Rainwater for Humanity

Rainwater for Humanity harvests rain to provide clean water, boost community health, and empower women in Kuttanad, India. With creative engineering, we construct sustainable, eco-friendly rainwater storage reservoirs that provide households without pipe water connection a constant, reliable, and accessible source of clean water. We also train local women in managing the reservoirs, improving their economy by providing them alternative ways to earn vital income. Our ultimate vision is to
May 22, 2013

Spring 2013: May Updates

The past months have seen motivating action from our group members. Funded by the Obama Singh Initiative and hosted by Mahatma Gandhi University, we will be sending two students from the Brown team to perform on-site research in Kerala this summer. We hope to accomplish various goals throughout this trip, including the hiring of a Program Director to oversee all field operations, the streamlining of our tank construction process to facilitate large-scale expansion, and the revision of the management and financial systems currently in place.

Continuing the 2012 alternative construction material research and following up on the prototype, the plans for this summer include the evaluation of a pilot tank built using coconut fibers. Additionally, we plan to explore simpler construction techniques that can be more easily replicated.

Together with the new Program Director, we plan to train all employees on frequent monitoring of financial data. We will be training our management team in India on basic computer literacy to digitize records, making them more accessible. Further, we will reinforce communication systems between the Brown team and the India team to strengthen our partnership.

Both teams are continuing efforts to improve the project’s sustainability. The Brown team has met with new mentors that have served as financial advisors and networking connections. The India team has scouted new locations where residents are eager for the project to be implemented. Together, this will bring allow our group to impact a larger population while maintaining a sustainable business model.

Finally, fundraising continues to be a priority as we approach larger scale impact. The Brown team has applied to a number of grants and kindly thanks all donors over the past year. Monies raised have allowed for 6 new tanks and will soon serve as capital for another round of construction. By the end of next year we hope to complete construction in the Achinakom village, totaling 40 tanks servicing 150 households.

Once again, we thank you for your support and will continue delivering exciting updates from our summer activities on our website.

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Feb 4, 2013

January Update

Sylas and Dr. John accepting the Obama Singh award
Sylas and Dr. John accepting the Obama Singh award

The last round of construction is officially over leaving 14 tanks on the ground now collecting water! And as a continuation of the successful engineering research done over the summer of 2012, we have started the prototyping process in India. By using a systematic test of metrics, our team in India is currently in the process of determining whether our new construction materials will be suitable for a new tank model. 

 

The team at Brown has been working hard to prepare its internal structure for a scalable future. We have overhauled and revamped our website (www.rainwaterforhumanity.org ), and will now be posting weekly blog updates on our day to day work. The ultimate goal of the work done at Brown is to succeed in bringing Rainwater for Humanity into non-profit status under a fiscally sustainable business model. At this stage we would be able to sustain permanent positions in India, and expand our impact to other villages.


One of our major successes in the attempt to expand our network, was a request to present our work at the Unite for Sight conference in Yale in April. We are so excited for the opportunity to present our team and get our name out!

 

Our India team also has exciting news: Mahatma Gandhi University was a winner in the Obama-Singh initiative (Obama-Singh Initiative). They were awarded $80,000 to facilitate international student research exchange. We plan on using the additional financial support to integrate our Brown and Indian teams through more frequent student trips.

MGU Obama-Singh acceptance ceremony
MGU Obama-Singh acceptance ceremony

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Nov 5, 2012

November Update

Solid Works stress analysis on prototype design
Solid Works stress analysis on prototype design

 

One of our student members conducted research with Brown University about the viability of alternative tank construction materials over the summer. The results were great news for R4H -- incorporating coconut fiber into the cement mixture used in our rainwater harvesting tanks has been shown to be just as strong as the traditional mixture, but with a 40% projected material cost savings! Additionally, the coconut fiber is sourced locally, and as a result is more environmentally friendly than other possible materials.

This cost savings is crucial in expanding Rainwater for Humanity under an economically sustainable model. We are excited to be in the prototyping process; currently construction is moving forward on our first coconut fiber cement mixture tank!

In an attempt to match soil conditions and familiarize Thankachen, the local mason, with the new coconut fiber cement mixture, Rainwater for Humanity will construct the prototype tank on site in Achinakom. We are pleased to have hired Ms. Arathi Babu, a local engineer, to aid with the prototyping process and to assess and document the progress of the prototype tank.  Construction of the tank will be monitored closely to document any cracking, dilation, or larger structural issues. Furthermore, water quality tests will be conducted through the rainy seasons, to monitor any possible leaching effects. 

With this prototyping process underway in India, the Brown University team has begun formulating a business plan that leverages the new cost-effective coconut fiber cement mixture in our tank design to scale Rainwater for Humanity’s reach in Kuttanad.  
Solid Works stress analysis on prototype design
Solid Works stress analysis on prototype design

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