October 15 marks Global Handwashing Day. Washing your hands is a simple, yet effective act to prevent the spreading of diseases. The importance of washing your hands became especially clear during the spread of COVID-19. But did you know that out of every 10 people, 3 do not have access to clean tap water?
The Dutch Water Sector has published an article highlighting some of the initiatives that support handwashing activities. The SMART Centre Malawi is featured as well, so click here to give the article a read.
The SMART Centre joined forces with Clean Water Healthy Village and Rainwater Harvesting Association of Malawi, and facilitated a training on building Calabash Tanks. A low-cost, easy to make, sturdy cement tank that can be used for rainwater harvesting.
Training during corona-times
During the spread of CoVID-19, smaller versions of the regular Calabash Tank are a great addition to make washing your hands available for all. We implemented all necessary measures against the spread of the coronavirus during the training. Social distancing was in place, and our participants wore masks.
As we all know by now, the coronavirus is a global pandemic no country can escape. The amount of people infected is growing exponentially, and the novel virus is the talk of the town. But unfortunately, the facilities to slow down the spread of the virus here in Malawi are limited. The SMART Centre Malawi wants to contribute. But in order to do so, we need your help.
Slow the Spread
By now, most bigger stores and public spaces in cities have facilities to wash your hands. But rural Malawi is often overlooked. On the markets located on the outskirts of Mzuzu many people gather to do their daily shopping. There are limited facilities to wash your hands. Furthermore, there are many healthcare centers without decent handwashing facilities, let alone clean drinking water. Our aim is to change this.
We have submitted a project proposal to Wilde Ganzen, which has been approved. This means they will double any amount you donate.
Placing handwash facilities at local markets.
Placing handwash facilities at healthcare centers in rural areas.
Placing water filters at healthcare centers in rural areas.
Spreading reliable and understandable information regarding COVID-19.
Informing people about low-cost WaSH solutions.
The handwashing facilities are locally made by entrepreneurs trained by the SMART Centre. With this approach, we hope to slow down the spread of the virus in rural parts of Malawi while remaining true to our mission.
As many people know by now, water and hygiene are two essential factors in preventing the spread of COVID-19. In most African countries, the virus has just started spreading, which is why it’s important to act now.
The SMART Centre Group has gathered various affordable hygiene solutions and made a brochure. This way we hope to spread information on these solutions and share our knowledge with anyone who is looking for a simple solution aiming to slow down the spreading of the coronavirus.
SMART Hygiene Solutions
Do you want to know how to make African soap, access information on good hand washing practices or see other examples of hygiene solutions? Please click the button below to download the SMART Hygiene Solutions Brochure.
At the SMART Centre we value business skills as much as practical skills. As we aim for sustainability, we want our entrepreneurs to have a company they can manage on their own. Someone who is able to drill a borehole but doesn’t know how to make a quotation, will most definitely struggle with entrepreneurship. To refresh everyone’s knowledge, it was about time to organize another Business Training at the Centre.
Don’t fear, Lexah is here!
What do you do when trained entrepreneurs mention they lack the ability to manage their funds? When they are unsure of how much they are worth, and struggle with managing their profits in a sustainable way? You could lend them money, or provide them with equipment. But you could also invite Mrs. Lexah and organize a training with her.
We have organized similar trainings in the past, and had very good experiences with Mrs. Lexah. She knows her stuff, and has an interactive way of teaching entrepreneurs how to manage their business. We invited her to the Centre in Luwinga and had 12 of our entrepreneurs attend the training. Besides various financial courses, she covered topics such as bookkeeping, market research and customer care.
These ten days of full-time training have provided the trainees with extensive knowledge on how to handle their business. This contributed greatly towards our aim for sustainability.
An eye opener
I am really appreciative of the training, as it was an eye-opener to improve the way I am doing my business. I am now interested in a drilling training, I have a market for that and I want to become SMART Centre’s first female driller.
Shelli Huma, trained and certified civil worker who attended the training.
SimoneBusiness skills, as important as practical skills
The CCAP SMART Centre Malawi, in collaboration with the SMART Centre Group, is organizing a short course on low-cost Water and Sanitation Technologies with a focus on Self-supply.
The training will be given by specialists with 5 to 30 years of experience in rural water supply including Mr. Mzumala, who has drilled over 300 wells and Henk Holtslag, senior advisor of the SMART Centre Group. The training will include the demonstration of technologies like the SHIPO, Mzuzu and EMAS drilling, a range of 8 different hand and solar pumps, household water filters, latrines and the production of various parts.
The training is for WASH advisors of NGOs, Government Officials and those with general interest in learning more about technologies and approaches that can help to reach SDG 6 and other water related SDGs like poverty, food security & employment. The focus will be on solutions for households, farmers and small communities. Please note that the number of trainees is limited to 15.
Create awareness on SMARTechs. Simple, Market-based, Affordable, Repairable Technologies for Water and Sanitation.
Please note the Short Course on Self-supply Technologies has been postponed until further notice, due to the spreading of COVID-19. Thank you for understanding. If you’re interested in the course and would like to stay up-to-date on when the course will be held, please contact us. We will then message you in the future when further information is available.
SimonePostponed until further notice – Short course on Self-supply Technologies
Rotary Club Apeldoorn-‘t Loo has been a long time supporter of the SMART Centre in Malawi through the ‘Walking for Water’ fundraising activities. Recently the Rotary Magazine published a short article in Dutch on this long term partnership, underlining the need for local production through local businesses.
As you may remember, we have sent James to the Netherlands to attend the Young Expert Programme as part of his role as local Young Expert here at the SMART Centre. He returned from his training in December, so it was about time we sat him down to ask all about his adventures abroad. We spoke about what surprised him most, and how he spent his free time. Enjoy the read!
Tell us, what was the most exciting thing about the training?
“The training was full of exciting topics to equip participants with skills on personal development. The most exciting thing was to understand your personal preferences through MBTI instrument and how you can use them productively in a workplace. As a person I have strong preference in certain things and unique way of approach to different things.”
How will you apply these new findings here in Mzuzu?
“At the office we have different personalities all trying to achieve a common goal. Appreciating our different preferences and style is key. I might not be good at everything and should be flexible to learn from others.”
We can imagine it was quite intensive. Did you struggle with anything during the training?
“Finding myself in an environment which was completely different from where I am coming from was really a struggle. Language was the most challenging of all. Almost everything was in Dutch. If you go to supermarkets you never know what you are buying unless someone reads and interprets for you.
To take a train or tram you first need to ask people around which one to board or you find yourself in a location where you were not intending to go. The weather was also challenge. Most time of the training was spent indoors and that was great. After sessions every night and during the weekends we usually visited places, walking in the streets and that’s when you could experience the extreme weathers of the Netherlands.
Using chip cards to buy and access certain services was another strange thing. For example, checking in and checking out each time you use public transport gave me a very hard time.”
Now that you’re back, what do you think was the most memorable aspect of the training?
“Sharing stories, different culture and experiences with fellow YEPpers. It gave us an opportunity to appreciate how it is working in different political and cultural setups. And most of all learning from personal experiences in various countries and fields. Although most of the experiences shared were those in development countries where challenges are more similar, but every experience was unique.”
You also had some free time to explore the Netherlands, how was that?
“Visiting Amsterdam was a dream come true. Before the visit I had heard a lot about the city. How beautiful it was and that it attracts a lot of people all over the world. Finding myself there and especially at The Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam was exciting. Being a football lover and a fan for the Dutch team, that experience is something to remember for a very long time.”
Was there anything that surprised you?
“Seeing the majority of Dutch YEPpers speaking African or Asian languages, singing African or Asian songs and some dressing in African or Asian attire was something I didn’t expect. Most of the Dutch YEPpers had experience working in Africa, Asia and other developing countries, something which was good.”
With 2019 coming to an end, we decided on doing some self-reflection. Our entrepreneurs joined us at the Centre on the last Friday of 2019, and told us about their past year. We spoke about what they struggled with, and shared successful stories with one another. We would like to share our highlights here with our readers, as well as take this opportunity to thank all of you for your continuous support and interest in the SMART Centre.
Changes in the team
In 2019 there were quite a few changes in our team. As you most likely know, Johan joined the team in March and later in July took over the management position, as Reinier left Malawi and the Centre. His wife Rianne spent a considerable amount of time and effort into SMART Centre projects as well, so this left two spots open. Simone has joined in March as well, taking over some of the tasks Rianne previously did.
We welcomed Cecilia in November, who joined the team to help us with monitoring our projects. She’s proven to be a much needed helping hand, with Daniel leaving us for a new opportunity.
We’ve had multiple projects running this past year, but would like to highlight two. The first being our Faith and Water project, where we go out into rural Malawi and visit communities, explaining the importance of clean water and sanitation. This project has been one of our longest running ones, and has been proven to be successful yet again in 2019.
The second project we’d like to mention, is the partly subsidizing of wells and sanitation with help of a donor. It is still ongoing, and we’re very enthusiastic about the results so far. This project has been a win-win for everyone. Our entrepreneurs are earning an income with the extra work coming from this project, and local people gain access to safe water and sanitation for an affordable price.
our core business is training local people in the production of our
Technologies. In 2019, we’ve completed the following trainings:
Solar pump training with a focus on electricity safety
Apron production training
Pedestal and slab production training
Rope pump production and installation training in association with …
Faith and Water
More to come
This coming year we’re continuing our partly subsidized project, and are planning on extending the project due to the positive results. Furthermore, we are planning on some new trainings, training both our experienced entrepreneurs and new ones. We are kicking-off the year with a new way of monitoring our projects, to give anyone interested a better understanding and a more accurate overview of what we are doing. But more on that soon!
We’d like to express our gratitude towards everyone who has been involved with the SMART Centre in 2019 in one way or another. We could not have done it without our staff, our entrepreneurs, our donors, our customers and enthusiasts. We hope to have your continuous support in 2020 and look forward to another successful year spreading the usage of low-cost WASH Technologies.