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Lynn’s Letters


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Award for Flexigester and SOWTech

29 November 2017

Sustainable OneWorld Technologies (SOWTech) has just been awarded the WASH Innovation Award at the International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ISNTD) annual Water Conference.

John accepted the award on behalf of SOWTech and received a framed certificate. The citation for our award reads:

In recognition for outstanding innovation and achievement in water & sanitation with significant impact on Neglected Tropical Diseases and diseases of poverty. This award recognises for SOWTech:

innovation in waste management for humanitarian and community health

the measurable impact on health and economic development

the highly collaborative approach

ISNTD held its annual Water Conference in the National History Museum, London on 23 November 2017. This conference focuses on how water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) can contribute to better health, particularly with regards to neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). It attracts speakers and delegates from many organisations and disciplines.

As part of the conference the society presents six awards for achievements in areas connected with WASH and NTD’s. These include awards for research, community engagement, data, behaviour change, education and the WASH innovation Award. The WASH Innovation Award is for innovations in the field of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene with proven or potential significant impact on the control, treatment or prevalence of diseases of poverty, with a preferred focus on neglected tropical diseases as listed by the World Health Organisation.

SOWTech are proud and honoured to receive the award and would like to thank the conference organisers and our partners Butyl Products Group for making this possible.

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Reflections on 2017 at SOWTech

22 December 2017

Another year has gone by and SOWTech continues to try and help those who need improved sanitation, sustainable fertilisers for their crops and ways to prevent the spread of disease.

We have recently been in communication with a number of branches of the Red Cross regarding sanitation in emergency situations. John has provided consultancy on mobile sewage treatment plants and a new type of screen for faecal sludge management, and we have provided a Flexigester for evaluation as part of a faecal sludge management system.

Another focus of our time this year has been on “supported local manufacture” (SLM). We believe that although selling ready made products from the UK has its place, ultimately these products need to be able to be made locally in the country of use. We have therefore developed new range of products that use materials and methods which are compatible with the concept of supported local manufacture. John recently gave a talk at the Institute of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ISNTD) Water conference on the SLM concept entitled ‘What needs to change to improve the “rate of change” in water and sanitation’. The talk was well received and I was hoping to be able to give you a link to the talk on YouTube but it’s not up yet.

As part of looking at SLM we have been thinking about other related products. One of John’s vivid memories from a previous trip to Uganda was standing in the pouring rain, watching it run off the roof onto the ground whilst the women of the household had to walk down to the river at the bottom of the hill to collect water for use in the household. The house had no gutters as ours do and the explanation given was that guttering was too difficult to fit to corrugated tin roofs and the water containers we too small to be of much use. So with this very much in John’s mind, we have been designing flexible gutters and large storage tanks/reservoirs that can collect the water in the rainy season so it can be used for irrigation, washing etc in the dry season. We are hoping to trial these ​in Africa next year.

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Cooking with gas in Ethiopia

11 September 2018

We have recently had some news from our latest project in Ethiopia. You may remember that in the autumn last year we heard that the Flexigester was fully installed at Elshadai Children's 'Village' – Wukro and had started to make gas. Well the latest news is that it is making lots of gas. In fact it is making so much that they can’t use it all at the moment.

One of the main foods that they cook is injera which is a sourdough bread that looks like a pancake or crepe but with a more spongy texture. The flour that it is made from is left to ferment with water for a few days and the resulting dough is baked on a large flat plate with a lid on it. The orphanage in Wukro, Ethiopia, uses electric ovens to bake the injera as they have been unable to source biogas ovens but they use the biogas in the stoves on which they cook the sauces to go with the injera. We have done some research into injera ovens powered by biogas and have found an entrepreneur in Ethiopia who has been designing such stoves. We are passing the information onto Elshadai to see if they are suitable for them.

The photographs shown here of the Flexigester and gas bag at Elshadai are from the EOS-UK.org website with permission.

Flexigestr and biogas bag at Elshadai Biogas bag on trolley at Elshadai Biogas stove at Elshadai