WaSH Spotlight: Network Construction

Key vocabulary & definitions:

  • DAWASA: Dar es Salaam Water and Sanitation Authority
  • Connection box: connects between a latrine and the network
  • Junction box: connects pipes in the route
  • Latrine: a toilet

 

The team:

The network team comprises 5 members, all volunteers of Kite DSM: 4 final year students (all studying Environmental Engineering) and a second year student, studying Water Resources and Irrigation Engineering.

This is the first year there have been no UK volunteers working on the simplified sewerage network team: this area of the project is being handed over completely to the Tanzanian team.

The location:

Vingunguti is an administrative ward in the Ilala district of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. According to a 2012 census, the population of Vingunguti is 106,946. Nearly all the settlements in Vingunguti are informal and the area is largely dependent on pit latrines. CDI works in an area close to the Spenco waste settlement ponds.

These waste settlement ponds are the exit points for the sewage from our simplified sewerage routes. Waste from industry and households throughout the city is also treated here.

 

The concept: Simplified Sewerage

Simplified sewerage is a widely used sanitation technology throughout Pakistan and Brazil. It is based on the idea that conventional sewerage systems are overly conservative in many of their design features, and therefore unnecessarily expensive and technically complex. Traditional sewerage systems haven’t been able to keep up with the phenomenal rate at which informal settlements like Vingunguti are growing, and would be impossible to retrospectively install around the unplanned housing layout. Simplified sewerage uses smaller diameter pipes than conventional sewerage systems. These pipes are placed at shallower depths, reducing the required excavation volume as well as the cost and complexity of repairs.

History:

In previous years, a new simplified sewerage route was constructed every summer. The first route was built in 2014. CDI have facilitated the construction of a further three routes.

The plan for this year:

The network construction team’s aims for this summer are to facilitate the construction of a further ten latrines and to connect them into existing network routes from previous years, in order to continue satisfying demand from the community. Beyond the summer, the team plans to continue facilitating the construction and connection of more latrines into the pre-existing network routes.

So far, surveys have been conducted to identify the number of houses which will be joined to the network, the number of people served and the technical complexity of each connection to the existing route. The team will carry out design work of the new connections, supervise construction (which will be contracted out to local technicians) and conduct maintenance due to operational failures.

The team is also in charge of collating documents for a proposal to DAWASA. A large part of this is preparing a budget estimate to submit to DAWASA for funding. At the end of the summer, when the latrines are finished, the total actual spending will be calculated and DAWASA reimbursed for any initial overestimation. However, the application to DAWASA is to fund the central network pipes and junction boxes only – the cost of the latrine construction will be paid back by the households in the route. This financing model will be explored further in the Spotlight on Community Engagement.

The future:

The goal is for an “alumni team” to be formed from up to four graduates of the network team and one graduate from the community engagement team. The importance of the alumni team lies in the rapidity of expansion: at the moment, network expansion happens at about 10 to 15 new connections each year, as the team only works for 2 months during the summer. However, a dedicated year-round network team will enable the rate of expansion to increase significantly, allowing more community members to gain access to safe and affordable sanitation in the near future.

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WaSH Spotlight: Network Construction

Key vocabulary & definitions:

DAWASA: Dar es Salaam Water and Sanitation Authority

Connection box: connects between a latrine and the network

Junction box: connects pipes in the route

Latrine: a toilet

 

 

The team:

The network team comprises 5 members, all volunteers of Kite DSM: 4 final year students (all studying Environmental Engineering) and a second year student, studying Water Resources and Irrigation Engineering.

This is the first year there have been no UK volunteers working on the simplified sewerage network team: this area of the project is being handed over completely to the Tanzanian team.

 

The location:

Vingunguti is an administrative ward in the Ilala district of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. According to a 2012 census, the population of Vingunguti is 106,946. Nearly all the settlements in Vingunguti are informal and the area is largely dependent on pit latrines. CDI works in an area close to the Spenco waste settlement ponds.

These waste settlement ponds are the exit points for the sewage from our simplified sewerage routes. Waste from industry and households throughout the city is also treated here.

 

The concept: Simplified Sewerage

Simplified sewerage is a widely used sanitation technology throughout Pakistan and Brazil. It is based on the idea that conventional sewerage systems are overly conservative in many of their design features, and therefore unnecessarily expensive and technically complex. Traditional sewerage systems haven’t been able to keep up with the phenomenal rate at which informal settlements like Vingunguti are growing, and would be impossible to retrospectively install around the unplanned housing layout. Simplified sewerage uses smaller diameter pipes than conventional sewerage systems. These pipes are placed at shallower depths, reducing the required excavation volume as well as the cost and complexity of repairs.

 

History:

In previous years, a new simplified sewerage route was constructed every summer. The first route was built in 2014. CDI have facilitated the construction of a further three routes.

 

The plan for this year:

The network construction team’s aims for this summer are to facilitate the construction of a further ten latrines and to connect them into existing network routes from previous years, in order to continue satisfying demand from the community. Beyond the summer, the team plans to continue facilitating the construction and connection of more latrines into the pre-existing network routes.

So far, surveys have been conducted to identify the number of houses which will be joined to the network, the number of people served and the technical complexity of each connection to the existing route. The team will carry out design work of the new connections, supervise construction (which will be contracted out to local technicians) and conduct maintenance due to operational failures.

The team is also in charge of collating documents for a proposal to DAWASA. A large part of this is preparing a budget estimate to submit to DAWASA for funding. At the end of the summer, when the latrines are finished, the total actual spending will be calculated and DAWASA reimbursed for any initial overestimation. However, the application to DAWASA is to fund the central network pipes and junction boxes only – the cost of the latrine construction will be paid back by the households in the route. This financing model will be explored further in the Spotlight on Community Engagement.

 

The future:

The goal is for an “alumni team” to be formed from up to four graduates of the network team and one graduate from the community engagement team. The importance of the alumni team lies in the rapidity of expansion: at the moment, network expansion happens at about 10 to 15 new connections each year, as the team only works for 2 months during the summer. However, a dedicated year-round network team will enable the rate of expansion to increase significantly, allowing more community members to gain access to safe and affordable sanitation in the near future.

Rethinking Development

The CDI Research Blog

A Doctor with a Difference

CDI Practitioner Series with Dr. Nigel Pearson

CDI Practitioner Series brings practitioners working on the ground in interaction with our research volunteers. Our researchers try to understand what inspires development practitioners working on some of the most challenging contexts in the world and what they are doing differently to help communities.

By Edward Saunders, CDI (Research)

 Dr Nigel Pearson is a medical doctor by profession but works as a consultant for a variety of organisations including WHO, UNHCR, and The Gates Foundation. In his own words:

“I help countries that are in a state of conflict to develop health systems to meet the needs of their people – prioritising wider common medical problems that cause suffering.”

 

He works on the ground in ‘challenging operating environments’ (COEs) which face issues such as war, corruption, and oppression – the kind of places that commonly appear in the bottom 25 of various lists. These locations often have some of the highest disease burdens with killer diseases like Malaria, HIV, and TB.

 

On his motivations to do his work in challenging environments, justice is a common theme.

“I hate seeing suffering, and I think that it is an outrage that healthy women die when they have a baby, or young kids die of preventable diseases, or middle-aged people die from easily treatable conditions. It is about justice… It comes from personal philosophy and also Christian faith…. If the world was to spend a fraction of what it spends on arms – or even pet food! We wouldn’t have this problem. You need a very good understanding of every context of every country – sometimes break down countries into parts for big countries like Nigeria or Pakistan… If you want to help Somalia or Congo you really do have to understand how they work to cause lasting change. “

 

Forming partnerships is at the focus of Nigel’s work.

“I lived in a community in eastern Congo for 8 years and was hands-on doctor. I had to speak the language, understand the culture, and become part of the society. I had to enter into it to be empathetic and therefore really understand the problems they face day after day.”

 

Developing those partnerships is also key to his approach.

“Training needs to be a big component – peer example and getting to know people day after day. Working with people. You have to be very patient with countries – they’re not going to change overnight. But never give up. This is possible if you befriend people. If you really like and love people and respect them and respect their culture – their beliefs – and not impose your own. Then you can begin to try be a little bit effective.”

 

A big takeaway I got from talking to Nigel about his work was:

“Try to work with people who you can really work with. Brilliant inspirational people. Even if you don’t think they have that much influence… invest in somebody today and they will be running programs in 10 or 20 years’ time. They are the future transformers”

 

I asked Nigel how he stays safe.

“I go with organisations with big risk management capacity like the UN. Or I travel in Eastern Congo – where I know so many people and ask my friends to keep me up to date with information on situations… There are no guarantees of safety in any of these countries, but it helps to be well informed or have a head of security who is.”

 

Flexibility seems key to safety.

“Some days we will wake up in the morning in Congo and won’t have made an itinerary before hearing news, or sometimes we have made plans and have to move countries… We have to constantly revise our assessment.”

 

When I asked how he overcomes challenges, he lays out his method:

“My first principle is I have to see it… Often if you turn up in a town or health centre – within minutes you can see the problems. “

 

“Then get lots of people together. A cross section of nationals, government workers, religious leaders, business people… Keep asking open questions and keep an open mind… You always find something new you weren’t expecting. Always. And it can be a solution to a particular problem.”

 

“When designing interventions, try to model on what is currently working in that particular very difficult scenario. In Somalia, business people manage to move stuff and be successful despite ongoing war. Why?… The solutions are usually there, you just have to find them.”

 

I asked Nigel what were some of the impact of his work.

“Seeing women and kids not dying, more families planning for kids, and people getting the right health advice and not being ripped off. Sometimes it can be changing the ways organisations operate. It can be very exciting to see the impact.”

 

When I asked him what his future projects were, he remarked, “My timeline is only really 2 weeks ahead!”

 

However, Nigel does have an inkling as to what the future may hold.

“In 20 years time, I am sure I will still be working in Congo. Some things will be better, some won’t be… But hopefully day after day I will be able to help people… Just to be there with people, I think is really important… The greatest reward is friendship. To feel that you are lifelong friends with someone from a different culture – a different world – is unbeatable.”

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Nigel in Adi, Ituri, DRC, with Drs Ayiki and Gbombo. Dr Ayiki works at Adi hopital and Dr Gbombo is the Medical Coordinator for the Anglican Church of Congo’s Service Médical. (photo taken July 2017)Enter a caption

 

A Brief Introduction to the WaSH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) Project – Overview

The problem

Over 80% of residents of Dar es Salaam live in low-income, high-density settlements without adequate sanitation. [1] Existing waste disposal methods are prohibitively expensive for nearly all residents, resulting in raw sewage spillage on the streets and bringing a range of severe implications affecting the health, environment and dignity of residents.

The vision

CDI and Kite Dar es Salaam’s (Kite DSM) WaSH project aims to find a suitable way to bring the established sanitation technology of simplified sewerage to the informal settlements of Dar es Salaam. These solutions are wholly community-based, as will be highlighted in this blog series.

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Our model in short

Since 2014, the WaSH project has facilitated the construction of four simplified sewerage routes in Vingunguti, Dar es Salaam.  Simplified sewerage is an established technology which is widely used in Latin America and Pakistan. It is better suited to the layout of unplanned settlements than conventional sewerage, as the flexible layout can be constructed around irregularly distributed buildings, and there is no requirement for large trunk sewers. Simplified sewerage is also considerably more affordable than conventional sewerage, due to cost-saving measures such as:

  • The use of junction boxes or inspection chambers in place of the larger and more expensive manholes of conventional sewerage.

  • Shallower pipe gradients and depths, resulting in reduced excavation volumes.

  • More straightforward construction, which can be carried out by technicians with less extensive training and using less expensive machinery.

  • System components which are easier to replace.

Guided by the technical expertise of student engineers from the University of Cambridge and across Dar es Salaam, community members drive the construction of these simplified sewerage networks. Training is then conducted by the WaSH project team and our partners, assisting community members to establish Sanitation Users Associations (SUAs). Each network route has its own SUA – a committee with one representative from each household that deals with problems which arise on the network. The SUAs organise maintenance of the networks once construction has been completed, giving the community full ownership of their sanitation systems. To ensure the financial scalability of this pilot, the latrines are funded by the members of the households which they will serve. This cost is initially covered by CDI and Kite DSM and then repaid by a flexible deferred payment scheme, which is also facilitated by the SUAs.

Our team

The 2018 WaSH team is divided into four sub-teams: network construction, community engagement, biogas and monitoring and evaluation (M&E). The role of each of these sub-teams is introduced below, and their work will be explored in later blogs.

Network Construction

The network construction team focuses on the physical installation of the simplified sewerage system. Their role includes signing contracts with the residents who wish to be connected, estimating the cost and technical complexity of those connections and applying for permissions and funding from the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Authority (DAWASA). Furthermore, they are involved with surveying the area to plan the route of the new network, calculating trench depths and pipe gradients and, finally, supervising local technicians during the construction process itself.

See our Brief Intro To Simplified Sewerage (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oZMa9WBi_Y) for more information about the process.

In response to significant community demand, the 2018 network construction team are adding new latrines to the preexisting simplified sewerage routes rather than building a seperate new route this summer. This connects those residents who initially declined the offer to join the network in their area but have changed their minds since it was built.

Community Engagement

For the WaSH project to work effectively, the community needs to have a sense of ownership over the project and complete ownership over their own latrines and the infrastructure connecting them to centralised sewage treatment facilities. Affordable community ownership over the latrines is achieved through the flexible deferred payment options which the WaSH project offers residents so that they can pay back the costs of the materials and labour required in construction over the course of several years. Workshops are also utilised to educate community members on good latrine maintenance practices, alongside various sanitation issues.

Community engagement means making sure that people living in Vingunguti have the knowledge and agency to improve the sanitation and health of their community in the long term. CDI and Kite DSM plan to facilitate the construction of more simplified sewerage networks in Vingunguti in the future and are working with SUAs this summer to continue improving our community engagement and education model.

Biogas

Our main focus is on the biodigester, a tank which biologically digests organic material from the simplified sewerage network to produce biogas. This summer, the biogas team will be decommissioning the current biodigester (known as the Flexigester) and using lessons learned from this, as identified by internal monitoring and evaluation, to develop a thorough plan for the installation of a new digester. This plan will detail the business model, justifying its financial and social feasibility, and will be developed through community research and liaising with technical experts in the field.

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)

The M&E team is responsible for evaluating the whole process of the system and assessing whether it is running in the way that it was designed. They identify any possible problems within the system after it has been implemented, and assess whether deviations from the design indicate a need for the system to be adapted to better suit the community’s needs or whether an entirely new approach needs to be adopted.

The M&E team’s work consists of four major objectives:

  1. Continue to monitor the existing sewerage networks in Vingunguti to see whether or not any issues have arisen since last summer.
  2. Develop the M&E framework to thoroughly assess the planned installation of a new biodigester.
  3. Gather relevant information from residents who are to be connected to the sewerage network this summer to allow for a comparison to be made between their general livelihood before and after being connected to the simplified sewerage system.
  4. Work in collaboration with other sub-teams (especially community engagement) to make recommendations for any changes to the community model which should be implemented in the future, when large-scale expansion is taking place.

 

How do we plan to expand our model?

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A strategic priority for the WaSH project is to establish an  “alumni team” of university graduates to continue working on the expansion of the project throughout the whole year, rather than only during the two months that CDI and Kite DSM volunteers are working full time. This alumni team is intended to employ up to four graduates of the network construction team and one graduate from the community engagement team, pending negotiations and a formalised agreement with DAWASA (Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Authority).

The long-term goal of our biogas pilot is to fund further expansion of the simplified sewerage networks by selling biogas to members of the local community as a clean and sustainable energy source for cooking. The funds generated by these sales are intended to recuperate the original investment into the network, which will provide future funding for scaling the model. Forming a business model around biogas and simplified sewerage would incentivise the expansion of reliable sanitation access by local entrepreneurs, reducing the need for government funding and increasing the rate of expansion. Ultimately, this furthers the WaSH project’s overarching goal of providing a scalable sanitation solution that is accessible to all. It also tackles the issue of clean energy, as 90% of people across Tanzania and Sub-Saharan Africa currently use charcoal for cooking which drives deforestation and also has several negative health impacts from smoke.

 

[1] Jacqueline Thomas, Niklaus Holbro, Dale Young. A Review of Hygiene and Sanitation in Tanzania. Dar es Salaam: Msabi (2013).

First Impressions and Progress in the Education Project

Sophie Wilson, Education Publicity Officer 2018

On Tuesday 24th July 2018, the nine Education volunteers participating in CDI this summer prepared to board a flight to Cairo with the wider group of UK CDI volunteers. After some rapid bonding over a bleary-eyed and stressfully intense game of snap in Cairo departures lounge, we gratefully boarded our final flight, destination: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

We are mid-way through our 11th(!) day on the project and the time has flown by at an alarming rate. This seemed like an appropriate moment to pause and take stock of progress we have made so far… and to share some highlights and impressions of our first week here.

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CDI and Kite DSM volunteers of 2018

What we’ll be getting up to in summer 2018…

For the Education team, the ball is well, truly and proverbially rolling. This is partially due to the fact that some of our initiatives, such as the Careers Network Support (CNS) cycle and KompyutHer, have benefited from thinking, planning and piloting throughout this year and by previous CDI teams. This week the KompyutHer team had a chance to conduct a needs assessment with last year’s pilot participants to further refine the curriculum for the six-week computer literacy training scheme they will be running this summer. The date of 18th August was also set for the launch of the Think Big Challenge, a stalwart of the Education project which is now in its third iteration. Self-discovery workshops also took place this week in preparation for the CNS scheme, with a personality quiz prompting particular excitement amongst students of Kisutu school, my sources inform me.

In addition, the Innovation Officers within the Education team have made great progress in setting up two new initiatives; emotional wellbeing workshops for secondary school girls aged 16-18 and English Clubs for primary school students, to help them prepare for their secondary school entrance exams. Priyanka and Oliva did the rounds at Mlimani school, pitching their idea with fantastic success; having anticipated an interest level of about 25 students, 200 expressed interest. Not only this, but Priyanka came away with several potential suitors, moved by her beauty to the extent that they took to the floor and executed a series of press-ups.

If that weren’t enough, the Education team also launched its new website! It comes complete with a section for our weekly newsletter, media page to promote our major upcoming events, updated initiatives section for 2018 and updated headshots of the team. Check it out here: https://cdieducation.weebly.com/

Settling into life in Dar

It’s been a great first week settling in and socialising in Dar es Salaam, which will be our home over the next seven weeks. My first impressions of the campus we are staying at involved monkeys, cats and a variety of exotic bugs… see one such specimen below. We’ve been joking that there is so much drama amongst the cats of the canteen, they could make a soap opera to rival the captivating daytime dramas often playing on the TV in the canteen.

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SPOTTED on the football field: a particularly exotic bug.

Our volunteers been getting to grips with canteen cuisine. This takes the form of a base carbohydrate such as rice (wali) or the more indulgent pilau variety, chapati or ugali (maize porridge) for those with a more adventurous palate. You can then add a stew, such as samaki (grilled fish), bamia (stew with okra), makange (goat stew) or choroko (dahl). These meals are normally served with some cabbage or spinach, and go down well with a fresh glass of sharubati ya ovakado (avocado smoothie)… normally all costing below the not-unreasonable price of £1.

In our free time, so far we’ve been sharpening our mental agility with some Bananagrams, sampling the local nightlife and venturing out of the campus to sample streetfood delicacies such as boiled octopus…! We have been sharing our current reads and feeling #intellectual in the book club, then bringing it all back down to earth with streamed episodes of Love Island and the post-match analysis which inevitably follows.

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Sophie and Vince feeling brave

I’m looking forward to updating you on our progress, and adventures as they evolve this summer!

Getting battle ready for Research and M&E

Adhvik Shetty and Deepa Iyer

Research and Monitoring & Evaluation teamed up (name a more iconic duo, I’ll wait) for a collab session to finish off the round of training sessions in February 2018. We (Deepa and Adi) really wanted to demonstrate some of the key skills from our respective areas so that the whole team could come see what we do.

For the M&E session, we decided to do a workshop on the Theory of Change. The Theory of Change is a tool used to create a holistic and collaborative product that documents the progress of social change. The workshop aimed to give even the most construction-orientated volunteers an understanding of how we can plan socially inclusive initiatives, how we can measure their progress, and how we can improve them. It was really great to see how involved the volunteers got with the process, and how sophisticated their final products were!

After some cheerleading from Deepa, we moved into the second session on ‘doing research’. The general perception about research and M&E is that it is a dreary desk-based activity far removed from exciting action on the ground and we wanted to show that it was really not the case. Since CDI works on development projects at the grassroots with communities, our focus was on using research framework to solve problems through development interventions.

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We began with a brief overview of research context, questions and methods. Then, the teams got down to action! Some hypothetical scenarios based on previous case studies of CDI were presented to the groups and they had to formulate research questions and identify variables of interest. The groups also presented their ideas and received feedback from their peers, making it a lively and interactive process of learning.

We really enjoyed taking this session! It would make us super happy if people left that Friday evening thinking that Research and M&E were actually not that dull. Now that we’re on the summer trip, it will be interesting to see how the volunteers apply what they have learned in this session!

 

The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women

Prishita Maheshwari-Aplin

The Cherie Blair Foundation aims to empower women entrepreneurs in developing and emerging economies by connecting them with business experts from around the world. The Mentoring Women in Business Programme combines mentoring with technology to provide support to women who have great ideas but are held back by barriers such as lack of access to business skills, technology, networks and finance. We feel that the ethos and goals of the Cherie Blair Foundation align with those of CDI, and were honoured to attend their event, ‘An Evening with Cherie Blair’, hosted by Marsh and McLennan Companies in London.

CDI collaborates with local change-makers, providing them with the support and physical skills to develop their ideas into sustainable programmes. These include fundraising, Monitoring and Evaluation, and resource creation. In this way, CDI acts as a cross-border mentorship base for entrepreneurs in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The Education Project has, more specifically, been involved with developing and running a programme alongside local NGO, Bridge for Change, that aims to motivate an entrepreneurial spirit among secondary school students. Through workshops, competitions and school clubs, the Career Network Support helps students to develop soft skills which are often not cultivated during their syllabus-restricted education, including creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking and innovation and inspires the next generation of entrepreneurs in Tanzania.

As an international organisation working in a developing country, it’s been extremely important to develop a certain depth of cultural sensitivity in order to avoid the far-too-common pattern of “voluntourism” amongst youth-led charities. An important aspect of this attitude is the ability to listen to our partners and collaborators and help them to reach solutions themselves, rather than answering their questions with direct action motivated by our personal, culturally-influenced, experiences.

This ethos was reflected in the discussion by the panel at the Cherie Blair event, who stressed the importance of listening and not imposing their own ideas on their mentees. We feel this is an extremely important aspect of cross-cultural collaboration, and something CDI strives to achieve. We look forward to future opportunities for collaboration between CDI and the Cherie Blair Foundation, especially with the development of a new Entrepreneurship programme, which includes a mentorship aspect, and where we will be striving to learn from the panel’s experiences.