Last year, AISE Tanzania received funding from The GO Campaign to set up Appropriate Technology Clubs at schools around Arusha. Although it has been difficult to find schools that are committed to the program, we had a really great experience with the Laroi Primary School south of Arusha.
The students were very excited to have some practical sessions and to build new technologies themselves. We worked with the 35 students in Standard 7 (7th grade) and they brought the perfect balance of curiosity, enthusiasm and inquisitiveness to the sessions. The teachers themselves wanted to help us as much as possible and get a glimpse of what sorts of activities we were running.
The most successful activities were probably having the students build their own maize shellers (for removing kernels from the cob)  and demonstrating the bicycle-powered blender. They worked with sheet metal and learned basic metal-working skills. As they worked in teams through the assembly process, they were clearly feeling more and more confident about their ability to make their own technologies. The second activity with the blender was a great exercise to encourage the students to think creatively about the machines they have around them.
Clockwise from top left: Students examine a hand-held maize sheller to identify the design features; A student uses a jig to produce the maize sheller; Bernard explains how each of the tools are used; Bernard demonstrates that the blender can be produced with material available in a market town; One of the students produced her own design for a maize sheller using old roof sheeting.
Also see the video here.
 The design of the sheet metal maize sheller has been in existence for a few years now, but the manufacturing process was a clever innovation by Bernard which relies on a jig that can be produced by a local welder and makes the process much quicker and more reliable.
I’m afraid that we’ve been a bit boring recently. We’re building a new workshop, which is a slow process, but it’s nearly complete, so things should really be buzzing soon here.
In the meantime, I wanted to share some fantastic pictures of a solar water heater that Bernard developed using old fluorescent light tubes. He had built one for his father’s house three years ago and people started asking him about it, so he decided to make the unit a bit bigger (50 liters of water per day). and a prototype for a blender that he’s hoping to attach to a bicycle. It feels like all of our energy is going into getting this workshop finished, so it’s always exciting when I look up and see that Bernard is tinkering with something new. In fact, several people have been asking about the solar water heater and we have two orders already.
Clockwise from top left: Bernard opening the tap on his solar water heater that we keep on hand to show to prospective customers; Oscar (one of our young mechanics) welding the frame of a solar water heater that a customer has ordered; Oscar grinding down the weld; the solar water heater in progress; and the finished product.