas, Julius and Edgar, who have already been here for four weeks. Before I tell you, what has happened so far, I would like to introduce myself briefly.
I am 23 years old, finished my bachelor in Energy Economics last year and since then I have been living in Darmstadt, where I am now studying the Master in Sustainable Urban Development at the TU Darmstadt. In November last year I went to my first meeting of Engineers without Borders. Around that time, they were just looking for a fourth person to travel to Tanzania and I felt like I was being addressed directly. At first, I had some doubts, because I didn’t really know the project nor the people. Nonetheless, I was looking forward to a departure, as I had already been to Bolivia for twelve months at the age of 18 as part of the Development Volunteer Service and later I had completed a semester abroad in Colombia.
project group gave me a warm welcome and I quickly participated in the
meetings of the team leaving towards Tanzania in order to learn as much
as possible about the project during the short preparation time I had
the project I am part of the distribution team. In this team we are
trying to find ways how the project can be used by many people in the
future, as I am confident that the SoWaDi devices can help people all
over the world to get access to safe water. In this way we are trying to
collect information based on which we can evaluate different
distribution concepts. Concretely for the time abroad this means that we
have prepare interviews and questionnaires and contacted suitable
interview partners. For the distribution team and me this has not been
easy, especially in the last few weeks, because so much was already
happening in Tanzania and it was difficult to identify possible
interview partners from Germany at the same time.
So now, instead of writing exams, I am in Tanzania and am gaining experiences that would not be possible in Germany. What one often forgets is that you can plan and prepare a lot of things, but then it often turns out very differently. Here, things are more spontaneous and easygoing than in Germany and yet together we improvise and always find a solution that everyone is satisfied with. I am really looking forward to the next few weeks. Projects and practical experiences like these are important to me, so that I am willing to create the space for them in my studies.
On Sunday a week ago, I left Frankfurt and arrived in Moshi on Monday, February 3rd. There I met with Jonas, who had previously been in Mwanga our first location. After the first night in Moshi I had time on Tuesday to settle in a bit before some meetings with the project partner were on the agenda. Later, Jonas and I planned the first meetings for the distribution interviews. Since we were still looking for a third location at that time, we visited the Kiwoce Open School in Moshi the next day. Then on Thursday we visited the laboratory of the local water supplier MUWSA, where we had our water tests done for all devices. This is also an important part of the Project, to be able to judge if water is suitable for treatment and how effective the SoWaDi devices are working. As expected, the tests so far have delivered good results. Later Jonas and I visited the Meli Secondary School as another possible location where we could get a first impression of the water situation at the school. On Friday we had the opportunity to meet Mr. Swai for a more detailed discussion. He has been active as a consultant in the field of innovation and water supply for a long time and could answer all our questions about SoWaDi from an entrepreneurial perspective. On the same day we also had a detailed discussion at the
Secondary School and finally decided to implement the project there in
the next three weeks. Afterwards, Jonas and I drove to Kidia, four
kilometers away, when the construction team there, together with Julius
and Edgar, just finished the first plant. Although there were some
challenges with a few components such as the insulation and bending of
the copper pipes, “TZ03” could be put into operation as planned thanks
to the very motivated, independent and precisely working team. The first
output was definitely my most impressive event last week, as it was the
first time, I could see the system “in action”! Together with 150
children of the Kidia Primary School I marveled at how the hot water
flowed out of the absorber pipe.
we did not manage to do all the interviews for the distribution like we
had planned in this overloaded week. Therefore, we want to reserve one
day in the next weeks for it. But we are happy to have finally found a
suitable third location where we can build two more devices. After
various attempts at other locations turned out unsuccessful for
different reasons, such as chemical contamination of the water (the
SoWaDi devices only treat microbiological contamination) it is now clear
where we will continue next week. The Meli Secondary School is located
far outside of Moshi on an unpaved road and gets its water from a
spring, as it is not connected to the public water network. There we can
implement our project effectively and together with the teachers and
students on site improve the water situation a little bit. Just as in
Mwanga and Kidia, here we also plan to build two systems. This will be a
real challenge, as we were not able to plan as much in advance as at
the other two locations. However, we are happy to take on the situation
and are looking forward to starting there directly on Monday and getting
to know the team!
Jonas and I are working there, the “TZ04” device will be completed next
week in Kidia with the help of Julius, Edgar and the construction team.
Next Sunday there will be an open event, to which the whole community
is invited and where one will hopefully be able to see two finished
SoWaDi systems. Here the devices will be presented and a workshop about
“clean water” will be offered. This will give us the opportunity to talk
to the locals, answer questions and collect information for market
research and distribution. Apart from that we want to make up for
missing distribution interviews in the further course of our journey.
All in all, I hope that our stay in Tanzania will provide us six
functioning devices and that we will find new ideas for further. With
the information and the contacts gathered, we hope that the distribution
group will be able to assess better who the target group is and where
the equipment can be used most effectively. In the long run, my wish is
that the project will be so far developed that SoWaDi devices will be
built worldwide wherever people have no better possibility for water
treatment and thus the water situation will be improved sustainably.
Cross your fingers for us.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
Hello, I am Edgar Dingeldein, 58 years old, married and with two children. I live south of Darmstadt in an area called Modautal.
am an architect and right now I am head of the Department of
Construction Management and Technical Operations of the Technical
University of Darmstadt. After secondary school I started a two-year
formation as a carpenter and cabinetmaker and worked afterwards in a
workshop for people with disabilities as well as a carpentry. 1985-1992 I
studied architecture at the Technical University of Darmstadt.
Immediately after graduating as architect I found an architect`s office
with three other graduates and was co-owner just until 2008, when I
decided to look for new challenges elsewhere. My destiny brought me back
to my roots and so I ended up again at the Technical University of
the several journeys throughout Africa, where I ended up in Morocco,
the Sahara, through the Atlas Mountains as well as to Kenia, the topic
of clean drinking water always was an omnipresent companion. In rural
areas more than in cities, but nonetheless even in cities it is not
possible to drink tap water without boiling it first. The consequences
of drinking water that is biologically or chemically contaminated can be
devastating. Kids that are unable to attend to school or parents to
work, but also chronic illnesses or a lower life expectancy. Personal,
familial or social developments are directly dependent on the
availability of drinking water. I asked myself if I could contribute in
any way to the improvement this situation and that is how I ended up
joining the local group of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) in Darmstadt.
Here I am an active SoWaDi member since November 2018. I like to be
part of actual projects and to bring in my experience. EWB is not only
well prepared in the technical area and the content, but also works very
reflected on the topic of development cooperation. The work is
interdisciplinary, everyone is able and welcome to join and that is a
concept I really like. Within SoWaDi I work in the subgroup performance
where I can contribute technical expertise in the fields of
construction, design, materials and woodworking. Furthermore, for our
mission here in Tanzania I took over the job as photographer.
leaving we had numerous obstacles to overcome. The three subgroups
performance, manual and 3D-modeling could work together even more
effectively and optimize the interfaces, thus enabling the concept to be
worked out even better.
challenge for all of us is the semester-related fluctuations in student
numbers, and personally my job at TU Darmstadt is also very demanding.
The fluctuation among students requires a great deal of effort to ensure
that knowledge is maintained and transferred. The changes that my
involvement with Engineers Without Borders brought about, were most
noticeable in relation to my free time, which I invested largely in
project work. Especially the preparation for the departure was very
time-consuming. Although this was to be expected, it was still more than
anticipated. At the same time, I received an incredible amount of
positive feedback and interest from my personal environment. The
development cooperation and the SoWaDi project are new for me and led to
a completely different way of approach to the younger generation, since
the group consists mainly of students.
important things happened in this last week? First of all, our
Tanzanian partners, together with Julius, Jonas and I have repaired both
devices and mastered some challenges such as material purchase. We were
under some pressure and often had to improvise. With team spirit and
commitment, we nevertheless succeeded in getting both devices up and
running on Friday as planned. Unfortunately, we were not able to make a
fresh tea with SoWaDi water because the sun did not play along. Finally,
a last meeting with the users on site was held to discuss the further
procedure and to establish a communication channel for close
cooperation. In the meantime, we returned from Mwanga to Moshi and
discussed the implementation of the project at the next location.
Retrospectively, what impressed me most at our first stopover was the
wonderful hospitality of Gasianus and his wife as well as his commitment
to the Vocational Training Center and the students.
From now on, however, it is time to prepare for the next location: Kidia Primary School. The general conditions there are still largely unknown, and it will certainly be exciting to arrive there and deal with the situation. Our plan is to first discuss the situation with all those involved, to emphasize the importance of an intact water supply together in workshops and to go shopping. All in all, I hope to gain more knowledge of the SoWaDi device from this journey on the one hand. On the other hand, I am curious to find out how what we have been planning for so long will look like and work when implemented. Personally, I think regular changes of perspective are important and I want to broaden my horizon. I want to see new facets of the world with my own eyes, because usually media only show the world in a filtered way. SoWaDi is a genius idea, but there are still question marks regarding the benefits and costs of the system. Despite these uncertainties, I hope that the project will find broad acceptance.
my name is Gasianus L Senzighe. I am 63 years old and head of the
technical college, the Malage Vocational Training Center (VTC), in my
hometown Mwanga, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. In 1982 I had the chance to
visit Germany in the course of my teachers training, where I was able to
gain some experience at different German vehicle manufacturers. After
my return I knew I wanted to pass my knowledge on to others and I
decided to establish my own technical college. 2014 I returned to
Germany where I was told about the SoWaDi project in Darmstadt. In my
opinion the topic safe water is still not taken as serious as it should
be and many people keep on drinking germ-contaminated water. The aspect
that most impressed me with the SoWaDi-device was its simplicity. It
does not depend on expensive material, like firewood or gas to work, but
rather uses the energy provided by the sun. That is the reason I became
part of the whole project.
some of my students, the SoWaDi team and I built up two devices at the
Malage VTC in 2017, the system boiled water for a few months. Therefore,
we were able to provide water to those who could not to boil it
otherwise. Sadly, with the passing of time the devices started to
decrease their output, but together with Jonas, Julius and Edgar we are
going to solve those problems and update the devices on the
Last Monday the team arrived safe and sound here at Mwanga, although Julius returned to Moshi on the same day to explore the other locations in Tanzania and meet up with potential partners on the following days. On Tuesday Edgar, Jonas as well as the students and teachers got to know each other through a workshop about water, hygiene and the SoWaDi device. In addition, a team for updating the devices was put together. Together they took the first water samples to ensure that the water to be treated meets the requirements. The following day Edgar, Jonas and the team examined the devices and came up with a shopping list for improving everything that needed to be done. Therefore, two of the students, the complete SoWaDi team (Julius had returned by now) and I could go and get the materials needed the next day. Friday finally we could start repairing the first device. Sunday, I took the team along with me to the weekly meeting of Rotary Club Mwanga, where I am a member. I was glad to hear that the Rotary Club in Darmstadt also supports SoWaDi. All in all, I am more than happy to see how the difficulties concerning the device are being approached with motivation by everyone. I can only hope that the students and teacher here at the Malage VTC will be incorporated in all the details of building up the device, so we can ensure to be able to run and maintain them on our own in the future.
In the following week we will finalize the construction and learn more about the functioning. It is also very important to establish a line of communication with the local group in Darmstadt before my three guests leave for their next stop. For the future my biggest wish is to strengthen the partnership, to keep on learning from each other and provide assistance when problems occur.
my opinion a lot of people could profit from SoWaDi in the future.
Technical challenges are being understood and removed quicker, therefore
the buildup will probably be faster and easier. It is important to
integrate the teachers in this whole process, so we can ensure that
upcoming generations of students can also learn and profit from the
devices. It has made me hopeful to see that some teachers and students
want to introduce SoWaDi in their villages and are thinking about even
implementing it there too.
I’m Jonas Jeckstadt, 25 years old and living in Darmstadt, where I have
been working as implementing engineer three years now. For my work I
need to travel to different countries, therefore I am experienced in
implementing projects in unknown cultures.
am part of engineers without borders and active in the group SoWaDi
since 2017. At first, I worked in the group, that came up and improved
the manual. But my first months in the group were not easy, quite a few
knowledge gaps had to be filled, as experienced members had left and
taken much of the knowledge with them.
those challenges, from the beginning I had the feeling that I was doing
good work that actually helps people. I feel how every little bit of
work that I invest into the project, has a positive impact on the
outcome of the project. At the same time, I am able to work with people,
that have the same mindset and ideology, people that I can by now even
the beginning of last year together with Sara and Julius, I am one of
the group leaders. My responsibilities are keeping contact to our
project partners and I have initiated the improvement of our knowledge
management, to prevent us from losing valuable knowledge again.
it has been only four days since we arrived, I can already look back on
some positive events. It all started with our flight through Ethiopia
landing at the Kilimanjaro International Airport in Tanzania on
Right at the airport Edgar, Julius and I were greeted and picked up by our project partner IchikaelMalisa, which for me personally was a very special moment, as we had been in close contact since June. We had spent months planning our visit in Tanzania and then all of a sudden we see each other in person for the first time and I knew the following two months would make up for all the effort. From the airport we drove to Moshi to leave our luggage at the hotel and went for a walk to get to know the city we are going to spend some time in.
day after our arrival we had a meeting scheduled at the KCF. Ichikael
and the whole team at the KCF are unbelievable cooperative and do
amazing work. Already on Friday I felt like time was flying by and that I
was longer in Tanzania than I actually was. The same day we meet with
the governmental Water and Sewerage Authority for
the community of Moshi and surroundings (MUWSA), as we are going to
order the analysis of water samples there to compare the quality of
water before and after the treatment with our device. After those two
bigger events, we had to get things like a SIM card, cash or equipment
for the testing of water.
Monday we are leaving for the Malage VTC where we will spent the next
two weeks with our partner Gasianus Senzighe. The two devices that were
built there in 2017 must be looked at closely and updated urgently.
the upcoming two months, I hope to achieve everything we have planned,
although the schedule is very tight. Most thrilling for me will
definitely be, the meeting of all kind of different people at the three
our work here, we are laying the base for the communication about the
working and deterioration of the device. After we return, it is
essential that all parties involved work hard on obtaining usable data
and communicating solutions fast when needed. However, I am confident
for the future and one day I am sure that SoWaDi will help a lot of
people all around the world without the need of our interference.