November Newsletter out

Our November newsletter is available to download at http://www.msabi.org/downloads.htm

In recent news we have completed over 100 new water points!  This is a big achievement done using manual drilling and installation of locally manufactured rope pumps - within 18 months of our formation as an NGO!!!

Mirco, one of our Swiss National Service volunteers has left us this week after finishing the project management of a large latrine and treatment system (2-stage septic and mounded transpiration trench system) for the Idete Primary School - providing improved sanitation for 1000 children.  Thanks Mirco for your hard work and dedication to MSABI and the Tanzanian people.

Cai, our UK EWB volunteer seems to be enjoying himself because he has decided to extend his stay till mid-2011.  We are very happy to have Cai who has been working on improving our rope pump and manual drilling quality control and management systems.  We are aiming to hand the management of this sub-project to full Tanzanian control by the time Cai leaves next year.

Nik has also decided that he would like to extend his time with MSABI.  Even though he has finished his Swiss National Service he will stay on until at least mid-2011.  We are hoping to secure a job for Nik with the Swiss Tropical Health Institute to provide field management of MSABI and develop and manage a health monitoring and research program for MSABI.

Whilst we are on this theme, we also have Raphael, who you remember volunteered for us last year returning to offer his time for a few months early next year. Also, Alison who was with us earlier in the year has volunteered to assist EWB-UK find our next placements.

So, I think it is fair to say, that our volunteers have a great experience working with MSABI and I think this is an example that our project is an exciting work environment and that our Tanzanian team and the community we work with make our jobs really enjoyable and rewarding. 

Quickly, on my news.  Last week I was in PNG assisting a small start-up NGO called Walu International ( http://waluinternational.org/ ).  It was a great experience and I was able to share my water/wastewater and sanitation knowledge with them.  The project is working with Vanimo village, which is located on the northern coastline of mainland PNG.  The whole village has been using the beach as their toilet for hundreds of years.  Whilst this may not seem hygienic, and does have an impact on the surrounding reef coastline, the practice (enforced by village elders) is saving lives!!!  How, you might ask?  Well, they source their drinking water from the ground water which is only 1m below the surface of their village.  I have never before seen such crystal clear drinking water so close to the surface in the midst of a village with 150 houses and around 1000 residents.  In fact the water is still fresh (no salt infiltration) less than 10m from the ocean.  Asking around there is little evidence of any significant diarrhoeal problems.  If they were using pit latrines on the  land this water would surely be polluted by waste mixing directly with the groundwater.  Further, Vanimo village is very susceptible to future contamination of their primary drinking water source - particularly as there are numerous shallow open wells through-out the village that could serve as potential points for pollutants to enter.  Of particular notice is the recent number of cholera outbreaks through-out PNG.  I can envisage that if cholera entered the village it would be spread through these open wells.  Walu will continue to work with the village to provide education on cholera prevention and developing a working plan to protect open wells and provide a sanitation.  The village people really are keen for toilets - one possible option is for communal toilet blocks near the ocean with either composting technology or two-stage septic with mounded transpiration beds.  However, ultimately it will be the village to decide their path forward, and for Walu to help to facilitate the process.  Also assisting Walu was Dr Dave Jenkins from SurfAid ( http://www.surfaidinternational.org/index.php ).  It was good to catch up and work with Dr Dave - we certainly had a lot to talk about and would like to collaborate in the future.

Cheers,
Dale.