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‘Developing indigenous techniques for the promotion of Health and Environmental Hygiene among the rural women in India during the rainy season. A participatory approach’

Every year after undergoing a gruesome summer rain brings a lot relief to the people of Vidarbha. This rain also brings a lot of misery and illness to their near and dear ones .Being partly dry land and doe to long hottest months the people remain complacent about taking precautions and protective measures during the rainy seasons. Since floods are unavoidable they have to be coped with and the people at the local level need to be equipped to deal with it. Causalities devastation sickness environmental problems. All these scare at them once the rainy season begins. Most of the huts of the rural poor are ill constructed and leaks profusely during the rain. Water gets clogged inside and out side the houses. It becomes the breeding place for the mosquitoes Hygienic condition becomes alarming. Limited usable space during the rainy season restricts the movements of human and animals. Practice of personal and environmental hygiene becomes extremely difficult. Consequently children and aged fall sick immediately. Women are the worst sufferers under this circumstances. They are the providers and managers of safe drinking water and the caretakers of health and hygiene in the families. Majority of the rural women being illiterate are totally ill-equipped to deal with such situation. They do not have the proper knowledge and skill. Water for household use get mixed up with rain water or at times the women find it difficult to go to fetch water from far away wells forcing them to use rain water for domestic purposes. Such a situation calls for intervention by technologists and social activists and community organisers. The rural people need simple and indigenous technologies to deal with water treatment, maintain environmental hygiene on day to day basis by the family members. They need health promotion and intervention to make them physically fit and to survive. Hence education, skill development, appropriate technological application are intended by this project.

This project work includes:

  • the gathering and analysis of data
  • the conducting educational programmes
  • the demonstrating of indigenous techniques
  • the preparation of volunteers to oversee the activities
  • the Evaluation of the process
  • a video documentation


South Africa

‘The desalination of brackish borehole water in rural areas for potable water’

Many borehole waters in rural areas contain high saline concentrations ( approximately 2000 to 5000mg/l TDS ) and the waters are, therefore, not fit for human consumption. High salinity concentrations in waters, especially high sodium concentrations, can cause high blood pressure in adults. Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a pressure-driven membrane separation process that can be effectively applied to desalinate water for potable use. This technology is applied on a large scale in other countries for desalination of sea and brackish waters for potable use. However, very little information is available in South Africa regarding the use of RO for the desalination of brackish water in rural areas. Information that is lacking includes:

  1. methodology and guidelines for the operation of Reverse Osmosis systems in rural areas
  2. the most suitable membrane system to be used in rural areas
  3. ease of operation of the RO process in a rural environment
  4. the capability of community members to operate and maintain an RO unit in a rural environment
  5. the ability of community members to manage a water desalination project in a rural area
  6. the sustainability of a water desalination project in a rural setting
  7. the economics of the process

This work includes:

  • the collection of data
  • the site identification and needs analysis
  • the social mobilisation of the community
  • training the water committee members
  • the monitoring and evaluation of the process
  • a video documentation



‘The Evaluation of 15% of the dry units (SIRDO) installed in Chihuahua and in Xochimilco’

Explanation of two different water situations, first the desert near the border between the United States and Mexico and second the wetlands of the old lagoon ‘Tenochtitlan’ next to Mexico City in Xochimilco. Regarding the project there were made physical-chemical, bacteriological and parasitological analyses of the SIRDO products during and at the end of the composting process. The data bank was processed by statistical methods and was discussed with the students of the ifu. A video was made to compare the two totally different situations. Further more a dry unit was sent to Germany, was installed behind the university's main building and used. Samples were taken and analysed in Suderburg by the participants of project 5. All data bank on the wet SIRDO (results of previous research done by GTA / IDRC) were provided to the ifu students and compared with GTA's data bank.

This work includes:

  • the founding of teams for public relation, to inform about the function of SIRDOS, to evaluate the systems and the social situation
  • chemical / biological analysing of the efficiency of the SIRDOS
  • consideration of a comparative essay (social-technological)
  • the evaluation of the process: effects of the SIRDO-systems on health, agricultural production, social structure
  • a video documentation    last change: Oct 29, 2000      ifu suderburg logo "sophisticated fish" © 2000 Zahra Khojasteh
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