MSABI Operations and Activities Recommence in 2015

After a bustling and hectic 3 week period of starting up operations and activities since the break, it is a welcome point to be able to write this blog post for MSABI.

With a number of grant and donor projects carried over from the previous year and many core activities, such as drilling and water-points installations, continuing through the Christmas and New Year’s period, it was certainly a running start to 2015 for the returning MSABI teams.

All sub-programs finished very strongly within the previous year, accomplishing a lot of internal goals and deliverables and we expect further developments to continue for sub-programs in the coming year

MSABI has expanded operations and scaled regionally across a number of districts adjacent to the Kilombero within the last quarter, actively working across a total area in excess of 6000 km^2.

Each of these new areas present their own challenges and specific demands. This coming period is seen as a way of consolidating that demand for our sub-program activities and continue to increase the access and sustainability of WASH services and education within the Morogoro region.

Photo 1 : Education Team members active at the annual MSABI WASH Week, held in Mbingu ward at the end of 2014.

Photo 1 : Education Team members active at the annual MSABI WASH Week, held in Mbingu ward at the end of 2014.

Education and Sanitation teams currently are working in a number of districts, with the majority being found working in the district of Kilosa, undertaking household surveys on sanitation systems and evaluating market demand for improved pre-cast sanitation platform for squat latrines.

This project is being undertaken in partnership with Aquaya.

Additional education team members are collaborating with the piloted water-point micro-insurance program, Pump for Life, to conclude its formal activities under the current Stone Family Foundation grant, which is completed early this year.

The teams across these areas will be active for 6 days a week over the next month, traveling to some of the furthest reaches in the Kilombero catchment area, with 125 CC motorbikes being the optimum mode of transport.

They do it all with amazing attitude to quality in delivery and personal commitment to the task.

In the coming months, respective sanitation and education team members will be involved in the delivery of the Grand Challenges Canada Grant and two further innovation research grants provided through the Florida International University.

Photo 2: Drilling teams commence drilling on the first borehole in the sparse Kilosa Masai community of Ngaite

Photo 2: Drilling teams commence drilling on the first borehole in the sparse Kilosa Masai community of Ngaite

The MSABI water-points team continued drilling and rope pump installation activities over the holiday period, with the majority of work being undertaken in a number of Masaai community areas, also in the district of Kilosa (8 boreholes currently completed).

On the complete opposite side of the valley, well away from the Udzungwa’s, a solid contribution by one key team completed 6 new boreholes in the town of Malinyi, with 5 being constructed in primary schools.

Photo 3 : Collecting washing water from the shallow open well, previously used as the principle water source within the community.

Photo 3 : Collecting washing water from the shallow open well, previously used as the principle water source within the community.

With the continued drive of the drillers, materials and equipment can become damaged and require maintenance, so a number of teams have been rotating to continue production of boreholes while various equipment gets a loving touch from the local metal fundi.

As MSABI has learned through experience, the continual maintenance of these equipment can greatly increase borehole completion delivery and expedite the drilling process.

Lack of maintenance, asides from being a potential safety hazard, can result in incomplete boreholes, reduced borehole depths and can potentially lead to lost materials and rigs.

Photo 4 : Newly manufactured pumps in the MSABI storeroom

Photo 4 : Newly manufactured pumps in the MSABI storeroom

Photo 5 : Damaged thread on drilling pipe

Photo 5 : Damaged thread on drilling pipe

Photo 5 : Damaged rock bit in comparison to recently maintained rock bit

Photo 5 : Damaged rock bit in comparison to recently maintained rock bit

Additional water-points will commence construction this year under the funding of the iWASH program, with a multiple use approach to be adopted for two specific water trough sites in the Kilombero.

These water-points will aim to increase the ability of local graziers to water their livestock without potentially contaminating and degrading other water stores and reserves serving the community.

This will be done in close collaboration with the Kilombero District Government.

MSABI business development projects also continue, with the construction of IFakara's first micro-filtered water kiosk approaching its final stages.  This enterprise will provide micro-filtered groundwater (filtered through the Skyjuice Sky Hydrant) for sale under a swap and go system and is based out of a local school, who will also receive free water for its students.

Photo 6: Sky Juice Water Kiosk facility approaching final stages of construction

Photo 6: Sky Juice Water Kiosk facility approaching final stages of construction

Tembo Filter Pots and the Upendo Women’s group completed firing and production of their 2000th filter pot prior to the break and with demand increasing through agents and sales hubs across the Morogoro region, the production of Tembo Filters continues to require innovative methods for increasing pot manufacture and methods of distribution.

A method potentially to be adopted by the team involves the use of cardboard collars and boxes to ship up to 6 pots safely with no breakages

Photo 7: Tembo Filter Pot QA supervisor, Bruno Sanga (seated) and the Upendo Womens Group trial packaging system for filter pot distribution.  The box Bruno is siting on contains 6 filter pots

Photo 7: Tembo Filter Pot QA supervisor, Bruno Sanga (seated) and the Upendo Womens Group trial packaging system for filter pot distribution.  The box Bruno is siting on contains 6 filter pots

Further in the field of research and innovation, MSABI is looking to continue with its evaluation of the MoMo water-point remote sensor, in partnership with the US based organisation, Well Done.

A follow up round for review of installations is due to commence in October. MSABI is looking to further its partnership with Well Done if successful in obtaining funding under the Human Development Innovation Fund, which work through the UK’s Department for International Development.

Furthermore, MSABI’s partnership and continued use of Visible Impact as an innovative mobile, paper-free and time effective method of providing real-time updates and reports for various projects is further evolving, with MSABI looking to transition away from paper based filing and administration systems.

As MSABI gets back to project activities, more work is commencing in the rural areas to accompany this years “early rains”.

Widespread flooding present a significant constraint to MSABI’s ability to access some areas.

Yet, we persevere…

Photo 8: Rains on the Udzungwa Range

Photo 8: Rains on the Udzungwa Range

 Photo 9: Rice truck bogged on way to Malinyi after early rain storms

 Photo 9: Rice truck bogged on way to Malinyi after early rain storms

2015 is shaping into a year of significant developments within the MSABI team and its various sub-programs.

We can all hope for this year that they all provide a benefit to those who need it most and WASH services, research and technology development continue to proliferate and be made increasingly available to the resident communities of the Kilombero Valley.

Photo 10: Happy New Year from a (small) contingent of the MSABI team

Photo 10: Happy New Year from a (small) contingent of the MSABI team

That’s all from me for now,

Jesse Godwin – MSABI