As Paul began to explore in our previous project reports (links above), the social, financial, and engineering-based obstacles that prevented ‘Quench Lingira’ from taking root are all players in a more complex challenger to development and aid around the world, one that we were not able to responsibly address in our brief time abroad. Though disappointed, we found solace in our plans to donate the unused ceramic filters to another NGO in another area of Uganda.
Following our summer in Uganda, however, EDGE entered a rather odd semester. Initially, after reflecting on Quench Lingira, we were determined to think differently about development and rethink the role of our organization in communities like Lingira. In the words of former director Paul Atwell, “what started as an attempt to reform the way the organization and its members thought about development snowballed into serious discussions about whether the current mission was the right vehicle to convey the most important lessons about development and working abroad.” After several weeks of discussion, we decided the EDGE Project was not in a place (lack of adequate research, too short of a time-frame abroad, etc) to address the complexities of microdevelopment that in the past we had acknowledged but seriously overlooked.
More importantly, we decided to use the lessons we learned and perspectives we gained through the EDGE Project as a springboard to developing a new and improved organization, an evolution of the EDGE Project, culminating with a full-on rebranding process--new name, new look, same audience, and same motivations. Beginning with a three-day leadership summit, the board of directors along with a reinvigorated alumni network, compiled and reflected on the valuable insights from the last five-years of EDGE. With those insights in mind, we began to cultivate the vision of a new organization, a seedling that would grow into a new tree, helping students to connect to the complex world around them--thus Tawi was born. (Tawi: “branch,” Swahili)
The plan to donate the unused ceramic filters remains a high-priority project for Tawi. We have a few potential partner NGOs in the area, including an organization that Julius (a SHIM employee) is connected to, though we may wait to move the filters until one of our directors can facilitate the donation in-country this summer. Until then, the filters remain boxed and protected at the Lingira Living Hope Secondary School on Lingira Island.