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Sunday, February 05, 2006

More from Dave T and water supply in Africa


I was thinking that Chemists Without Borders could help with the decontamination aspect of the water that the Rotarians are supplying. The cooperative idea is a good one, especially the idea of a small user fee to reduce misuse. There are many things in your emails that CWB needs to consider before trying to implement our hyacinth/arsenic remediation project- I appreciate your input.

We have already been in contact with the UN (UNICEF). At UNICEF, Lynn Geldof:

has given us some good ideas as to where to look for help with our medicinal/vaccines projects. If you have other contacts that might be helpful for our cause, I would be happy to talk to them.

Please keep in touch- your input has been very helpful.




After a couple failed attempts to create a blog account (which I
likely would seldom if ever use anyway), I decided to take a pass on
that offer.

Thanks for posting my e-mail for those who want to read them.

I'm not a Rotarian, having been in class for 40 years at their
meeting times. Now retired, I'm enjoying not having to attend weekly
meetings so may not take up several invitations to join. But I
support their great efforts. My outsider view is that Rotary clubs
do a great job at raising money for beneficial projects both locally
and abroad.

We visited a number of such projects around Addis Ababa. In those
typical cases, money is raises in the US and administered by
Rotarians in Addis. The first water project we visited is still in
the planning stage. We travelled over some rough roads and
eventually had to hike the last mile or two when the road became
unpassable to both our bus and a 4 wheel drive utility vehicle.
Rotary is taking as low tech a solution as possible, diverting a
portion of a year round clear water stream from the hills into a
storage tank, then providing gravity fed piping to a few taps in the
village below. The village already has an irrigation ditch but the
appearance matches that of chocolate milk. The intent is to form a
local cooperative and charge each family a small users fee. The
cooperative will elect a local administrator. The fee should cover
any eventual maintenance costs, but the hope is that by charging a
small fee, the system will have less possibility of misuse, and the
community will feel some responsibility to make sure it continues to

We also visited a more elaborate completed project with funding from
a group in Karisruhe. That obtained water from a lowland spring,
collected it in a covered concrete storage tank, and used a field of
solar cells to pump water to a second storage tank on a nearby
mountain top. The water then flowed downhill to a dozen villages,
each with four spigots.

My original concept was to help while visiting by doing some water
testing since I was moderately well versed in testing and
interpreting results. I was surprised by the mix of low living
conditions with the availability of the latest technology such as
cell phone communications. I am still not clear of what CWB
collaboration might be useful. I have cell phone numbers but not any
e-mail addresses for our hosts in Addis. But perhaps I might obtain
e-mail addresses from our group's leaders and obtain their views on
how CWB might be of assistance.

In Uganda I was impressed with World Vision's similar concept of
hiring local people to provide their local assistance efforts, using
funding from US donations. I understand early on they decided that
sending volunteers to help actually wasted much of the donations on
transportation, lodging and such for the volunteers and that hiring
local people avoided that as well as providing employment. One of my
former students, now Senior Vice President for World Vision in the
US, joined us on our journey in Uganda. He might also have some
insight, or be able to gain some advice as to possible CWB

Finally, the UN presence was abundant in both countries. Presumably
they may already be providing such assistance where needed?

dave t

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