Overview

In 2014 the first group of students taking part in the Buckets to Rainbarrels project travelled to Longido, a rural Maasai district in Longido, Tanzania, which faces water-related challenges. Over the past seven years, our project has become a multidisciplinary and collaborative initiative led by community members in Longido and students from Industrial Design, Civil & Environmental Engineering, and Food Sciences, and Business to address issues including health, agriculture, waste management, children’s recreation infrastructure, and more.

This year our team is called Symbia. We are a student organized group composed of Business and Industrial Design students. We will be traveling to Tanzania with the goals of expanding our cultural literacy, fostering connections with the Maasai community, and promoting innovation. we will work alongside community members in Longido this year to explore opportunities for growth including agriculture, water accessibility, infrastructure, business opportunities, and much more.

Our past student projects have won numerous awards, including 6 Acido Rocket awards, 2 Aga Khan fellowships, The Enactus Scotiabank Climate Challenge Best Idea award, a Red Dot award, Dubai Design Week best projects, the NIBS David Gillingham award, the Carleton Provost’s Scholar Award, and more.

The Background

We are working with our partner community to both take forward existing projects and develop new projects. These projects address:

  • Economic security by providing entrepreneurial opportunities for women in the region, with projects such as beehives, a cultural tourism platform, improved beading systems, and saffron growing as a cash crop.
  • Food security, with projects such as soil enhancement, irrigation systems.
  • Health security, with projects related to water treatment, making charcoal briquettes from dung as a source of fuel, and improved construction processes.

All of these projects are designed to be economically sustainable and will be able to be constructed and maintained locally.

Our aim is to understand Tanzanian culture, gain a more in-depth knowledge of their heritage and traditions, and use that information alongside input from the community to tailor solutions to specific problems of  concern to  the community.

Our goal is to strengthen a long-lasting relationship with the local Maasai community that goes beyond the scope of the projects created and highlights positive global change. We want to create connections founded on the idea of creating change bigger than the two communities themselves. We would like these projects to act as a catalyst for growth across the globe and inspire other communities towards development through innovation.

The Rollout

Donations to this campaign will enable students to take their projects forward by funding field work that includes on-the-ground prototype development and testing. Students will gain skills in cross-cultural communication, international development, and community engagement.

Funds will be used for on-the-ground costs for an intensive two week field trip to Tanzania, including:

  • Transportation, the cost of which has risen dramatically this year
  • Accommodations
  • Drivers
  • Local guides
  • Involvement of community residents and local students
  • Translators and cultural brokers to support interaction with local villagers

Funds will also be used to produce prototypes in the form of products, services, digital apps, and 3D models, which will be produced in Longido District with the participation of the community.

Students will be staying in the guest house of TEMBO, our NGO partner in the district.

The Impact

Together, these projects have great potential to create positive impact in the Longido community in several areas, including health, energy, environment, culture, and women’s entrepreneurship. In addition, all of these projects are scalable, adaptable to other contexts facing the same issues in both neighbouring regions and other parts of the world.

The impact on Carleton students is summed up in the following statement by BCOM student Christina Austin, who participated in this initiative last year: “ I was brought together with people I would likely not have associated with otherwise, at least outside of a professional context, and given the opportunity to build relationships with them. Then there is the ability to experience, learn about, and learn from, a whole other culture. To build relationships with the people of that culture and to love them. To understand on a new level our privilege and our shortcomings that exist because of our heritage. Even as I have conducted myself in another office job, I bring with me these lessons. Most prominently to communicate and seek to better understand my coworkers. Not simply to complete the task at hand, but to enrich our existence through the crossing of our paths.”

The project will also contribute to the professional and academic development of Carleton students. By participating in this collaborative effort, they will:

  • Be given a networking opportunity to gain knowledge of different lifestyles, cultural views, technological capabilities, and business practices.
  • Build cross-cultural competencies.
  • Experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel abroad and gain knowledge of different lifeways, cultural views, technological capabilities, and business practices..
  • Reinforce a lasting partnership with the Maasai community.
  • Collaborate with community members to address target areas, working towards beneficial changes
  • Collaborate with peers in a multidisciplinary context

Other Comments

I believe this project is currently an ongoing fund entitled “From Buckets to Rainbarrels”. It should be changed to a project (along with the name change) for the purposes of fundraising this fall, to give it visibility and make it easy to find for donors.

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