Monday, 2 June 2014

New: Our products!!

The course work for this spring has been submitted: The final report and products have been sent. But this does not mean we will stop working now. No, because we want YOU to use our products, it is exactly the right time now, to look into them in our products page: Visit New: Our products!! now and get an impression and start trying it yourself!

We had a lot of fun during this spring, learned a lot and were very happy about our team, the team work and the support we got from all different sites! Thank you everybody, who made this project going one or more steps forward!

Now we want to translate our final products to Portuguese, so that locals of our target group in Chamanculo, Mozambique, can start using them!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Final presentation comes close

Last week we had a meeting with Taksvärkki to present the overall project and get feedback on our end products. Our final products will be translated to portuguese during the summer and will be then delivered to ASSCODECHA during the fall 2014 when a new volunteer from Taksvärkki will travel to Maputo. The products have already been sent to ASSCODECHA via email for feedack. Waiting for answers...

Our final products are :
- an ABC guide to community based problem solving which includes different activities with different level of difficulties to encourage and create positive problem-solving atmosphere in the community
- a Hackathon map that would be visually attractive and display a step-by-step approach to organize a community hackathon.

During the meeting with Taksvärkki, we were advised to emphasize more the complicated activities in the ABC-guide as well as giving details examples linked to sanitation.

The previous week-end was quite intensive work time in order to prepare the report draft and product drafts for Monday. There is still work to do before the final presentation and final delivery of the report and product drafts. More illustrations need to be thought through and drawn before the map and guide can be ready. We met with our mentor yesterday Wednesday for our traditional breakfast at Calori and already got feedback for the report draft.

Tomorrow evening, we will start preparing for the presentation and continue correcting the report as well as updating the products. For Monday, we would like to include the audience in the presentation and utilize one of the activities from the ABC-guide.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Time for feedback, planning & work

Yesterday we met with the mentors of the course for a project clinic. We discussed how far we had come, what our focus is now and how to proceed to make our final product, report and presentation. What the outcome should be is not very strictly regulated by the course; there are only some guidelines the headings that have to be included in the final report. In our specific case we got the recommendation to include the background information and research that we did on water and sanitation even though we in the end product chose to have a wider scope than that. Another thing said during the meeting was that we should try explaining why we chose some methods for participatory processes and why we left others out. 

For the final presentation the mentors encouraged us to be creative and try to have interaction with the other students of the course. One thought was that we could test one of the methods for problem solving on the students of the course during the final presentation in order to make presentation attractive, interactive and interesting. For the final presentation the university has invited guests invited from NGOs, the Finnish foreign ministry and we were also welcome to invite more people that might have an interest in these topics.

We felt like we got good feedback on the project clinic and we also got compliments for being a dynamic group. It was nice to hear and to feel that we are on the right track!


Today we had a breakfast meeting where we figured out what content we want in our final report. We organized who should write what and where, and what sections we should write together. We renamed some of the headings so it follows a more scientific format that we found would be easier to understand. Until next week we will make drafts for the final report and the final products. The deadline that we decided on is 24.04.2014 and in before that there are Easter holiday. In order to enjoy some holidays as well we will try to use our time efficiently and now continue working!

Sunday, 6 April 2014


This time we had a longer brainstorming meeting to get our further directions and actions concerning our final product. This final product will be a guide to "train the trainers", e.g. ASSCODECHA activists (but in general the goal is to design the guide for a broader target group, i.e. everybody, who is able to read and motivated to organize and solve problems) to create an atmosphere, in which problem solving becomes motivating and fun.

We refined our project plan and schedule and about our guide we decided on following goals:
  • delivery to ASSCODECHA, Taksvärkki and Aalto
  • format will be a printed ABC step-by-step guide from easy-to-organize (A) to more difficult to realize (C) solutions as well as one booklet, which describes the C-solution (e.g. hackathon) more extensively; we will publish it in the internet via website and maybe a video
  • the final language of the product will be English and Portuguese
The ABC solutions seemed to be a good idea to get people motivated in the first stage. If organizing a hackathon sounded like a too difficult task for somebody, he/she could start with organizing a smaller event, e.g. workshop about a certain topic. If this approach works, then the level of difficulty could raise and the person tries a B approach, until finally the C step is reached. About the actual content of the A, B and C steps we will discuss in our following meetings.

Furthermore, to work more effectively on the different tasks, we assigned project managers to every to-do on our list. Now it is all about summarizing our earlier research and pick the important parts that shall end up in our guide!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Time to figure it out.

Today we met again to go over the feedback we got yesterday at the mid-review and to decide how to proceed.

The core of the feedback was that we need to find our focus (which we already knew). We have to be ready with our objectives and a vision of our end product by the project clinic in two weeks.

We had a long discussion about our end product. Currently our vision is to produce something about
different participatory methods focusing on building the problem-solving atmosphere (such as hackathons) rather than implementing solutions. This something would be a tool primarily aimed at ASSCODECHA's activists, as they call them, to support them when they plan their projects.

The final format is not yet clear, but we all agree that the format plays an important role. Possibly we'll make a package of a report, a booklet, videos, and a website or a wiki.

We'll meet on Friday at 4pm at Design Factory to workshop and figure everything out. 

What a journey!

Monday, 31 March 2014

Mid-review and feedback

Today we had the mid-review of the project using Pecha Kucha style, meaning 20 slides, 20 secondes each. We met in the early morning at Calori in order to practise the presentation and prepare the questions and comments for the Tanzania Waste Keko Mwanga group. 

It was a very good exercise to actually summarize our project in 6 minutes 40 secondes! Twenty secondes run very fast so you need to get to the point, no time for long explanations! As an introduction to our presentation, we had a teaser video of the trip giving highlights of our experience in Chamanculo. The video can be found below.

We got a lot of feedback from the different groups, teachers and professor. We were asked if we wish to continue the project later on. I would think that most of us would like to follow and continue this project, especially if we are able to keep close collaboration with ASSCODECHA in the future! 

Several questions were related to our objectives and deliveries that still seem unclear, also something that could be noticed in our blog. We are using the blog as a project diary and writing our reflections there. Until now, it has been very confusing for us and actually quite difficult to clearly write these objectives down. What should the "final product" be?

During the fieldtrip and once back to Finland looking at different litterature, we collected many pieces from the puzzle yet to be complete. It seems that we are continuously moving back and forth. 

What also makes it difficult for us is the time-frame of the course. Changes that we would see happening in Chamanculo, will not happen in the next few months. Everybody will agree on the fact that changing people's mindset is challenging and is a long-term process. 

As we mentioned during our presentation, we would like to focus on empowerment of people rather than proposing ready-made/technical solutions. The guidebook would give tools to the locals for them to come up with ideas and find the potentials in these ones. I think people get always enthusiastic in something they see happening and beneficial for them. The Hackathon was a good beginning of this change of mindset and the overwhole feedback we got from the people when we were there was positive. We must follow this path!

Next steps

  • Tomorrow 01.04.2014 we are meeting again at Calori at 8am to review today's session with our mentor 
  • We need to cleary define our objectives and answer the questions What? Why? How? as it was mentioned today during our presentation. Hopefully the puzzle will be complete before the next project clinic!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Mid-review comes close

In our now already traditional breakfast meeting at Calori we have been discussing the empowerment approach a bit more detailed. We have been reading scientific articles and project documents about trials of empowerment in different communities. The overall conclusion was that these approaches seem to have fancy names, but the basic idea of empowerment is quite similar throughout the researched areas. Mariko found that some of these approaches have been tested even in Maputo already, which shows to us that our idea can actually be realized and will have a certain impact. This, of course, rises our motivation and enthusiasm about the whole project!

Caroline tried to visualize the impact our project could have in the Chamanculo community in a nice chart considering different internal and external factors. This gives a clearer picture and will help us defining our objectives. Furthermore, we learned that participatory processes should always be executed under accompaniment of professionals, so that the whole framework would stay intact and does not get out of control. However, the goal is to raise ideas from inside the community, not to present externally created ready-made solutions.

The hackathon analysis and checklist are in process, too. We hope that ASSCODECHA will be interested in a cooperation concerning the realization of maybe regular events like hackathons. They are the only realistic partner we see in that case and based on their decision we can widen this approach and maybe start looking for sponsors. We also started to think about the integration of children and/or woman in particular into the participatory process, as, e.g., children are fast learners and are able to spread information consistently throughout many generations. Women, on the other hand, are in our experience rarely seen in positions that require responsibility and leading qualities, which can only be changed, if they are especially involved into the whole thinking process from the beginning.

After gathering this amount of information into all these different directions we will now prepare the mid-review presentation and at the same time we will also sharpen our project focus still - old story, but still worth to mention...

We will meet on Thursday, 27.03. at 18.00 in the Main Building Learning Hub. Until then everybody prepares 4 slides and reviews the presentation as a whole, so we can discuss, develop and design our delivery of the project.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Empower the people!

We met again today for a breakfast at Calori @Lämpömiehenkuja 2, Otaniemi. We had researched  empowerment, participatory processes in general and in sanitation projects, hackathons and possible sanitation solutions that could be implemented in Chamanculo.

We went over our findings together and felt strongly that the empowerment/participation approach is the one we would go with. We decided to research the previous topics further and link our findings more closely to the task at hand: improving sanitation and hygiene in Chamanculo.

Further research responsibilities by next week's meeting on Tuesday at 8.30:
- Mikaela will research sanitation solutions, and choose at least 3 different approaches that would suit Chamanculo and make a brief analysis on the pros and cons of the options
- Anja will try to get the participants' feedback of our previous hackathon, analyze it and draft a brief ckecklist/guide for Hackathon organizing
- Mariko, Perttu and Caroline will further research participatory and empowerment methods, and choose the most promising ready approaches, as well as the most proimising tools used in different approaches
-someone will send ASSCODECHA an email and ask how they are doing and what are their current feelings about the hackathon and next steps in the sanitation challenges

The end result of our work will be a general guide to empowerment, introducing methods and their applications, and an example case of tackling the sanitation challenges in Chamanculo through a participatory process. In the case we will describe the process, and present sanitation solutions that are suggested as options to start with.

We will meet again on Tuesday 25.3.2014 in Calori.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

BLOOM - reissun kiteytys

The following summary of our trip is unfortunately in Finnish.

BLOOM - Bridge of Learning: Operation OndA! in Maputo sai alkunsa keväällä 2013, kun Aleksi Wallenius sai kuulla päässeensä etvo-vapaaehtoiseksi Maputoon. Hän halusi tuoda eri alojen opiskelijoita Aalto-yliopistosta opettamaan ja oppimaan Mosambikiin, ja lähti organisoimaan projektia Aalto-yliopiston ylioppilaskunnan kautta.  Projekti realisoitui 2014 alkuvuodesta, kun 10 aaltolaista suuntasi eteläiseen Afrikkaan kuukaudeksi, josta kaksi viikkoa vietettiin paikallisen järjestön ASSCODECHAn vieraana Chamanculon slummissa.

Aaltolaiset ja Camilla Nyroth matkalla takaisin kaupungin keskustaan päivän jälkeen.
Osa matkaan lähtijöistä yhdisti kokemuksen yliopiston kurssiin Sustainable Global Technologies: Facing Local and Global Challenges, jossa toteutetaan projekti Chamanculon sanitaatiohaasteisiin liittyen yhteistyössä paikallisen organisaation, ASSCODECHAn kanssa. Paikan päällä järjestimme paikallisille ensimmäisellä viikolla erilaisia työpajoja ja intensiivikursseja, kuten englannin kurssin, IT-kurssin, bisnes-workshoppeja, elokuvantekotyöpajan, tulevaisuustyöpajan, ultimate-turnauksen sekä erilaista opettavaista ohjelmaa lapsille (ja pelasimme mölkkyä). Toisella viikolla järjestimme yhteistyössä Mosambikin tiede- ja teknologiaministeriön ja Suomen ulkoministeriön yhteisprojekti STIFIMOn kanssa Waste and Sanitation Hackathonin, jossa ASSCODECHAn työntekijöistä, paikallisista nuorista sekä paikallisen yliopiston hacker-yhteisön jäsenistä koostuvat joukkueet painivat 4 päivää keksiäkseen ratkaisuja Chamanculon sanitaatiohaasteisiin. Kurssiporukkamme muodosti myös tiimin ja esitteli esimerkkiratkaisuna huussin ja kaupunkiviljelykonseptin, mutta ei osallistunut itse kilpailuun. Voittajajoukkue palkittiin läppäreillä. Tuomaristossa istuivat maailmanpankin konsultti, Chamanculon paikallisedustaja kunnallispolitiikassa ja Suomen suurlähetystön edustaja. Viimeisenä päivänä Chamanculossa järjestimme festivaalin, jossa kokkasimme kaikille ja opetimme erilaisia taitoja. Myös paikalliset oli kutsuttu osallistumaan järjestelyihin tarjoamalla ruokaa tai opettamalla omia taitojaan. Illalla järjestimme ASSCODECHAn työntekijöille sitsit, eli perinteisen akateemisen pöytäjuhlan, paikallisessa ravintolassa.

Lapsia Chamanculon kadulla.
Vierailumme aikana keräsimme kurssiamme varten taustatietoa sanitaatiohaasteista vierailemalla paikallisten kodeissa, koulussa ja Chamanculon eri osissa sekä haastattelimme lukuisia ihmisiä. Suomeen päästyämme olemme pohtineet kaikkea kokemaamme ja pyrkineet määrittämään projektillemme fokuksen. Olemme päättäneet tutkia yhteisön ja yksilön voimaannuttamista muun muassa osallistavien prosessien kautta, ja tutkia erityisesti osallistavien prosessien käyttöä sanitaatiohaasteiden ratkaisemisessa. ASSCODECHAsta riippuen lähdemme työstämään heidän kanssaan myös seuraavan hackathonin tai samantyyppisen tapahtuman järjestämistä, tai kuivakäymälän ja kaupunkiviljelyn lanseeraamista osallistavan prosessin kautta. Yleisesti toiveenamme on voimaannuuttaa yhteisöä ja muuttaa suhtautumista tulevaisuuteen ja oman elämän kontrollointiin, sekä toki parantaa alueen sanitaatiota. Projekti on vielä muotoutumassa, ja hahmottuu pikku hlijaa kirjallisuustutkimuksemme ja ASSCODECHAn toiveiden myötä.

Lapset laittamassa Carolinen hiuksia.
Projektimme suuntaa heijastelee ehkä suurinta kulttuurishokkia, jonka ainakin minä Chamanculossa koin; ihmiset elävät niin vahvasti hetkessä, että tulevaisuudensuunnitelmia ei juuri ole. Myöskin vastuun käsite tuntuu puuttuvan. Ihmiset eivät tunnu ottavan vastuuta omasta elämästään saati mistään muustakaan, mutta eivät oleta kenenkään muunkaan, kuten vaikka poliitikkojen tai virkamiesten, ottavan vastuuta tai tarttuvan toimeen asioiden tilan parantamiseksi. Kukaan ei oikeastaan tunnu odottavan, että asiat muuttuisivat. Ihmiset osaavat kyllä nimetä asioita, joiden muuttaminen tekisi heidät onnellisemmaksi, mutta heillä ei ole aikomuksia muuttaa niitä. Kyseessä on yleensä pieni asia, kuten parempi talo, tai parempi vessa (jotka ovat yleensä itse tehtyjä). Toki poikkeuksiakin on, ja mekin tapasimme perheen joka oli uutterasti parannellut taloaan ja suunnitteli jopa rakentavansa sisävessan, johon materiaalitkin oli jo hankittu. Toki tulotasot vaikuttavat.

Päälimmäisenä Chamanculosta jäi kuitenkin mieleen ihmisten lämpö ja ystävällisyys, huomiota hakevat nauravat lapsilaumat, aurinko ja siististi pukeutuneet paikalliset. Kokemus sai myös pohtimaan, ovatko he onnellisempia kuin me.
Isommat lapset pitivät huolta pienemmistä.

What was the focus again?

Today we had another breakfast meeting at Calori @lämpömiehenkuja 2. We had written our project document and gotten valuable feedback from our mentor, Timo. Whilst feasting on the lovely organic breakfast we found ourselves somewhat lost. Defining the objectives and activities of the project proved to be herculean task. We decided that the end product of the project would be a brief guide to participatory processes or hackathons or sanitation solutions.

Yet we were puzzled with combining our main objective (empowering the people of Chamanculo to take initiative and solve problems in their area) with the concept of a dry toilet, which we had planned to include in this project some way. Urban gardening is also something we see closely linked to these topics.

We clearly needed more to go on with so we decided to research relevant topics. We divided the research work as follows:
Perttu will research empowerment
Anja will research the hackathon process and analyze the previous hackathon
Mariko will research participatory processes in sanitation projects
and Caroline will research participatory processes in general

Next week we will educate each other in our findings and further clarify our objectives and activities. We also need to get in touch with ASSCODECHA to gather information and narrow down our scope.

We will know much more next week :)

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Continuing the work in Finland

Today I and our supervisor Timo met with Mariko and Perttu for the first time since they got back to Finland from Mozambique. We talked about the outcomes of their travel and with the objective to discuss the focus for the continuing work. It was very interesting to hear about all the work that they had been able to do and how many people they've come in contact with. I was impressed by their work and glad to hear that they had found some helpful people there! 

The locals find that there is a problem with the waste management that also causes trouble for the sanitary system. For example there is a dike that is supposed to transport excess water to a nearby river but that gets clogged by waste.

A possible focus could be dry toilets (huussi) even though many locals expressed the difficulty with lack of space where you could use the compost that is created in such a set-up. A possible place to make a dry toilet pilot plant could be at a school. In an educational environment a dry toilet could help develop up the understanding for nature and ecosystems, in addition to fulfilling the need for a toilet.

Hopefully we will find a useful focus area that can suggest a solution to or ease some of these sanitary problems. Let us continue the work!

Monday, 17 February 2014

The culture shock: eniten vituttaa kaikki

We’re leaving Maputo this morning, and unfortunately I spent most of the last days being extremely annoyed about everything.

Biggest of all is the position of women. You always see women carrying around heavy loads on their heads and babies on their backs or sitting next to a table or on the ground with different things to sell – men seem to be just hanging around, usually drinking beer. Though it’s always men trying to sell you the tourist crap everywhere in the city. There are no women working for ASSCODECHA, except in the kitchen. There was one girl participating our hackathon. The men make jokes about Chamanculo having so many more women than men that men can just sleep with whoever they want until they’re 50 and then choose a 20-year-old girl to carry them food. There are stories of men who have 50 children, all with different women. The 20-year-old girls taking the English course I held all had children, but most of them lived with their parents and didn’t have boyfriends, let alone husbands. Not many seemed to be married, and in their language being married and living together are kind of the same thing, so not many have any security provided by laws concerning supporting them or the children.

At first I used to wear the same clothes as I would wear in Finland during the summer – shorts reaching mid-thigh. Everybody staring made me so uncomfortable that I stopped and started to wear men’s shorts Perttu bought from a market but found them a bit too tight for himself later. It didn’t make much of difference though. I’m so fed up with men yelling at us at the streets and thinking that it’s ok to touch us.  “How are you doing, baby girl?”, “Hey, give me one of the women!”, “Ask if she’d like some black man!”. Whenever talking to someone, they immediately enquire if I have children and cannot comprehend why I don’t.  The men are mostly interested in talking with men. When we went out one night to Chamanculo, there was one single other woman near the bar, everyone else was men.
It’s normal here to have somebody to do your laundry, and most of us have had something washed here. However there is one thing that they don’t wash – women’s underwear. They are always returned separately, unwashed. No trouble with men’s underwear, though. What the hell? Are women more filthy than men?

Girls here believe that white men are their ticket to a happy life. White men don’t hit and they participate in the housework.

Then there’s the racism. Everything costs more, because we’re white. We visited the Inhaca Island last weekend and we had rented a house through a local. When the owner of the house found out that we were white, he wanted to charge us 50% more, even though the price was agreed on earlier. We left there after the first night and went to a hostel.

The standards are unbelievable. We’re staying at the best hostel in town, and we have bed bugs (despite regular poisonings), rats and for a week the owners dog barking outside the window through the night so that we couldn’t sleep. One of the other dogs regularly pees on the bathroom floor. There are no lockers and the doors can’t be locked. No wifi either. There is only one electric slot per room, so we’ve had to buy an extension cord to get our electronics charged. The atmosphere is nice though, and nothing has been taken from the rooms even though they are unlocked.

Maputo is located at the sea, and the seafood is supposed to be abundant. They still ship most of the stuff frozen from Angola, and everything is extremely overcooked. The food is the same in every restaurant (unless you choose a different cuisine like Indian or Chinese): a piece of overcooked protein (fish, prawns, chicken or beef), overcooked rice and chips. As it’s quite evident that the food has not been in the cold or otherwise properly handled before cooking, we’re actually quite happy for that.
Then there’s everyone trying to constantly rip you off, unbelievable noise level and heat, dangerous infrastructure for pedestrians (and everything else), agreed times or other things meaning nothing, the yes men who’ll answer yes to everything even if they don’t have clue (“To Costa De Sol, do you know where that is?”, “Is this machine-washable?”, “Can we have tables for the hackathon?”), lousy service, opportunistic stealing, corruption, violence and so on. The police are the most dangerous people to run into.

All that being said we’ve had an excellent time here and people are very welcoming and happy. We’ve also had some nice food prepared with love. The locals take care of us, the coffee is good and sun’s always shining. There are nowhere near as much mosquitoes as in Finland. Everyone dresses very nicely and clothes are washed every day, even in the slum. We have 24-hour guarding at our hostel, and most children return things that have been given to them. Bigger children take care of smaller ones and carry the smallest ones around, and they hardly ever cry.

Culture shock is something that practically everyone faces at some stage when getting to know a new culture. It is important to recognize it, as it’s just a phase. Sometimes a good night’s sleep, a good meal and a smile is all that it takes to get over the worst part of it.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Continuing the project with ASSCODECHA

On Friday we discussed with Amandio and Zeca about the continuation of our SGT project. I was curious how the discussions with Jaana some years back had gone and what kind of hopes they had of our project; would the dry sanitation be the way to go or did they wish we’d take another direction altogether.

Amandio and Zeca knew dry toilets as ecological latrines. First we talked about the space issue. ASSCODECHA works with the least fortunate families that have the least space. Some don’t even have space for a traditional latrine – they excrete in a plastic bag and throw that away somewhere. And even those who just have space for a latrine wouldn’t have space for a garden where they could utilize the compost. They did admit though that many people probably don’t know about space effective urban gardening techniques. They still had doubts about whether selling the compost or the produced vegetables would have a significant effect in their income. They also didn’t believe that dumping the sewage waste is a big issue here, but they did admit that when it floods after rain, people sometimes take advantage of that and open their latrine holes to empty them. The very reason for cholera epidemics here every summer. 

They also knew that in other neighborhoods there are a few NGOs working with dry sanitation and urban gardening. Those projects are still in implementing phase and so far they have only worked with families that already have areas for gardening, so they didn’t have much to say about that.
ASSCODECHA had previously worked with the World Food Program, where they gave out food. After that they thought that it’d be better to teach people to grow their own food and they had some discussions with organizations that have more experience on that, but they didn’t manage to start a cooperation and a project was never started. 

They said that they had nothing against a dry sanitation project, but believed it to be challenging. Zeca said that he had liked our idea about working with the schools. ASSCODECHA has a previous relationship eith the minucipality, and they could lobby for piloting dry toilets in a school that has a bad sanitation situation. Schools would also have space for proper gardens. If the children learned to use these latrines at school and ASSCODECHA would provide education material (simple contents, they reminded), it might be possible to create a demand for dry toilets. Therefore we agreed that we’ll continue research when we get back to Finland, and they can take our ideas forward with the municipality.

We made some posters with info about dry toilets and prepared a questionnaire to find out about people’s feelings towards them, but unfortunately the participants of our festival today were mainly children. We might have to leave the questionnaire for ASSCODECHA to do later in order to get more than a couple answers.

The primary school, World Bank and plans for Chamanculo

The last day of the hackathon was quite busy for all of us – the non-SGT members of our group all had one hackathon team to coach and they had the last chance to support their groups to create the pitches that would bring out the full potential of their ideas to the jury. Marja-Reetta Paaso from STIFIMO, Jean Barroca from the World Bank and the local representative of Chamanculo in Maputo municipality governance judged the ideas 5 teams had formed during the past four days. The winners were rewarded with laptops.

Meanwhile we visited a local primary school and did a few interviews.

At the school it took a while to get permission to see the grounds and film there. We waited outside with probably close to a hundred children gathered around us and trying to touch us, especially our hair, and to hold our hands. We were somewhat positively surprised about the school’s facilities after visiting some homes. There was a lot of space, light classrooms with big blackboards and well-behaving kids. The toilets were quite good flushable crouch latrines, except for the lack of cleaning. The kids drank water straight from the tap as they do everywhere, even though it’s not safe. The kids tried to stop us from going into the latrines and were holding their nose as we visited there. It was smelly but it could’ve been worse. Later the school’s director told that the latrines were not cleaned at all – they couldn’t afford it.

The classes had over 50 children, but they were quiet and obeyed the teachers – perhaps due to the sticks the teachers had in their hands. All children didn’t have a school uniform as they couldn’t afford it, but they were still allowed to be there. We didn’t see books but the kids had notebooks and pens. At the school there was a little kiosk canteen where the kids could buy food, but most of them carried a lunch with them to school: mostly popcorn. There was also a small library, but we didn’t take a closer look at that. A teacher that we interviewed seemed very nice and professional. There was also a small cornfield on the grounds. 
Visiting a school in Chamanculo
We also had a chance to talk to the school’s director. There were well over 1000 children going to that school in three shifts during the day. He said that not all the kids around the area come, but there are NGOs that  go around and try to collect everyone. The school also meets with the parents. The school went until 7th grade, after which the kids could go to a secondary school, but they had to pay for that. The director claimed that many kids continue there. He also thought that Mozambique’s education system was perfect and that he wouldn’t change a thing – did he really think that or did he just say it for being scared of something, is hard to say.

Later we talked to the local representative of Chamanculo. He is elected in a way that the locals can affect – whether it’s a simple vote I’m not sure. He was very proud of Chamanculo, and said that he could even claim that Chamanculo is the capital of Mozambique instead of Maputo. All important people have lived her or have otherwise connections to here. Also he thought that people here have a strong identity of being from Chamanculo and there is a real feeling of a community, which Maputo city doesn’t have. He told that there are plans of urbanizing Chamanculo, and already many things are going forward, for example making land ownership official for the residents. They will build proper roads and ditches and give people real addresses sometime in the future. There are however no plans of building a proper sewage system. They are going to start piloting a service that would collect people’s sewage waste from their toilets manually. Of this I talked more with Orlando, who is working with this project for the World Bank. 

Orlando explained that they are providing companies with a safe manually operated technology to empty the sludge from the latrines, also the traditional latrines and the ones that are located so that they cannot be emptied with a truck. The pilot in Chamanculo should start very soon. He said that he didn’t believe that people would have space to dig new holes, so they would have to empty the current holes, and often that is done in a not very safe of hygienic way. Then the waste is poured into ditches at night – as the man living by the ditch complained a few days ago. So far most people have been able to dig new holes though, as there is only that one ditch in this part of Chamanculo and they don’t dump the waste on the streets. Of course people would have to pay for the service, and it’ll mainly help the “middle class” of Chamanculo. He didn’t believe that dry toilets would work here because of the lack of space.

We also talked to Jean Barroca from the World Bank. He is a consultant and doesn’t live here. He’s in Maputo to develop a participatory monitoring system for solid waste management of, where people could report for example of a missing waste container  by sending a free SMS. He didn’t have too much to say about Mozambique as he’d only been here for a little while. He did say though that in a country like this where lack of trust is an issue, the World Bank is often able to bring together different actors, such as the government, municipality and private sector that otherwise wouldn’t cooperate very well. On Monday he gave a very interesting lecture where he introduced different mobile utilizing solutions for different issues around the world. He also said that according to the UN Habitat, one third of the world’s population is going to live in informal settlements by 2020. This will have major socio-economic and environmental implications. Informal settlements are often high risk sites due to for example flooding and health issues that are present in Chamanculo too.

Interview with Jaana: dry sanitation

As we were going to present the dry toilet (huussi) solution combined with urban gardening as an example for the hackathon teams, on Wednesday we interviewed Jaana Oikarinen, who currently lives here and has been a volunteer for ASSCODECHA, but before that  worked in Swaziland with a dry sanitation project and wrote her thesis about the home gardens in Msunduza. The project was a cooperation between Huussi ry, the salvation army of Swaziland and the Mbabane municipality and was funded by the foreign ministry of Finland. The project included dry sanitation, organic gardening and environmental education.

When Jaana joined the project, it had already been going on for some years. What she saw was not a great success – some dry toilets were not ready or they were locked in public places. There were big administration problems and lack of education. People didn’t know how to use their dry toilets and used them as a storage instead. Jaana never saw any full toilets, so she couldn’t witness the composting and utilizing the product. She actually only saw one toilet in active use, and that belonged to a person who had a big garden and was very interested in the functioning mechanisms.

Interview with Jaana Oikarinen at ASSCODECHA

In the project they built three different kinds of dry toilets. One model was a ready package from a South-African company, and as people had not participated in the planning and building process they didn’t know how to use it. This model didn’t need any dry substance such as sawdust added after use due to some chemical that came with it. Instead it was very important to use toilet paper, which people didn’t as they couldn’t afford it. Probably they couldn’t afford to buy the additional chemical after a while either. The final project of this kind of toilet was supposed to be sand.  The other two toilets were built of local materials on the spot. In one case children got into the compost tank and broke the toilet.

Jaana thought that the internal communication with the project was not sufficient and that they should not have started with the building of the toilets. Instead people would’ve needed to be educated first and the demand should’ve been created. There had also been some talk about building a toilet of local scrap material, but that pilot was never realized. Jaana told that a similar dry sanitation project in Zambia had been more successful, mostly because it happened at a rural area instead of a slum.
Jaana had also discussed with the ASSCODECHA about trying out dry toilets here in Chamanculo. However they had thought that Chamanculo is too densily populated, and dry toilet, possible extra compost and garden need space. In Chamanculo people very rarely have a garden, whereas in Swaziland many people have gardens at home and schools have their own big gardens too, along with animals like chickens. Here some schools have small gardens, but it’s not possible to utilize them in teaching – the schools have too many children. So many, that they go to school in three turns. So here the transportation of compost could create problems. There might also be participation challenges, as people don’t really see the need to recycle energy, or anything else for that matter.

Jaana still thought that there would be possibilities of having school gardens, community gardens and home gardens, but people are probably not aware of space-efficient techniques like vertical gardens.  Here people don’t suffer too much hunger, but there is a lot of malnutrition due to diet consisting mainly of starch (bread, chips).  Around Chamanculo it’s easy to spot children with bloated stomachs.
In Jaana’s opinion schools might be better places to start with dry sanitation projects – many schools don’t have hygienic toilets, often due to lack of maintenance. She thought that ASSCODECHA should lobby for better maintenance. Often children don’t even want to go in the toilets.