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
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
After three years of waiting the time has come: The next SoWaDi mission! Three years in which a lot has happened. We built the devices not only once but twice here in Darmstadt, tried coming up with a concept of distribution,learned a lot about the device itself and brainstormed ideas on how to install measurement instrumentation to obtain long-term data.
waiting was worth it and the team travelling to Tanzania does not come
short on motivation, communication skills nor competence. It consists of
Edgar, Jonas, Julius and Rebecca.
is one of our only members of the local group with long-term work
experience; but not only does he contribute efficiently to the sub-group
performance; he is also more than talented in the area of handcraft.
Within the team, he is the expert when it comes to buying material and
the workshops, which will be held in Tanzania concerning water quality,
hygiene and the functioning of the device.
also brings three years of work experience into account and his job as
implementing engineer has given him the chance to work some time abroad,
which is more than valuable for the journey. Within the team, Jonas is
the longest member that is part of the group and since last years, he
has taken over the responsibility of being one of the group leaders from
SoWaDi; he therefore is the project leader and the responsible person
for the project cash.
the same time Jonas became one of our leaders, also Julius decided to
give leadership a chance. At the moment he is finishing his master in
mechanical and in computational engineering. He has been part of SoWaDi
for about one and a half years and has committed to improving the device
ever since. In addition to the duties as head of the team, Julius also
contributes to the performance group, which attributes him the role as
technical expert during the stay in Tanzania as well as being
responsible for water sample taking and testing.
only joined the team a few months ago but has happily agreed to join
and support our three experts in Tanzania, adding therefore a little bit
of female power, which can only be positive. She is a Sustainable Urban
Development student and has a fair share of experience in voluntary
work abroad, so we could not have wished for a better forth team member.
Unbelievably quick she became as much of an expert as our long-term
members and in addition she is the one to ask when it comes to
distribution strategies and market research.
remaining 16 volunteers will be the backoffice during the 2 months of
the time abroad. They will not only keep working in the subgroups
coordination, performance, distribution, instruction manual and CAD, but
also they are the ones supporting our team in Tanzania with whatever
they might need. The head of backoffice is Sara, who has not only been
teamleader for some years now, but also has a great network throughout
our own and many other local groups.
team introduced above has been meeting for months now in addition to
our regular meetings, for discussing everything that concerns their
travel. Questions like time management, budget, equipmentlist, health
issues and many more were answered. But also technical concerns were
talked through thoroughly.
very important part of preparing the visit consisted in keeping in
touch with our contacts in Tanzania. Compared to 2017 when it was only
the Malage VTC in Mwanga, we now have contacts to the Kilimanjaro
Childlight Foundation, the Mamtukuna Folk Development College and the
community in Kidia, Old Moshi.
in all every single member and supporter of SoWaDi is looking forward
to the next 8 weeks. We are sure that our team is unstoppable and will
master every problem as the experts that we know they are.
and steady the cold german weather has reached our city of Darmstadt.
As we do not want to cause any harm to the device we built here only a
few months ago we have decided to shut it down until spring; making sure
it is safe from snow, rain, wind and the freezing temperatures and also
that none of the components is damaged. In addition, we would not be
able to get any valuable information in these months of winter as we
lack sufficient sunshine for the device to work.
19th October the performance group met equipped with everything they
needed at the Lichtwiese where our SoWaDi device is stationed. The water
was pumped out and the different components were separated from each
other to make sure their quality was maintained. In addition, the upper
glass was removed. Sadly as well as the glass in Tanzania, ours had
gotten a crack too.
We are going to look at this problem closely in the next months and hopefully come up with a solution.
last step was to cover up the whole device. We hope this ensures a save
survival of the cold german winters and gives us the chance to start
working again at the Lichtwiese as soon as the first sunshine reaches us
The SoWaDi team could only dream of a SoWaDi device in Darmstadt where long-term measurement data can be collected and change ideas can be quickly tested. Thanks to the TU Darmstadt, which kindly provided us with a place on the experimental field at campus Lichtwiese, we were able to fulfil our wish on the weekend of June 14th to June 16th (exactly one year after the last setup).
project team met on Friday to check the previously purchased
materials and to discuss the course of the weekend. On Saturday
morning the construction started energetically. In order for
everything to go smoothly, groups were formed in advance to take care
of various parts of the system. So, the team started working parallel
on the stand, the absorber box and the pipe bending. In the
afternoon, pipes and aluminium sheets were joined and sprayed black.
Sunday was reserved for the construction of the intermediate and
upper frames as well as the final assembly.
of the additional goals for this setup was, to examine the improved
version of the instructions and test it in practice so that any
further adjustments could be made. All suggestions for improvement
were therefore noted diligently and evaluated in the subsequent
meetings. Especially the filling of the pipe with sand and the
following emptying led to problems again and raised a discussion
concerning other possibilities.
contrast to the previous systems, it was decided not to place the
copper pipe in deep-drawn sheet metal this time, but only to place
the copper pipe on the surface of the sheet metal. This is to test
whether the very time-consuming deep-drawing of the sheets is
worthwhile in terms of water output. In addition, a measuring
technique designed by the team was attached to the system. The
measurement targets include the energy input, the maximum achievable
output quantity and the influence of short-term clouds on the output.
In the future, verifiable predictions about possible output
quantities and times should be possible.
to the 15 motivated helpers, the construction was successfully
completed. Many new faces at SoWaDi were also able to get to know the
device and the instructions properly for the first time and observe
how the first surge of disinfected water flows from the specially
built device. The setup and recording of the measurement data was
very informative and opened up new work packages for our project
finished system is located on the Lichtwiese campus between the
buildings of the Architecture Department and the Darmstadt Climbing
Centre. Interested parties are warmly invited to peer through the
fence and find out more about the research project here on the