A structure for Project 3?

Increase utility rate of bio-sand water filters in villages.

A structure for Project 3?

Postby H. Timothy Hsiao » Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:58 pm

Hi Project 3 investigators,

I'd like to suggest a structure to start with. Please share any feedback you may have!

(1) Background research (as suggested by Ciardubain)
e.g. (a) What is the biosand filter?; (b) What is the life, schedule like in the villages? (c) Resources in the villages (including hardware, transportation in the households, and talent pool available? etc..

(2) Identify the underlying causes for the low acceptance of the bio-sand filters;

(3) Make hypotheses for solutions to address the causes.

(4) Test the hypotheses for feasibility and cost/benefit.

(5) feasibility check with client contacts.

(6) Modify solution and make actionable step-by-step plan for implementation.

(7) Present to the adviser and client.


Please share your thoughts to better the structure!
H. Timothy Hsiao
 
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Re: A structure for Project 3?

Postby ciardubain » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:25 am

Hi Tim and teammates,
This approach sounds very solid to me. As I mentioned in my thread on background research, there is a wealth of information on the bio-sand filters. However, I am wondering who we can contact to address your points about background information regarding the village itself and the people who live there. Short of traveling there and conducting interviews (which I assume is a long way off due to funding limitations), do we have a liaison in or near the village or someone who has been there before and living close to one of us? I have sent out requests to people I know that may have been in similar villages before to see what information I can get from them. I will report back when I hear from them.
I'm working on a condensed body of information for how the sand filters work and necessary specs and conditions for them to operate properly. I'm not sure this is necessary if everyone is up to speed on this information. Does anyone want/need this? If so, please post specific points that you need clarification on and it should be a week or so before I can put it together properly.
Cheers,
Jay
ciardubain
 
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Re: A structure for Project 3?

Postby tienshiao » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:56 pm

Hi Tim, thanks so much for sending a reminder email. I needed it. Been getting used to my new job, which isn't so bad except for this massive excel I'm taking over. But, things are getting better!

First, the structure looks great to me.

Second, thanks Jay for sharing the background on bio-filters. I worked at an engineering firm for a couple of years looking at arsenic removal technologies for drinking water treatment. Therefore, if you need any technical help, I'm happy to provide whatever I may know, although it looks like you're doing a great job now. The main things I'm interested in are 1) what is the capacity of one bio-filter, 2) what is the flowrate, 3) what is the water quality before and after, 4) how long does one bio-filter last, and 5) how much does a biofilter last?

Third, I am most interested in item 2 of the structure - identify the cause for the low acceptance of the biofilter. Some common complaints I've heard for household purification systems in developing countries include the hassle of maintenance, difficulty to dispose of the filters, and the price. Also, if there are no short-term health impacts, then people think it's more of a hassle then it's worth. Jay, would you mind letting me know what your contacts say? I can also help contact them. Tim, do you know someone who has the biofilter with whom i can contact?

Thanks much,
Tien
tienshiao
 
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Re: A structure for Project 3?

Postby H. Timothy Hsiao » Fri Oct 29, 2010 12:13 am

Thanks Jay! I also have a friend who grew up in one of the Bateys. I'll ask him to join our discussion.

Welcome Tien! I am glad that you've settled down in DC and work! With your engineering back we're so much more powered!

Your comment:
"Some common complaints I've heard for household purification systems in developing countries include the hassle of maintenance, difficulty to dispose of the filters, and the price. Also, if there are no short-term health impacts, then people think it's more of a hassle then it's worth."
Sounds quite to the point - It's a great hypothesis! I wonder whether we want to follow the consulting way - establish a most probable hypothesis and tackle it.

Daniel in the Hospital El Buen Samaritano (I just sent you all an email with his contact) is the Director of the Biosand Filter Project at the Hospital. (Just another reminder, although Daniel's English skill is excellent, it's not his mother tongue, so please use polite, but concise, simple and straightforward sentence structures when communicating so it wouldn't be too burdenful for him.

Oh, for the cost, as what I heard, the concrete-made filter costs ~USD$100. Daniel's team makes the filters in a workshop at the hospital site. Rotary is picking up the cost at this moment.
H. Timothy Hsiao
 
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Re: A structure for Project 3?

Postby tienshiao » Fri Oct 29, 2010 2:24 pm

Hi Tim,

I just contacted Daniel. Thanks for the heads up on the English. I'll be as straight forward as I can. Although after the School of Forestry, I've become quite a rambler :).

Thanks for the contact information. I emailed Daniel and will speak with him on Monday at 5 pm. I suggested Skype but am waiting to hear whether he has that. Tim, do you know what the best way is to get a hold of people? If any of you would like to join in to the conversation, you are more than welcome!I'll also update everyone...

I've never worked as a consultant but think it's a great idea to prove or disprove a probable hypothesis. I like it!

If that's the case, below are my questions to Daniel. These are relate to the hypothesis. Let me know if you'd like to add, or already know the answer to them based on your experience and research :). Oh yes, is there a timeline/due date for this project?

- What kind of maintenance does the bio-sand filter need? How frequent is maintenance needed? Who's in charge of the maintenance (head of the household, the women, the children etc.)? Is it easy to get new parts of the bio-sand filter if it breaks? Is it easy to get a new one? How does one know whether it's time to switch out the bio-sand filter? Is it common for villagers to continue using the bio-sand filter even after it has been spent?
- How are the bio-sand filters disposed of, once they are spent? Are there any requirements for disposal?
- Do you think the villagers can afford the bio-sand filter if Rotary is not picking up the cost? What is the average monthly income?
- Where is the water supply? What happens if there's a drought? What are the health impacts from the current water quality, without bio-sand treatment? How long has the bio-sand filter been introduced?
tienshiao
 
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Re: A structure for Project 3?

Postby H. Timothy Hsiao » Sat Oct 30, 2010 10:10 am

Hi! Thanks Tien for heading to contact Daniel. Daniel is a very intelligent manager of the program and I believe you could learn a lot about it.

I used to use my prepaid phone card, or the prepaid credit on Skype to call their cell phones directly. The expense is not too bad, but does cost. Otherwise, msn messenger might be a good way. I noticed that a large percentage of people I met in DR have hotmail account. I am not a savvy messenger user, but I heard there's a conversation function on msn messenger, too? Or, how about the new Gmail video chat function?
(1) Skype / Other phone card companies - prepaid phone services;
(2) MSN Messenger Chat / Call
(3) Gmail video chat
For your reference.

I spoke with Daniel a lot before, so think I'll just let you guys to get in touch and be familiarized with each other this time. How do you do conference call, Tien? Is that a function on Skype? I'd like to learn!

<Questions for Testing hypothesis>
[What kind of maintenance does the bio-sand filter need? How frequent is maintenance needed?]
??
[Who's in charge of the maintenance (head of the household, the women, the children etc.)?]
Daniel's team is in charge of the maintenance. They make regular visits to the villages to examine the filters and perform needed maintenance. No cost / maintenance obligation is on the villagers.

[Is it easy to get new parts of the bio-sand filter if it breaks? Is it easy to get a new one?]
??
[How does one know whether it's time to switch out the bio-sand filter?]
??
[Is it common for villagers to continue using the bio-sand filter even after it has been spent?]
??

[How are the bio-sand filters disposed of, once they are spent? Are there any requirements for disposal?]
The filters need to be demolished for disposal, so that no village residents would incorrectly use any malfunctioning filters, and blame on the filters if any health conditions arises later. Please also see our "Photo Libraries" - Biosand_Filter. There're pictures of the disposal process of filters. The inner content is emptied. the shell is demolished.

[Do you think the villagers can afford the bio-sand filter if Rotary is not picking up the cost? What is the average monthly income?]
Don't think they could afford if Rotary is not paying for it. Not sure of any precise number for monthly income, but I know the income is very low, and the sugar cane cutting work is only seasonal.

[Where is the water supply? What happens if there's a drought?]
??
[What are the health impacts from the current water quality, without bio-sand treatment?]
??
[How long has the bio-sand filter been introduced?]
??
H. Timothy Hsiao
 
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Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:10 am


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