Faecal sludge composting research is underway

Compost is good for the garden, right?! What about compost made from poop? Absolutely!!!

Human poop is proven to be a beneficial fertilizer for gardens and fields all over the world. Its high nitrogen content provides plants with exactly the nutrients they need to grow rapidly. In certain parts of the world, human waste is used as a fertiliser in its raw, untreated form. This poses a significant threat to workers, nearby residents and consumers of the produce.

Here at MSABI we’ve begun to conduct a research program to determine the best method for quickly and efficiently eliminating pathogens in order to produce a cost effective compost, safe for use with edible crops. 

 

Freshly mixed compost pile (left) and a pile following 2 weeks decomposition (right)

Freshly mixed compost pile (left) and a pile following 2 weeks decomposition (right)

To date we have used saw dust as a carbon rich organic additive and have introduced effective microorganisms at varying concentrations as a part of our research. All batches have recorded decomposition temperatures close to 70 degrees Celsius and have maintained these temperatures above 60 degrees Celsius for several weeks, easily long enough to destroy a significant proportion of pathogens. We will soon conduct our first round of lab testing for faecal coliform and ascaris eggs to check the condition of the compost.

Following satisfactory elimination of pathogens we would like to test the product in a field trial to assess its effectiveness as a fertiliser to improve crop productivity on over farmed land.

The same 2 piles after 2 weeks (left) and 1 month (right)

The same 2 piles after 2 weeks (left) and 1 month (right)

Introducing MSABI’s new WASH Engineer – Jack Nugent

G’day (hello)!

I’m Jack, MSABI’s new WASH Engineer from Australia. I’ve been with MSABI for a few months now through a partnership with Australian Volunteers International. As a Mechanical Engineer by training and a Carpenter on the side, there’s plenty of interesting work for me here with the MSABI team over the coming year. I’ve been focussing on the expansion of our container based sanitation system - Choo Chapchap, also setting up a research program for faecal sludge treatment. I have a strong interest in rural water supply/treatment and will work more closely with these project teams in the coming months.

After work I’m up for any sort of adventure, normally hitting the tracks on my bike or pretending to be a fish, freediving when I’m closer to the ocean. There’s no shortage of adventures to have here in Ifakara and I’m looking forward to exploring. I’m a traveller by nature and I moved here from Timor-Leste, having worked there for the past year. I’ve also worked on projects in Cambodia, India and Nicaragua in the past, drawing on these experiences to bring new ideas to the unique environment here.

 

Refreshing in a waterfall after breaking down somewhere in the Peruvian Amazon

Refreshing in a waterfall after breaking down somewhere in the Peruvian Amazon

MSABI pilots a sludge treatment facility

MSABI, in conjunction with the Grand Challenges Canada grant, has developed Choo Chapchap, a simple modular container base latrine, with an associated emptying service delivered on a monthly basis. 

After an initial period during which the treatment of the sludge was done in collaboration with the IHI (Ifakara Health Institute) at their facility, MSABI have built their own research facility in Ifakara.

The design of the facility is based on many factors, main ones being the volumes of waste generated, the evaporation rate and the expected decomposting time. 

The location was also carefully selected to comply a series of criteria:  distance from any residential areas, possibility to be fenced, presence of a deep water table, non flooding plane, accessibility in all seasons, and others.

The facility is composed by a drying bed and a co-composting area.

Here below are some of the phases of the construction of the facility.

Drying bed wall construction

Drying bed wall construction

Plastering of the drying bed

Plastering of the drying bed

Preparation of the co-composting area

Preparation of the co-composting area

Backfilling of the co-compost area

Backfilling of the co-compost area

Final co-compost area

Final co-compost area

The facility has currently been working for approximately 4 months and we have already had two collections going through the drying phase and currently in the co-compost area, while our third collection is being accommodated in the drying bed as we speak.

Further research is being done in order to understand timeframe for the manure to be safe and possibly re-used as fertilizer in agriculture.

Drillers Training

In line with the MSABI commitment to constantly build and maintain capacity in the Team, another refresher training for the contracted drillers was conducted in June.

The training included a theoretical session at the MSABI office, with the aid of slides, and a practical session at Opera Asilia.

Grace Melau conducting theoretical drilling training session in the MSABI office

Grace Melau conducting theoretical drilling training session in the MSABI office

The whole cycle of well construction has been explained during the training, including drilling and casing running, pump test, borehole development and pump installation.

The practical part of the training was conducted in Opera Asilia, where drilling was attempted many times without success. The water table is deep and mainly shale / clay layers are crossed. The MSABI drilling team succeeded in drilling down to a total depth of 28 meters and in providing water to the village. 

Practical training at Ipera

Practical training at Ipera

A number of people have subsequently shown interest for our drilling services, as the village had experienced a series of water shortages in the past and the water sources commonly used are unsafe, as you can see below.

Villager fetching water in Ipera

Villager fetching water in Ipera

WASH Mobilization Activities

The MSABI Education Team has started another round of mobilization activities associated to the Pump for Life program, and part of the HDIF grant.

During mobilization, the team conducts village meetings, house to house visits for sensitization on WASH, and introduces the services and products which MSABI offers.

Educator Shaban during house to house visits in Idete

Educator Shaban during house to house visits in Idete

Among others, we present Pump for Life, which is a premium based subscription program for water point maintenance, and the Tembo filters, simple ceramic filters locally produced, which guarantee clean and safe drinking water to the households. Communities have shown interest and an increase in the use of our services and products has been seen.

The objectives of the Mobilization Activities are multiple and include education on WASH issues as such, and marketing of services and products. During the meetings, MSABI fills in questionnaires which assess understanding and current situation within the communities. This helps MSABI to evaluate what the communities need / want as well as the market for possible future offerings.

So far, a total of 38 meetings and 659 people were reached (Women=190, Men=128 and Children=341).

Educators Emmanuel and Christian during a village meeting in Idete

Educators Emmanuel and Christian during a village meeting in Idete

Floods in the Ifakara region

During the last few weeks, some parts of the Ifakara region were hit by floods. Lumemo village in particular was heavily affected to the extent that, the Kilombero District Government had to evacuate the people and provide them with a temporary camp while waiting for the floods to recede.

Floods in Lumemo village

Floods in Lumemo village

MSABI has been called in by the District Water Engineer to participate to the emergency by providing our expertise on latrines building.

Initial phases of latrine construction

Initial phases of latrine construction

MSABI is pleased to have joined power with the Government in helping these flood victims by building up two latrines and by donating 3 Tembo Filters. 

MSABI latrine being finalized

MSABI latrine being finalized

Kilombero District Commissioner, Leffi Gembe (in black rain boots), and other Government officials examining the toilet built by MSABI

Kilombero District Commissioner, Leffi Gembe (in black rain boots), and other Government officials examining the toilet built by MSABI

However, this flood does not only affect the individuals but also properties and farms have been greatly affected. MSABI has also been affected in some ways, as our Tembo Filter production facility was hit by the floods, and some of the filters, equipments and clay had been damaged. Currently we are examining the total damage occurred.

The flooded Tembo facility

The flooded Tembo facility

MSABI at the 1st of May - Workers' day celebration

MSABI participated to the worker’s day celebration held for the whole region in the Ifakara stadium yesterday, May 1st. The Regional Commissioner was the guest of honor. We had the opportunity to exhibit our products and share some information about our services and products, such as Tembo filters. 

Regional Commissioner's speech

Regional Commissioner's speech

The MSABI stand at the Workers' Day celebrations

The MSABI stand at the Workers' Day celebrations

These celebrations went hand in hand with the reduction of the country taxation for those workers whose salary falls under 340,000 TSH/month. The President has approved a 2% tax relief, from 11% to 9%. Robert Sulus, MSABI Communication Officer, has later represented MSABI at the lunch gathering that was prepared by the Municipal Council. The Regional Commissioner and other Government officials joined together for the lunch which was a really great opportunity for networking.

The Team who participated in the event - thanks to all of you!

The Team who participated in the event - thanks to all of you!

Wasser fur Wasser visiting MSABI

MSABI had the great privilege of welcoming the WasserfürWasser Team led by Morris and Lior Etter (Brothers, and founders) from Switzerland. 

WasserfürWasser simply means Water for Water. It is a non-profit organization founded in 2012. They support various water related projects in Zambia such as Water Kiosks at Kanyama (which is considered to be the biggest slum in Zambia, with a population of 300,000 people) and Vocational Education projects where they support a plumbing educational program for local people; hence enhancing their chances for employment in local water companies.

WFW heard about MSABI and what we are doing and decided to visit and learn about us for possible future collaboration. We share a common vision and are all fighting towards elimination of a common enemy: the limited access to water in rural areas. 

Thanks a lot for the suggestions on how to improve the way we do things, the new ideas and the time spent together. 

WFW is an inspiring team of young people who share the same vision that MSABI has towards a better world. Check their website: https://wasserfuerwasser.ch

Looking forward to seeing you again soon!

The WFW Team visiting the MSABI office and meeting our Team

The WFW Team visiting the MSABI office and meeting our Team

WFW at the Tembo filters facilities with the Mamas

WFW at the Tembo filters facilities with the Mamas

Introducing the new In-Country Program Manager - Elisa

Hi! 

My name is Elisa Urbinati and I joined MSABI a few months ago as the In-Country Program Manager. 

I came to Tanzania to climb the Kilimanjaro and travel around. I had been here before, have friends living in the country and was on a career break. MSABI came around unexpectedly – I have got to know the organization through a friend who knew Dale Young, the founder. They were looking for someone for this position and… here I am in Ifakara! 

My background is in Oil and Gas, sector in which I have been working for over 12 years, in different positions and several countries. My last 5 years were in Luanda, Angola, so I have a relevant experience in this continent.

I have a long team and project leading experience, which I hope will benefit MSABI in the course of the coming year.

One of my biggest passions is travelling and I have visited many African countries over the last few years. I love the outdoors so I am looking forward to being able to go camping in the wilderness around the Kilombero river valley as soon as the rain allows!

Elisa in the baobab avenue in Madagascar

Elisa in the baobab avenue in Madagascar

Pump for Life expansion supported by Human Development Innovation Fund

An estimated 30,000 water points are broken and abandoned across Tanzania. This data demonstrates the urgent need for implementing programs to improve access, repair and provide sustainable maintenance of new and old water services. 

Together with public and private partners, MSABI will validate and regionally scale a cost-efficient water point implementation program integrated with our Pump for Life maintenance system. 

The Human Development Innovation Fund, supported through the Department for International Development, are providing us the funding to regionally replicate, evolve and for others to adopt the program. 

Under the HDIF Funding we will: 

  • Track 1000 water points for functionality
  • Install 40 new water points
  • Rehabilitate 40 broken water points
  • Increase the clients enrolled into the Pump for Life program
  • Scale to a network of 20 decentralised mechanics
  • Install 80 remote water sensors
  • Manage M&E through an ICT platform 
  • Share learning with partners for adoption
Mechanics training

Mechanics training

Water point with users

Water point with users