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The SMART Centre Newsletter August 2019

Today we published our newsletter, giving subscribers an update on what has been happening here at the Centre in Mzuzu.

Missed it? Don’t worry, you can view the newsletter here.

If you would like to receive our newsletters automatically, you can subscribe to our mailing list by filling in the form on this page.

SimoneThe SMART Centre Newsletter August 2019
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James Mhango: our local Young Expert

After multiple positive experiences we’re excited to announce the SMART Centre opened their doors once again for a YEP-delegate to join the team. We’d like to introduce you to James Mhango, our local Young Expert.  

Training in the Netherlands

James will be part of the 18th batch of Young Experts, and fly to the Netherlands in November to follow a three-week training programme. The training will cover a wide range of topics in the Water and Agrofood sectors. In the first week, a visit at our coordinators office MetaMeta is planned. An exciting opportunity to learn, make connections and kick-start two years of the programme. During the remaining part of the two years, he will receive intensive coaching and attend training sessions and master classes in order to develop various skills.

James Mhango

James Mhango is a passionate advocate of our low-cost WASH technologies, and is eager to spread awareness. At 23 years old he started at the University of Mzuzu, where he later obtained his bachelor degree in Water Resources Management and Development. It was at the Mzuzu University where he met Reinier Veldman, previous manager of the SMART Centre.

After providing James and his fellow student Andrew Kamanga with an internship for two months at the SMART Centre, they proposed to do research on Rope Pumps. You can read their findings in the published research by clicking here. Both James and Andrew stayed with the Centre after finishing their research and now specialize in monitoring and evaluation.

I see the YEP role as an opportunity to take a step forward to develop and improve my career. I am excited to meet fellow peers from over the world to share our experiences, and I hope to share knowledge on different policies with other water professionals from other countries. Their approach might be different, I want to learn from them.

I have recently changed paths and am becoming more of an entrepreneur. I currently hold pigs at home and am growing different types of crops. In five to ten years I am hoping to have a big piece of land and upscale the business. Of course, my main priority now lies with the SMART Centre. I would be happy if I can contribute towards the adoption of the Rope Pump technology in Malawi. At the moment this technology isn’t widely accepted by stakeholders yet as a water supply option.* But I also look forward to build stronger relationships with my colleagues and to use the knowledge from the training to improve the Centre.

James Mhango, August 2019

Young Expert Programme

The Young Expert Programme is jointly carried out by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) and the Food & Business Knowledge Platform. Their aim is to rejuvenate the Agrofood and Water sectors, by training Dutch and local professionals and giving them the opportunity to kick-start their careers in an intercultural environment. If you’d like to know more, have a look on their website.

*James Mhango, together with A. Kamanga and R. Veldman, wrote a paper on accessibility of the Rope Pump technology based on a study they performed. You can read the paper here.

SimoneJames Mhango: our local Young Expert
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Subsidizing while focussing on self-supply

Entrepreneurs practicing with the Business Model Canvas.

At the SMART Centre we strive for a profit-based sustainability, and encourage self-supply. In most cases, ownership results in responsibility and proper maintenance. Upon receiving funding from a generous donor, we have been thinking about ways to apply our visions while spending this fund on expanding WASH-solutions here in Malawi. How do we choose who receives a partly subsidized pump, well or latrine?

Helping hand

We came up with an approach that involves our entrepreneurs, as they are our eyes and ears in the field. We created a list of criteria, and asked our entrepreneurs if they are willing to help us find suitable customers based on these criteria. Some examples of these criteria are that the well, pump or latrine is privately owned and that these owners have no working connection to a water supply. However, the most important criteria is that we are asking potential customers to hand in a business plan.

Business Model Canvas

This business plan can be as simple as a plan to sell tomatoes, where having a pump supplies the owner with water for the tomatoes. It is also possible to work out a plan to expand an already existing business. We introduced the Business Model Canvas to our entrepreneurs, and did a practice round asking them to fill in the canvas with a fictional business. After a day of practice, we gave them the go-ahead and sent them on their way to find customers.

Stay tuned

The results have been very positive so far. Our entrepreneurs have been bringing in potential customers daily, which shows us there is still a big demand for pumps, wells and latrines in the Mzuzu area. Currently, the SMART Centre is evaluating all potential customers, and checking who meets the criteria. We have started giving some of our entrepreneurs permission to start drilling, welding and building. We’ll keep you informed, so stay tuned!

SimoneSubsidizing while focussing on self-supply
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CCAP SMART Centre on National Television in the Netherlands

The CCAP SMART Centre has been awarded a project with Wilde Ganzen. As part of the project 20 new wells will be constructed  by the trained companies and fitted with a hand pump. The funds for the project have been raised through ‘Wandelen voor Water‘ by Rotary Club Apeldoorn ‘t Loo and will be topped up by Wilde Ganzen.
As part of the fundraising a short clip was broadcasted on the National Television recently.
More information can be found on the website of Wilde Ganzen: Project Website Wilde Ganzen


Reinier VeldmanCCAP SMART Centre on National Television in the Netherlands
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Pictures and Symposium report published

The SMART Centre team looks back on a very successful Symposium with good participation, interaction and many lessons learned!

A report has been written with a summary of the discussions and activities of the Symposium. Also a selection of pictures taken during the Symposium has been published. Both can be access through the Symposium Report and Pictures link.



Reinier VeldmanPictures and Symposium report published
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Successful Open Days @ CCAP SMART Centre

On October 4 and October 5 the CCAP SMART Centre organised two Open Days. The first was for the SMART Centre members and their families and the second for the general public.


Both days attracted good interest and led to business opportunities for both the entrepreneurs as well as possible partnerships for the SMART Centre.


An impression of the days with pictures can be found on our Facebook


One of the visitors also wrote a blog post on the Open Day which can be accessed through the website of the Rainwater Harvesting Association in Malawi (



Reinier VeldmanSuccessful Open Days @ CCAP SMART Centre
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