Last Thursday our six month Winnovator Journey ended in a success…
Winnovators is an ‘Apprentice Style’ challenge to raise at least £5,000, find innovative solutions to solve the global WASH crisis and learn and develop as a team.
Here is an update on how we got on.
We are really proud that our solution was awarded ‘Best Solve: eSwatini’ for Europe and the Americas.
The challenge was to increase water output from an existing solar powered water supply scheme in rural eSwatini within a budget of $7000 and a plan to integrate all members of the community to use the supply.
Our solution focussed on increasing the ability to pump for longer through non daylight hours by pairing solar with a biogas digester system. Whilst this was our proposed solution, we wanted the community to decide the most appropriate scheme. To do this, we developed a social mobility and communications plans to engage the community and ensure it was the most sustainable and ethical solution.
The biogas solution would involve paying farmers for animal dung to digest, providing a source of income. Excess biogas could be used in the community for activities such as cooking. We were excited about this idea as the use of dung would enable better community discussion around WASH in general.
Our engagement programme includes events such as water open days, community workshops , targeted education, and support for vulnerable members. Our aim was to ensure the scheme would not further contribute to inequalities within the community.
At the award ceremony, we met Ncamiso Mhlanga, the WaterAid Country Team Leader for eSWatini, who assessed all the Solve technical submissions. Ncamiso told us he was really excited about our idea and the potential to pilot our approach.
Our target was to raise a minimum of £5k , and we achieved it (just!) raising £5,003! Our biggest event was a Salsa ball which raised £1500, other events included supporting the Water Aid Bucket Brigade, numerous cake sales, a raffle, running five marathons in five days and getting our colleagues to help us by doing events.
Our biggest learning point was how to cope with failure when our 24hour football event had to be cancelled due to low interest. Through organising the football we made great community connections with local schools who offered to help us. When the event was cancelled, as a thank you we provided our time to visit the schools and give workshops and mock interview support.
Through taking part in Winnovators we’ve all learnt so much, both from a team working perspective, but also technical skills. The eSwatini challenge was a great learning experience looking at how both engineering feasibility and social integration need to be considered to deliver successful water projects. It has been a great opportunity to broaden our networks both inside and outside the business.
We’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported us in all three areas, this really has a been a collaborative approach and couldn’t have done it without you.
Despite being stressful at times, and hard to balance with a day job, this experience has been really rewarding and we’d massively recommend it to anyone considering entering Winnovators 2020.
If you have any queries, we’d love to hear from you ,you can find us on the Water Aid Committee.
And if you’d like to read our first blog about where it all started, visit: https://bit.ly/2BAkY1w
The Aqua Avengers