These pictures are from July when we were working with students from Olorien Secondary School in Arusha. Four students approached their teacher saying that they wanted to build a windmill, so he contacted Bernard and they came to the AISE workshop to design and build their windmill. They learned about wind power and they learned about design principles. We are hoping that they will keep developing their design, but you can see their first prototype in the pictures.
We just had some secondary school students from St. Jude’s come to visit our workshop and learn about what Bernard has been working on. The students were very excited and had lots of questions. They especially enjoyed the drip irrigation maker. We are hoping to keep working with them on their ideas moving forward!
Last year, AISE Tanzania received funding from The GO Campaign to set up Appropriate Technology Clubs at schools around Arusha. Although it has been difficult to find schools that are committed to the program, we had a really great experience with the Laroi Primary School south of Arusha.
The students were very excited to have some practical sessions and to build new technologies themselves. We worked with the 35 students in Standard 7 (7th grade) and they brought the perfect balance of curiosity, enthusiasm and inquisitiveness to the sessions. The teachers themselves wanted to help us as much as possible and get a glimpse of what sorts of activities we were running.
The most successful activities were probably having the students build their own maize shellers (for removing kernels from the cob)  and demonstrating the bicycle-powered blender. They worked with sheet metal and learned basic metal-working skills. As they worked in teams through the assembly process, they were clearly feeling more and more confident about their ability to make their own technologies. The second activity with the blender was a great exercise to encourage the students to think creatively about the machines they have around them.
Clockwise from top left: Students examine a hand-held maize sheller to identify the design features; A student uses a jig to produce the maize sheller; Bernard explains how each of the tools are used; Bernard demonstrates that the blender can be produced with material available in a market town; One of the students produced her own design for a maize sheller using old roof sheeting.
This video shows the first test of the Bicycle Blender. We were very pleased with the resulting banana-avocado juice!
 The design of the sheet metal maize sheller has been in existence for a few years now, but the manufacturing process was a clever innovation by Bernard which relies on a jig that can be produced by a local welder and makes the process much quicker and more reliable.
I’m afraid that we’ve been a bit boring recently. We’re building a new workshop, which is a slow process, but it’s nearly complete, so things should really be buzzing soon here.
In the meantime, I wanted to share some fantastic pictures of a solar water heater that Bernard developed using old fluorescent light tubes. He had built one for his father’s house three years ago and people started asking him about it, so he decided to make the unit a bit bigger (50 liters of water per day). and a prototype for a blender that he’s hoping to attach to a bicycle. It feels like all of our energy is going into getting this workshop finished, so it’s always exciting when I look up and see that Bernard is tinkering with something new. In fact, several people have been asking about the solar water heater and we have two orders already.
Clockwise from top left: Bernard opening the tap on his solar water heater that we keep on hand to show to prospective customers; Oscar (one of our young mechanics) welding the frame of a solar water heater that a customer has ordered; Oscar grinding down the weld; the solar water heater in progress; and the finished product.
Bernard and Daniel were invited to Uganda in October to help run a workshop at a Caritas project in Pader. The workshop was organized by Amy Smith of MIT’s D-Lab who has run several CCB workshops in the area. The workshop was also being coordinated by David Branigan, who runs International Programs at Bikes Not Bombs. The program was run at the Community Technology Center that Amy has established near the Caritas office in Pader.
We had two days to set the curriculum and prepare the workshop, which consisted of a flurry of planning and building and testing and learning our way around the town. By the time the participants arrived, we had lots for them to do over the next three days. The workshop began by teaching participants various skills in bicycle repair and maintenance from spoking a wheel (taught by Bernard) to fixing a flat (taught by Daniel). The sessions were run in the local language of Acholi, so we worked alongside translators from Caritas.
After that, we looked at how power can be taken from a bicycle by looking at a few different technologies including a charcoal crusher and a peanut butter maker. Then, we asked the participants to brainstorm some different ideas for projects and then we set the teams. One team wanted to make a water cart to attach to the back of a bicycle, another team was working on a bicycle blender for making juice locally, another team was working on a cassava grater and the fourth team was working on a millet and sorghum thresher.
The participants had already learned about the design process before, so we were able to move straight into information gathering and idea generation. Over the next two days, we worked tirelessly to produce working prototypes, fueled by hearty Ugandan cuisine. We took a short break on the second day to look at different GCS technologies, which the participants really enjoyed. By the time that we were running the showcase at the end of the workshop, people were already planning businesses around the prototypes that they had designed and were figuring out how they could use their profits to build more bicycle machines.
There’s still some work to be done on the final designs. The blender was leaking a little bit and it was difficult to find dried sorghum for testing the thresher. Still, it was really amazing to see everything that people accomplished and to be a part of the whole process. It was also wonderful to work with such friendly and caring people.
Clockwise from top left - Bernard and Daniel demonstrating GCS technologies; testing out the bicycle-powered cassava grater; discussing options for the bicycle blender; Bernard and Amy explaining the charcoal crusher; exploring different bicycle technologies; testing out the bicycle blender; working on the bicycle water cart; Daniel demonstrating how to attach a sprocket for a power take-off
In January, Bernard and Daniel traveled to the village of Nadosoito outside of Arusha to teach our technology design curriculum to a group of villagers. During our first session, there was a group of MIT students working on technology projects in the area who helped us as we discussed problem generation and we worked to foster collaboration. We traveled to the community for a total of five sessions between January and March as the villagers worked on projects that they chose.
One project that we worked on was an improved chicken house, since the chickens have been dying there, because the existing designs trap too much heat. The end product used locally available materials and combined elements of several different designs to make a much more appropriate design for the community. We also worked with them to use sisal for making charcoal, since trees are becoming scarce in the area and there is a need for locally available cooking fuel. Sisal is incredibly abundant in Nadosoito and they should have cooking fuel for a long time.
More than the projects, though, our work in the community was about the people there. Our leader on the ground was a man named Emmanuel who helped us organize the meetings and bring people together for the sessions. He was always the most eager to learn, asking questions and wanting to try everything for himself. Vicky was also inspiring. A mother of five with more determination than just about anyone who we’ve met. She always shared her opinions and was ready to pass on everything that she learned to anyone who would listen. Everyone had amazing stories and it was wonderful to work with all of them.
Of course, we also learned a lot of lessons in the course of the program. There were challenges of scheduling, language, transportation, even food. We definitely improved as we went along and it was incredibly smooth by the end of the program. And now we know a lot more for our future workshops.