A BWS plus project report.
Trip to Germany from 24th April to 2nd May
One of the objectives of the WRDC is to create collaborations with other institutions with similar objectives to be able to bring a significant difference in our communities. Ndejje University represented by the WRDC, therefore, formed a partnership with the University of Applied Forest Sciences, Rottenburg (HFR) to embark on a student exchange program to provide a platform for students to gain a diversity of learning.
Through this partnership, a project titled ‘Bridging the Digital Gender Gap’ was launched and will run for a duration of 3 years fully funded by Baden-Württemberg Stiftung (BWS Plus). This project is a collaboration between the University of Applied Forest Sciences, Rottenburg (HFR), Ndejje University (NDU), University of Ghana, Ghana (UG), and Jimma University, Ethiopia (JU) students to produce digital tools describing the drinking water situation in Uganda, wastewater situation in Ethiopia, and the waste situation in Ghana.
The project called for coordinators from the Water Research and Development Centre, Ndejje University to;
1. Establish a Link between project partners and exchange students,
2. Budget monitoring and accounting,
3. Travel planning and support of the project partners and students during their visits,
4. Organizational support of students/scholarship holders (the language of communication is English),
5. Supervision workshops/research on-site and 6. Public Relations.
For this role, two staff members from the Water Research and Development Center were selected; that is, Nassanga Rhodah Nakate and Sulman Muhanguzi.
Water is one of the most important and at the same time one of the most endangered resources. Digital teaching, learning and educational tools, international cooperation, and adequate consideration of the special role of women in ensuring sustainable water resource management are essential aspects for successfully addressing global water problems. In the project “Bridging the Digital Gender” three current BWS plus projects with special reference to water are linked in an innovative way to bridge the growing gender (in)equality in an increasingly digitalized world. Using virtual platforms, students from all four countries will first work together on a baseline study and then deepen the respective subject focus (drinking water, waste, wastewater) in each country in relation to gender and digitalization.
Various digital media will be developed on-site that can be used as teaching, learning, and educational tools. The joint development virtually and in-person (blended learning) promotes digital competence and the South-South-North knowledge transfer. Extensive involvement of women wherever possible and a gender-sensitive design opens up new perspectives on the special role of women in the sustainable management of water as a resource.
Ndejje University is focusing on the drinking water and gender situation in Uganda running for the first year of the project and will receive a student from HFR for 3 months, that is, from September to November. He will be equipped with guiding questions from the baseline studies conducted by the coordinators of the project from May to June 2022. He will be partnered with a team of students from Ndejje University to work together to gather as much data as they possibly can through research, interviews, surveys and recordings, photos, or any other media of choice. The students will have creative freedom to develop the concepts and choose the scope, region of interest, and data collection methods and are to consult the coordinators only for guidance and assistance.
After the 3 months of hosting the exchange student, a student from Ndejje University will also travel to Germany for 3 months, from December to February to develop a digital tool incorporating all the data collected regarding the drinking water and gender (in)equality situation in Uganda. After the year is done, the students will have a joint lecture and meeting to present and explain the data in the digital tool. The students will also be required to produce a report at the end of the year for their respective Universities for internship credit points.
!! Trip summary;
The BWS plus project is focusing on the drinking water situation in Uganda, Wastewater management in Ethiopia, and waste management in Ghana. Because of these specific areas of focus, the trip to Germany was organized by Prof. Matthias and Nina to expose us to the current drinking water, wastewater, and solid waste situation in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
The drinking water situation in Baden-Württemberg: The good quality of Lake Constance water is ideally suited for obtaining drinking water. Four million inhabitants of Baden Württemberg get their drinking water from it. We had a tour of the water treatment facilities where they extract algae, suspended solids, and dissolved solids using micro strainers, disinfect water by using ozone(active oxygen), and multi-layer filters supported by ferric chloride completely clear the water of turbid matter. Before the water is distributed to the consumers, a small amount of chlorine is added
The waste situation in Baden-Württemberg: We had a tour of Energie Baden-Württemberg (EnBW), which is a publicly-traded energy company based in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. Waste in Baden Württemberg is sorted from the source, i.e. homes, industries, market places, schools, etc, and is collected by garbage trucks which transport the waste separated to enBW. The trucks are registered and weighed so that the manager can know how much waste is delivered per day and the trucks pay a small fee for dumping the waste. The trucks dump the waste in a chamber where it is mixed with a crane and moved to the furnace at a very high temperature above 900 degrees for incineration. The fire in the furnace is fueled by the waste itself and it never goes down because the rubbish never stops coming in. After the process of incinerating the waste, the ash/bi-product is then checked for metals that are removed using magnets. The ash after cooling is stored in sacks and given/sold for road construction. The heat emitted through the process of burning the waste is used to boil the water in the pipes that spiral along the chimney length beyond the boiling point and it becomes steam. This steam is used to run the turbines that supply surplus electricity to the main grid but is mostly pumped through water pipes that run through most of the buildings to produce warmth during the cold seasons.
The Wastewater situation in Baden-Württemberg: We had a guided tour of Stadtentwasserung Stuttgart Mühlhausen (SES) which is the largest sewage treatment plant in Baden-Wuttermberg and is responsible for the discharge and treatment of the wastewater occurring in the Stuttgart catchment area. In addition, the wastewater from nine neighbouring towns - Ditzingen, Gerlingen, Esslingen, Fellbach, Remseck, Korntal, Kornwestheim, Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Ostfildern, as well as from the airport and the Stuttgart Exhibition Center are also treated. SES operates a central sewage sludge incineration plant in the main sewage treatment plant in Mühlhausen. Up to 160,000 cubic meters of wastewater from Stuttgart and the neighboring communities of Esslingen, Fellbach, Korntal-Münchingen, Kornwestheim, and Remseck are fed into the Neckar every day and cleaned to 98%.
In addition to wastewater treatment, the sewage sludge produced during wastewater treatment is also thermally utilized in the main sewage treatment plant in Stuttgart Mühlhausen. The electricity and heat generated by digester gas and the waste heat from the sewage sludge incineration are fed into the sewage treatment plant's own network. This covers around a third of the entire heat requirement of the sewage treatment plant and the electricity requirement.
We had a joint lecture session on Water-related problems in developing countries, where:
Ndejje University (WRDC team) represented Patrick Mulindwa by the gave a lecture on the introduction to drinking water supply in Uganda
Jimma University, Ethiopia represented by Prof., Dr.-Ing Esayas Alemayehu presented a lecture on the Introduction to the wastewater situation in Ethiopia.
The University of Ghana, Ghana represented by Dr. Daniel Nukpezah delivered a lecture on The state of water resources and waste management situation in Ghana.
And as a team from the four countries, we had an open and interactive discussion where Nina explained in detail the aims and objectives of the project funders (BWS plus) and what is to be expected of us as the coordinators in our respective countries.