Tawi Inc.

Vision: To see international development promote sustainability rather than dependency & empower instead of paternalize. Mission: To support intellectual & cultural exchange among stakeholders in international development, health, social & environmental initiatives & research.
Oct 2, 2012

Year Five Begins

Dear EDGE supporters and friends,

In the past month, the EDGE Project has officially reassembled on the UW-Madison campus, with members returning from their hometowns, jobs and internships, and from countries throughout the world. We are also thrilled to welcome many new members to the organization. The student organization fair gave us an awesome opportunity to talk to many fellow students about the EDGE Project, international development, social issues, and our work in Uganda. We are excited to continue to grow and work with both new and old members in the coming year.

The past few weeks we have heard from partners and friends in the developing world, who gave us perspectives to think about as we go forward with our own discussions and project plans. Last week, Barry Driscoll, a graduate studentin the UW-Madison Political Science department shared his perspective of international development work from his experiences working and studying different aspects of the development field. The knowledge he shared, as well as the discussion he facilitated, helped us think how the EDGE Project fits into the world of international development and how our projects and direction may evolve and improve in the future. In the coming weeks, we will be hearing from other professors and speakers to help us think about broader questions concerning development. This sharing of knowledge will allow us to continue to effectively support community led change in Lingira.

Additionally, we have been happy to hear updates from Lingira and continue to support the community in which ever ways we can from Madison. In the coming weeks, Women Rights Initiative (WORI), will be returning to the island to facilitate counseling training for teachers at the secondary school. We are excited to support this training and help ensure that students have access to resources and an academically supportive environment. The counseling training will also help build upon the knowledge and awareness about health and rights that WORI shared during a workshop at the secondary school this summer. We look forward to hearing about the progress of this project and the results of the trainings. 

As we move forward into the semester, we are thankful for your continued support. You may follow us on our blog for more details about our progress. Please keep in touch through wisconsin.edge@gmail.com or by talking with any EDGE member. We love hearing from you!

Thanks again,
E D G E | Project

Jul 27, 2012

The Future of Quench Lingira

 

Excerpt from our blog post "Welcome to Development" , June 20th 2012:
If someone has no means, such as chlorine drops or charcoal to boil water, that number would be a fantastic improvement on the lake water they currently drink. However, 97% effectiveness for kegs, or even the 98.5% for just a pot filter will still result in occasional sickness. Therefore, both of these household systems pale— mildly, next to the community chlorination systems that SHIM promotes in the region. They will achieve 100% safe water when operated correctly. Ultimately, unless the kegs or pots were able to match that, we would not have had our host’s full support.
I'm fortunate to be able to qualify this explanation with a revelation that came about after the original post. It made and continues to make to sense to not introduce any ceramic filter in a place where a majority are already using a "100% solution" for water purification. As I explained then, Lingira Island is such a place and to our collective frustration, is poorly suited to receive a 98/99% solution, such as our filters. We had turned to the Community-Lead Total Sanitation [CLTS] team at SHIM, consisting of the most-knowledgeable and driven water guys in the area. The appointed leader of the team, Samson helped us to understand why Lingira was not the place for the filters and why his team could not promote our filters in other areas where their team works. Short on time, it seemed our best hope would be to gift the remaining 200 or so filters to an NGO working in an area where ceramic filters could widely improve water consumption habits.  

What we failed to consider was the communities that Samson has personally set out to develop. Born and raised on an island where SHIM has had a tremendous impact, he saw little role for the filters there or anywhere else SHIM works. However, in a follow-up conversation with friend and CLTS member, Julius, I got a totally different outlook on the project. After feeling hamstrung for a day or two, he explained the plight of those people living in his home district of Mayuge. Like Samson, Julius was considering the peoples that he has set out to impact, though who that is, seems to be a product of where home is. Almost immediately, he proposed that we let the team use the filters to reach beyond SHIM's normal territory, to places where the water in the lake is the same as the water in the drinking glasses. (Forgive this crude map, but the blue line approximately identifies the areas I describe. SHIM's normal activity extends West a little, but southward otherwise. Here is the live map if you want to explore.)
At the time of our departure, the CLTS team intended to do some sanitation workshops and introduce the technology. There is really no other group in the area that I am aware of that is more equipped to take over the project and see that a productive resolution comes about. Our continued role will be serving as a resource for information on the filters as they need it, as well as continuing to direct our supporters' donations to the water project towards the needs of the CLTS team as they distribute the filters. Currently, there are no plastic containers to contain the pots, which we set out to subsidize to reduce the final cost per unit. We will likely supply the funds for those to ensure a low cost and prevent the lack of a container from being an issue for an interested family. In all, we're happy to say that over the next couple of months, the filters will be moving into a couple hundred deserving homes on the beaches of Mayuge District, at the hands of knowledgeable and capable friends. 

As a final note, I again extend an invitation to discuss things further as the people who helped make this possible. Also, my dear sister, who is among our donors, essentially asked me what heck these filters looked like and how they work. That was a fair question, considering the lack of visuals that we have supplied. I'll say now that any ceramic filter relies on the ceramic being porous, but only porous enough to permit the flow of water. As to the rest, I offer a video assembled by Dr. Buz Kloot, who was present on the island for 3 weeks of our stay. While we didn't give him much of a narrative to work with, the visuals are all there, accompanied by helpful dialogue. 
Jul 2, 2012

Travel Return - 2012

School garden. Founded 2011.
School garden. Founded 2011.

Dear Supporters and Friends,

On June 26th our travelers returned from Lingira Island, marking the EDGE Project’s fourth successful year implementing our projects on the island. Projects from this past year covered several different goals of ours. The diversity in our ideas was enabled by the number of travelers we had, that is, eight people in contrast to three from last year. The increase in both human power and brainpower ensured the completion of work on this trip that we can all celebrate. Claudia, David, Elise, Eric, Katie, Kristin, Leeza, and Paul send their thanks to all of you!

Many of our projects this year were self-contained enough that we can report on them fully, now. The manual water pump we installed in the secondary school garden falls into this category. The pump was utilized several times while we were there, and will surely increase the likelihood that the garden will come out of the dry season in good health. We were also able to “hand over the keys” to the secondary students by creating 8 plots for student management. To give structure to that, we worked with teachers to establish the Student Farmers Club to facilitate involvement and learning in the garden. We’re very excited about these students having an opportunity to own a resource and learn how to develop it.

Girls’ football, a former project of ours, was meant to be researched this trip for possible re-implementation after a falling out. To our surprise, the EDGE ladies were invited to join the secondary school girls’ team as they prepared for a match they had set up themselves against Lingira Girls Football Club. We were able to speak with the female leaders at both institutions about the sustainability of the teams, and even moved into Lingira camp to speak with the younger females involved with the original LGFC. After a very successful, well-attended match, it seems that we may have a role in supporting both teams’ activities and their rivalry.

In contrast to the rest of our projects, one of our larger projects, Quench Lingira, took a lot of time while on the island, and will continue to be well monitored. The technology performed as expected, collecting around 97% of E. Coli bacteria at peak. If someone has no means, such as chlorine drops or charcoal to boil water, that number would be a fantastic improvement on the lake water they currently drink. However, 97% effectiveness for kegs, or even the 98.5% for just a pot filter will still result in occasional sickness. Therefore, both of these household systems pale— mildly, next to the community chlorination systems that SHIM promotes in the region. Given the relatively low density of residents taking water direct from the lake, we elected to not send and inferior solution into competition with our hosts. A more recent development will see the SHIM water team take up the filters to new territory where the frequency of residents that would actually gain water quality is higher.

Other intervention we were happy to bring to bear were hosting WORI (Women’s Rights Initiative) and putting on first-aid training sessions at the secondary school. The duo of women from WORI, Rose and Annet, who are the lifeblood of the Jinja-based NGO were wonderful enough to come out to the island twice and plan a third return. Prior to their arrival we placed anonymous question boxes and found a lot of material to gauge what we could address in a seminar. Together with several EDGE members, they led a two-hour interactive session that involved the entire school, including the teachers. Topics included Sexually Transmitted Infections, HIV/AIDS Awareness, and Sexual Harassment. Women’s and children’s rights and misconceptions about HIV/AIDS were highly stressed and discussed. The anonymous questions and a couple medical emergencies inspired our own team to put on first aid workshops to fill an unacceptable void of information. Through playacting and real-life examples we did well to transmit the principles known as common knowledge. In the future we hope to be training people to train others in first aid and basic emergency medicine. While there are further, mostly smaller interventions, space and time make this a good point to close.

Overall, the projects this summer were able to touch on many different issues on the island, and we were extremely lucky to have such a great group that was able to be both creative and flexible in their solutions on the island. We will have a lot to work with during this upcoming year, but we have the advantage of having many returning members that have traveled. Check the blog for more updates, and more information about the rest of our trip. We thank you all so much for your support of our mission! Be in touch as you are able; feedback and company is always welcome.

Best,

    E D G E  |  Project

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