Following the FSM4 conference in Chennai, we hosted Chris Buckley from UKZN in South Africa at our CEPT site.
“Prof Buckley is a chemical engineer and has spent his career as a contract researcher in the field of urban and industrial water and effluent management at the University of Natal and currently the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The primary funding sources are the South African Water Research Commission, eThekwini Municipality, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Sasol and Umgeni Water. He has partnerships with many international research groups.” – taken Chris’ bio on UKZN’s Academic Staff page.
Chris leads a center of excellence in sanitation research at UKZN, and is one of our partners for our upcoming prototype deployment to Durban. Chris’s visit provided him the opportunity to see the Duke/RTI RT, its field site operations, and to help facilitate planning for the Durban installation.
We had a nice half day visit with Marc and Siddharth from Duke University at the RTI-Duke site at CEPT in Ahmedabad on February 25th.
Marc and Siddharth did some initial measurements on key-point sources of odor in our prototype. As we’ve written in the past, odor is a key contributor to the adoption rate of our sanitation system: now, and in the future. Study after study has shown that people are drastically less likely use a toilet if it smells unclean. So the resulting data from this visit will be quite important for us moving forward.
We also enlisted the full Ahmedabad team in the inaugural run of the odor measurement procedure that is drafted in the IWA standards document. We hoped to glean new insight by performing a trial run of this process and we weren’t let let down. We learned a quite a bit.
Our student team is working up some creative ideas for spreading the word about our alpha unit in the “WiC Research Lab” on the CEPT campus.
One those ideas involves the use of QR codes, which we will use to drive traffic to various videos, papers and content related to our project posted on the web. Scan the QR code with your phone and boom – you are taken to a specifically curated piece of content.
Another way is through signage. In the pictures above and below, Akul and Rutul have organized some new signage at the prototype site to attract attention and make it more welcoming.
All of this is part of a strategy to raise awareness on campus and, hopefully, attract users when we are ready for them to start using our toilet.
Promotion of anything new can be hard and it’s even more difficult when you are tackling the topic of sanitation. Seeing the student team go all in on promoting and getting people to use our prototype shows their investment to change the way their community sees sanitation. It’s very inspiring. There has been proven success with CLS (community led sanitation) and we are hopeful to see the same results on CEPT campus.