EWB UCT successfully completed projects
EWB UCT partnered with the Engineering and Built Environment Faculty in a successful bid for a portion of the Vice Chancellor’s Strategic Fund. The larger project revolves around informal street caterer’s practice of burning construction timber, which is treated with chromated copper arsenic, resulting in toxic ash and related public health issues. While there is specific research around this being undertaken by other partners of the project, EWB UCT’s focus is on piloting an intervention that will remove the current practice, in a sustainable and acceptable manner.
This project has been running for the past year in close collaboration with the Chemical Engineering Department. During the first semester focus was on research on alternative fuel sources and stove designs. The research and design phases have been led by a small team of students who span across all years and disciplines within the EBE faculty. The design phase was concluded with the decision to roll-out high efficiency stoves, rather than trying to introduce an alternative fuel source. A number of stoves have been investigated and tested in an EWB cook-off. A selection of stoves has been placed on order and will be sold to informal traders in 2011.
This is the largest project EWB UCT is currently undertaking and involves an intensive amount ofwork and interaction with many parties. The work is not yet over and the project will extend into the coming year. The team must be congratulated for all their hard work and success to date.
The Baphumelele Ventilation Project was taken on by EWB as a short term and hands on engineering project. With a budget of approximately ten thousand rand, EWB students set out to find a solution to tackle serious mould problems caused by poor ventilation in one of the baby houses at Baphumele Orphanage. The need to address this issue was urgent as many children were suffering from lung problems. After extensive onsite analysis, EWB students decided to install an extractor fan in each one of the five rooms in the house, one stove extractor fan and six air bricks, as well as to remove all the mould and to mount a sliding door in a room where the door had been removed to accommodate an extra bed. The sliding door was installed as staff members did not want to open windows in the room, fearing that babies in the adjacent room would catch a cold. This caused a particular bad mould problem.
Twelve volunteers implemented the project in October. Motivation of the team was high and volunteers worked solidly from 8am to 8pm. EWB identified the need to educate staff about the new equipment to ensure that it will be used correctly and that proper maintenance can be achieved without additional intervention. The project is deemed a success and Baphumele staff are appreciative of EWB’s contribution.
EWB UCT partnered with SHAWCO Health over the June vacation to develop and install rainwater harvesting tanks including filtration systems at a rural hospital in the Eastern Cape. SHAWCO Health makes annual trips with medical students to run clinics at the hospital as well as the surrounding area and in response to a request from the hospital, partnered with EWB UCT to provide a back up water supply system. While the hospital has a piped connection, this connection is intermittent and the water can at times be muddy, making it not suitable for drinking by patients and staff.
EWB UCT established a team consisting of 15 undergraduate and postgraduate students that investigated a number of treatment and storage solutions before travelling to the Eastern Cape with 25 medical students from 26 June to 5 July. Working on tight deadlines, three water tanks, collecting water from the roofs of the hospital wards, were installed in just six days. Innovative devices were developed for each tank to decant dirty water after the first rains and filters were added to the outlet taps of the tanks to ensure the quality of the water. A total capacity of 15,000 litres was installed at the hospital and patients have already started enjoying the benefits after the first rains.
At the hospital’s request, EWB UCT also built a jungle gym for the children of a pre-school located next to the hospital and carried out simple electrical repair work in two of the satellite clinics and the visitor’s accommodation. The jungle gym included swings, a seesaw, climbing nets and decks and a sand pit. The playground attracted a lot of attention even before completion and there is no doubt that the children will enjoy this playground for years to come.
The success of the projects has ensured the start of a long relationship between not only EWB UCT and SHAWCO Health, but also with the Jabulani Foundation, a non-profit organisation that supports the Zithulele Hospital and its surrounding community.
SHAWCO Health approached EWBUCT to design mobile drug trollies that can be used in their weekly clinics. The cheap plastic stacking shelves currently in use break every year and need to be replaced at considerable expense. EWBUCT was briefed to design trolleys that are sturdy enough to withstand the punishment of extended use, while being manoeuvrable enough to allow ease of use in the clinics.
A team of eight UCT students was formed and after researching existing designs, developed a suitable design solution for the trolley. The proposed design was modelled using Google Sketch-up and handed over to SHAWCO Health for approval. The production of the trolleys is now being outsourced to a local company, as the work required is more intricate than what the student team can take on.
The same student team also designe drop boxes that will be used to collect charitable donations for SHAWCO Education's Rags to Riches program. Once a supplier has been found for the second hand oil drums which will be used as part of the design, the drop boxes will be manufactured and handed over to SHAWCO Education.
Kensington Haven Night Shelter
In 2009, EWB UCT worked with the Kensington Haven Night Shelter, doing some painting and simple repair work. In April 2010, EWB UCT extended its relationship with the Haven Night Shelter by assisting with simple repair work inside (plumbing and electrical), painting of the external fence and planting a vegetable garden. Given that the shelter generates a large amount of organic waste, a worm composting system was also set up, allowing the shelter to produce its own organic fertiliser for the garden. The shelter was planning on assigning some of the residents the task of managing the newly created garden and follow up visits were held with the shelter to assist the residents in this.
The Haven already had its first harvest of spinach from the garden. They hope in the future to expand their garden and develop it into an income generating activity, following a model implemented successfully by other local shelters. EWB UCT intends on assisting them with this further, as well as continuing to do more of such work at other facilities in the future, thanks to generous funding received from the Development Bank of Southern Africa.