Updated: 1 day ago
My name is Saul Cornel Mwandosya. I am Tanzanian and I now live in Mwanza, Lake Victoria. During my childhood, I was raised in Dar es Salaam, Morogoro and Mbeya. When I was in primary school I excelled in arithmetic and my parents were very proud of that. My secrect? I supported my mother in her small business and my father taught me my multiplication tables when I was just 8 years old. This catalysed me to practice what I learnt at school and integrate it with my life at home. I wish all children could learn what they normally practice in their social lives. However, I was poor at languages (both Swahili and English) untill I joined Ordinary Level Education. This is when I met Sikana’s (my father’s friend) family who recognised my strengths and weaknesses at learning and decided to give me heartfelt support. I am grateful to those who have contributed to where I am today. I was contacted by Anthony from The Sanitation Innovation Fund after writing about water security in Tanzania on an email discussion. Anthony convinced me to participate in The Pooptank and I was able to pitch my innovation and win the Bronze medal and 1000USD.
During my free time, I like to surround myself in nature and biodiversity. To me, Lake Victoria is a natural amenity. It is a source of my recreation and food since I can get fish and water from the lake. As an experienced water, sanitation, and hygiene practitioner with a master’s degree in integrated sanitation management, the deterioration of Lake Victoria’s water quality is plain to see. The major factors that contribute to the problem stem from the uncontrolled urbanisation and population growth around the Lake, which results in solid and liquid waste flows into the lake. These wastes exceed the Lake’s natural rehabilitation capacity and cause many risks including sanitation-related diseases to the Lake’s population; increase in the cost of water treatment for domestic uses; and threats to aquatic life, including the fish we eat.
One of Lake Victoria’s major environmental challenges is the discharge of untreated, raw, human excreta into the lake. This is caused by unplanned urbanisation, unhygienic behaviours, weak enforcement of onsite sanitation technologies and deficient sanitation legislation. My innovative approach to positively impact water quality in Lake Victoria is to use ICT (Information and Communications Technology) tools for sanitation enforcement in Mwanza city. Use of the ICT tools includes digital monitoring tools, a toll free number, and electronic media to connect to the targeted communities and implementing partners (Mwanza City Council and MWAUWASA). I have already engaged WASH and ICT experts from government, academia, and the private sector to enrich my innovation. The Pooptank has given me a kick-start, but my innovation will need more funding if I am achieve tangible results.
So far, The Pooptank has given me an opportunity to expand my professional network, including being invited to participate in webinars. I am proud of that. On this journey of innovation, I am encouraged by the inspirational Pooptank leadership. Anthony has been encouraging me from day zero, he encouraged me to apply to The Pooptank and keeps pushing me along. I recommend that others apply for the Pooptank in 2023 because it offers a learning hub with which to engage with innovative solutions which can positively impact the Lake Victoria community.