Problems encountered and solutions found
One thing that immediately became clear to us was the sequential way of working. We also experienced this in all the little extra assignments they asked us to do. At first, it was difficult for us to start with our own projects. But gradually we get used to this way of working and we were able to do these little extra assignments while working on our own project. We worked under the guise of ‘just go with the flow’ and rescheduled our planning a bit.
We also faced a difference in information collection. There was no documentation, which described the working of a process totally, or what the properties of a material are. Everyone has his own little bit of information. When we needed some information about a subject, we always had to ask a lot of different people to get all the relevant information. After a few weeks we know which people were specialised in which subject, so it was much easier to gather the information.
In the beginning of our internship we thought we were going to do a research on using a new material in combination with a technique PPHPZ uses a lot. This technique is already cheaper than the traditional used technique and is called Dura Wall. To use this new material the cost will not only reduce significantly, but it will also be much more environmentally friendly. This new material is panels which are made of agricultural waste. Before we went to Zambia we had contact with Mr. Kawesha and assumed that he already produced these panels. After our meeting with Mr. Kawesha it turned out that the panels were still produced in de United States. Mr. Kawesha told us that building a house with these panels imported from de Unites States was just as expensive as building a house with concrete blocks, which technique is common nowadays. Hereby these panels are very interesting when the factory is actually producing these panels. All the more not less, the meeting with Mr. Kawesha was very interesting. He told us a lot about the housing problem in Zambia, how his company contributes to this problem and due to which problems it was hard to change the mind-set of the people. It was harder to find a solution for this problem that we expected. We had a lot of discussions with Nelson and a couple of other people. It turned out that a lot of projects would take too much time or were too expensive. In the end we decided to build an Eco San toilet combined with washing facilities.
We also ran into another problem. When people of the organisation asked us if we could do something, they mostly did not give any requirements. But afterwards there were a lot of things that had to be in the design or they wanted to be different. They always told us to make a concept version or a proposal. This creates a much longer time for finishing a project. We tried to tackle this problem by, before we start, asking specifically if there were any requirements. We also showed our progress once in a few days to see if we had to change things and if there were any other recommendations.