On the 5th of May Tim and Elli held a presentation at the F3 (Wackerfabrik, Darmstadt) inform about the SoWaDi trip to Tanzania this January and to raise awareness for development cooperation. They showed lots of photos and videos from the work in Tanzania and outlined the SoWaDi project. Afterwards there was a lively discussion with the approximately 40 attendees. There was also traditional Tanzanian food to top the event off. The proceeds are going to the SoWaDi project.
In the coming week there will be a picture gallery of the last project phase open to the public.
Four weeks after our return to Germany we are currently busy with the evaluation of the project phase. All the data we collected is now being analyzed and classified, so that we can come to our final conclusions by the middle of April.
The next step for us is to identify and incorporate all the changes based on our findings, both in the system and the construction manual.
Our team is very motivated and eager to get forward, especially because we got some great water test results from Tanzania! A sample of treated SoWaDi water was given to a water laboratory and the results show that all the bacteria was killed during the treatment. This makes it official, the devices are working the way they are supposed to.
The Malage VTC uses the devices daily and takes precise care of it. The students clean it regularly and improved them a bit already. In addition we receive a report on the condition of the device and the amount of treated water every week.
Even after Elli’s departure there was a lot to do. First, there were some things where we had to fix and improve the devices, we attached transparent tubes to the containers to make it easy to read the current water level. We also continued to conduct microbiological tests and measured the amount of treated water in addition to different environmental parameters like temperature and sun radiation. Back in Germany we want to validate and improve our thermodynamic model of the device using this data, e.g. to improve the forecast of how much water can be treated with one device.
Saturday we were visited by Lawrence and Ndiko at the Malage VTC. They are active with the Kilimanjaro Youth Development Organization to improve the lives of youths with problems that are often related to drugs. Both were impressed from the devices and would like to form a partnership. One possibility would be to educate youths in building SoWaDi devices.
Lawrence also told us about his employer Gongali Model and their product, the NanoFilter. He invited us to visit them in Arusha. Even though a NanoFilter has some advantages over SoWaDi regarding the amount of treated water per day and the initial cost, he likes the SoWaDi approach a lot and sees our major advantage in the fact, that the water is really boiled. Boiling water is a widespread and acknowledged way to treat water so there would not be a need to convince people.
After the meeting with Lawrence and Ndiko we visited a borehole-drilling in a village close to Mwanga, that is being financed by the Rotary Club Mwanga. Then we went to the school farm, where a well is currently being hand-digged.
On Monday we gave a workshop for the students and some teachers on how SoWaDi works and which parts of the construction are essential and should not be changed. Gasiano supported us by translating everything to Swahili. The students were really interested and asked a lot of questions.
Following the seminar we had a visit from Simon who works for the Africana Community Rehabilitation Organization (ACRO). We had already met him in Moshi two weeks ago. He also liked the devices and is open for a cooperation.
Before we departed from the Malage VTC, we talked about the responsibilities with Gasioano and the two teachers Sechelela and Samson. Sechelela will conduct microbiological tests of the input and output water every month and Samson will take care of the devices themselves and send a weekly report about their condition and the amount of treated water.
After arriving in Arusha we visited NanoFilter, who gave us a very interesting insight on the functionality, the production and also the distribution og the Filter. A NanoFilter is able to treat approximately 10l of water per hour and filters mud, microbes, bacteria and even fluoride.
Thursday morning we had a second meeting with CAMARTEC, this time with Noela Byabachwezi, Director of Technology Transfer. She also sees the main advantage of SoWaDi in the fact that it really boils water, which is a trusted method to remove bacteria. We already talked about a possible cooperation between us and CAMARTEC. They are definitely interested in this technology and could for example assess the market for such a system and help with the distribution.
On the way to the airport stopped in Usa River and paid Eliet Senkoro a short visit. After a long flight we are all safely back home and the evaluation of the last four weeks starts. We will take a look at the building process, review the construction manual, calculate the real material cost, look into ways to reduce this cost and develop a strategy for the continuation of this project and a possible distribution.
The second SoWaDi device was built this week by a second group of students. We were able to use our experience from the first construction and the students were able to take a look at the first device. Because of this and the fact that we were able to reuse the self made tools for pipe bending and deep-drawing the second construction was already finished after only three days. The wooden rack was replaced by a steel construction, which should be more durable and was only slightly more expensive compared to the timber version.
Parallel to the construction Elli conducted microbiological water tests with the first device and the results show great success: there is bacteria in the input water, but the device was always able to completely remove these and there was no bacteria found in the output water.
After these successful tests we were able to celebrate the inauguration of both of the devices on Friday. The students received two signed footballs from us for their hard work and took some group photos.
Later Elli took the bus to the airport to go back to Germany. In the coming days Ludwig and Tim will meet with some NGOs, more tests and also give a workshop on the functioning principle and the construction of the device.
After the group of four students and one teacher of the Malage VTC finished constructing the first device on friday, we were able to put it to use on saturday. The input tank was filled with water from a cistern and the device correctly positioned so that it faces the sun. We were very happy, when the device started to push boiling water in the output container at the predicted time. We can now safely say that SoWaDi also works as expected in Tanzania. In the afternoon Elli gave a workshop on hygiene and water safety.
On sunday we equipped the device with measurement electronics and started more comprehensive tests. Unfortunately one glass pane broke during the assembly of the device and some of the connections are still leaking. This will be fixed in the coming week before we can celebrate the inauguration of the device. We will also continue to conduct tests, both microbiological and regarding the output and other parameters like temperatures and sun radiation. We will also start building a second device with a second group of students. We will try to use our experience from the first construction to already build a slightly improved version.
On monday the 16th of January the construction of the first SoWaDi device and thus the test of the construction manual we worked on for the last two years started. Our project partner Gasiano Senzighe allocated four students and one teacher to our project, which should now be able to build a SoWaDi device using only the construction manual without direct help from us. Our main task was to watch and document the building process and how the students would deal with the manual.
After a short introduction and a briefing the students read the first chapter of the manual before starting the construction process. The first step was to build the wooden box for the absorber.
Construction on the first day did not go as well as we hoped it would. Neither the students, nor the teacher were used to the concept of a step by step introduction. This got a little better on the following days, when the tools for pipe and metal sheet bending were built. Parallel to that the wooden framework for supporting the absorber and holding the canisters in place was constructed. Thursday and friday all the different parts were assembled and the canisters connected so that the device was finished on friday.
After our arrival at the Malage VTC we directly began with buying the material needed to build two SoWaDi devices. Because Elli was sick and had to stay home, Tim, Ludwig and Gasiano drove to Mwanga which is approximately 20 minutes from the VTC. We first started to get an overview and bought some material like the glass panes, spray paint, wire, containers, tube connections and screws. For buying the timber we turned to a local seller close to the VTC. Because the timber was not of a very good quality and varied a lot in size we only bouhjt the material for one rack.
On the next day we started another attempt at getting better timber. We found another timber place in Kisangara with a better selection of sizes and better quality. In addition to that there was a wood workshop where we could get the timber cut and slimmed down to the right measurements.
For the things we couldn’t get in Kisangara or Mwanga we drove about 1½ hours to Moshi, a city with over 150.000 inhabitants. We got everything there from copper tubr to aluminium sheet. The only thing we didn’t find was isolation material like glass wool. Gasiano’s suggestion for this was to substitute it with locally produced sisal.
On saturday we got the prepared timber from the wood workshop and also finished some paperwork like writing reports.
On January 11th Ludwig arrived at Usa River. On the same day Eliet Senkoro took us to Kisangara and dropped us off at the Malage Vocational Training Centre. We were warmly welcomed by Gasiano Senzighe and his family. Gasiano Senzighe is the principal of the school, for the next weeks we will live with his family.
The Malage VTC is a boarding school, that offers education programs of tree years to become a mechanic, an electrician and more. The site is very big and hosts about 100 students and some lifestock.
Water is supplied by cisterns, some filled with rain water and some filled with spring water from the nearby mountains. The water from the mountains has very good quality, but the pipe with the water supply is only open for one hour during the week. Therefore this source of water with good quality is limited.
The family of Gasiano Senzighe only consumed boiled water, the students mostly drink untreated water. Our devices at the school are meant to ensure the students have access to save and treated water.
During the next few days we will shop for the materials we need to build the two devices. Most materials we except to find in the nearby small city of Mwanga. For the unusual items such as a copper pipe, we will need to da 90 minute drive to Moshi. On Tuesday we are planning to start with the building of the devices and to hold a seminar for the students.
During the last few days we met with different local NGOs to discuss the SoWaDi System.
At Arusha we had a meeting with professor Nuhu Hatibu, who is the leader of a NGO called Kilimo Trust. We gave him a presentation of our device, its functioning system and the procedure of the project phase. As an expert on Tanzania and new technologies he gave us some valuable feedback. He also invited us to visit the building site of a school he is currently building with his family. We were happy to join his son Hatibu Hassan on a guided tour to the building site. Currently the workers drink untreated water and have to cope with waterborne diseases, because of this the family is very interested in our system.
We also met with Siza Tumbo, the leader of the Centre for Agricultural Mechanization and Rural Technologies (CAMARTEC). The organization focuses on agricultural technologies and their distribution. During a discussion we could show the advantages of our system and we decided to stay in contact. After the discourse we were given a tour of the grounds and the workshops.
In Moshi we met with Simon Mwakalinga, who is the leader of the NGO ACRO (Africana Community Rehabilitation Organization. The main focus of this NGO are also agricultural technologies, but when we met they had been planning on starting a water project. Therefore, ACRO is very interested in our technology. Simon will visit us at the Malage Vocational training center, once the devices have been built and are running.
On January 6th at 12:00 pm, after a 14 hour trip, Tim and Elisabeth landed safely at Kilimanjaro International Airport. With a cab, they travelled to a nearby suburb of Arusha called Usa River. There they found their place to stay and visited the neighbor Eliet Senkoro. Eliet Senkoro is coordinator of the Probono Organization, an NGO which connects German and Tanzanian schools. Right now Eliet Senkoro is hosting Kasimir and his wife, Kasimir is a former member of Engineers without Borders Darmstadt. Kasimir is very much used to the Tanzanian country, the people and the culture. He will help us a great deal getting around and communicating with the people on Swahili.
After a great dinner at Eliet Senkoro’s house we went back to our place and went to bed. We are very excited for what we will see during the next days!