The CCAP SMART Centre in Malawi was recently visited by Laurène and Valentin, a French couple and travelling through Africa in our 4×4 van ‘Uyo’. As part of their trip they visit interesting local initiatives and share their experiences through their blog.
At the SMART Centre they visited a few days and worked with Alex, one of the trained drillers. Laurène and Valentin made a very nice movie giving a good impression of the work of the SMART Centre and the entrepreneurs.
The recently published book “Self-Supply” indicates that over 1 billion people world-wide have Self-supply so water supply for which they paid themselves. Some 80% of all self-supply systems are wells. It is clear that scaling self-supply has a huge potential to help in reaching Sustainable Development Goals for water, poverty and food.
Course 1 will take place from Monday 6 – 17 September 2021 and will focus on Hands on training in self-supply technologies targetting Well drillers, welders, masons, technicians, entrepreneurs, others interested in practical technologies.
Course 2 will take place from Tuesday 21 – 24 September 2021 and will focus on Demonstration of self-supply technologies and ideas to scale up targetting WASH program officers of NGOs and governments and those with general interest in approaches that can help to reach SDG6 and water related goals like poverty, food security and employment.
Although the past year wasn’t an easy one, we managed to continue our SMART activities. We have completed some successful projects in the past year and some changes were made in our team. In this article, we’ll look back at our year in an overview, as well as take a look at what’s next for the SMART Centre.
Changes in the team
The biggest change in our team in 2020 was the fact that Hans Kasbergen left Mzuzu and therefore his role at the SMART Centre. Though we were sad to see him go, he is currently back in Malawi and comes to say hi every now and then.
Some big changes are due this month, as Johan and Simone will leave the Centre at the end of January. They will confidently make space for the local staff to take over. James Mhango will follow in Johan his footsteps as the new Centre Manager starting this February. Andrew Kamanga will take on the communication tasks.
Last year we managed to host a training while making sure all CoVID-19 preventive measurements were taken. This training consisted of constructing two 5000 liters calabash tanks for rainwater harvesting. The six day training was done in August 2020, facilitated by Clean Water – Healthy Village. There were ten participants who joined this training, divided into two groups of five. The training was very successful, the participants enjoyed their time and produced a quality calabash tank.
A Calabash tank at a local market (left), and Andrew explaining a water filter in the field (right)
The year 2020 was marked by the global coronavirus pandemic, and an important measure to reduce the spread of the virus is to wash your hands frequently. We reached out to hospitals and markets in and around Mzuzu, as we understood these are gathering places where transmission levels of the virus are high. We successfully placed 50 handwashing facilities in hospitals and 100 at markets. The beneficiaries were very happy with this project and they have said it will really help stop the spread of the virus.
In 2021, the SMART Centre has its challenges cut out. The rising corona cases here in Malawi prevent us from planning much ahead. At the moment we are busy with handing over various tasks, to make sure the Centre will keep running smoothly with the shifts in management. There are plenty of trainings and projects in the pipeline, and we’re excited for what’s ahead. Keep an eye out on our social media accounts if you would like to stay up-to-date.
We’d like to thank our readers, donors, entrepreneurs, and everyone who has contributed to the SMART Centre in one way or another the past year. We are grateful for your continuous support.
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.
Participants being welcomed to the training at the SMART Centre
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.
A wash bucket in Zambia, produced by welders trained by Jacana SMART Centre
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.
The participants brainstorming business ideas.
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