What does everyone need to survive? – Right, access to fresh water. That this is not a matter of course in many countries of the world can only be realized as a sad fact. Even for the TanZebras the provision of drinking water is not a matter of course. The water from the crane – if there is a water supply – or the cool water from the well are far from drinking water quality. We want to change that!
The drinking water problem was brought to our attention once again when our football team from Gongo received the licence for the fourth league. One of the conditions imposed by the Tanzanian Football Federation (TFF) was to provide drinking water for both teams. The importance of clean water is already evident here. So we put our heads together and thought about how we could improve the situation. It was clear to us that there was not much we could do about the infrastructure, but sometimes there are very practical solutions – and we found them with our supporters of “what-a-bird”.
Kristin Skibba and Lars Trappe from Havixbeck took up the issue and found a solution that was as simple as it was ingenious. “On our travels we were always confronted with the problem of not always being able to get clean drinking water,” Lars remembers. So the two sat down together and, in the finest developer spirit, founded a start-up. “what-a-bird” was born, and their idea won them developer prizes non-stop.
How does the “bird” work?
In many countries a large part of the drinking water is still transported and stored in canisters. This is where they started with their idea. “It was important to us to invent something that would make it easier for local people to obtain drinking water and that would require virtually no maintenance,” explains Kirsten Skibba at a meeting with the zebra herd. The result was a water filter system for canisters, “which had never been seen before in this form. The assembled “bird” is simply put into the canister and it can be pumped. The water obtained is 99.99% bacteria-free thanks to the hollow fibre membrane technology used.
During the construction, the two of them took care to design the “bird” to be particularly robust. If cleaned regularly, a filter will last up to five years before it needs to be replaced. Of course, you don’t have to buy it new – a replacement set can be purchased at fair conditions. “This is just the right thing for our association”, says Mathias Langnickel from the zebra herd, expressing his enthusiasm about the product. “The ‘bird’ has convinced me absolutely and it will make everyday life in Gongo much easier”, he continues, taking a big sip of freshly filtered water from the pond. For this refreshment Lars had filled a canister with local pond water especially for our visit – test passed: tastes good!
The “bird” on the way to Tanzania
“Congratulations on your ascent,” it echoes from the phone as Skibbi calls. “This is such a great project you’re doing and we’re happy to be on board.” Among the congratulations was also the promise to provide two “birds” free of charge – thank you very much! In about three weeks the birds will start their journey to Dar Es Salaam, when Mathias and Jörg will visit the TanZebras again. With some kickers there will be a little training so that the new “bird” will be used professionally. Another small step towards the improvement of the local living conditions we were able to take together with the two founders – many more to come!
You want to give us a jersey or shirt from the MSV so that the zebra crossings can be worn all over the world? You will be travelling soon and don’t know if you always have clean drinking water available? Then get in touch with us – we will arrange a “bird” for you. Just write us a message.
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