Raincatcher

Raincatcher

Tabora, TanzaniaLondon, United Kingdom
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Established
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We build rainwater harvesting systems to supply clean, free water to rural Tanzania. Not only do we use locally-sourced materials and labour to make the project sustainable, we even run an education scheme to teach people of the importance of clean water.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Without clean water, things fall apart quickly. Children spend their days collecting water instead of going to school, men and women exhaust their money on expensive municipal water, and contaminated water causes disease to spread like wildfire. Other supplies like shallow wells, groundwater and municipal supplies are either too dirty, unsustainable or expensive. Rainwater harvesting is the solution we've found to be the most effective.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Rather than simply building water tanks, we aim to develop an entire self-sustaining system around rainwater harvesting. This is done through three main tenets: addressing needs, imparting knowledge and ensuring proliferation. Firstly, we address urgent needs by constructing community-level rainwater harvesting systems. Secondly, we impart vital knowledge by teaching locals how to build household-level rainwater harvesting systems. Finally, we improve systems and increase capacity, ensuring that they have both the resources and motivation to do so through microfinance, entrepreneurship schemes and education programmes on the ground.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Every year, we worry that there is not enough local engagement, that even though the villagers are welcoming and happy to see us, that they may not have the drive and knowledge to take the project into their own hands. On the most recent project, we went back to last year's site to further the project and were greeted by an incredible surprise. The local people had built, completely out of their own initiative, not one, but six full-sized rainwater harvesting systems in the village! This, to us, was proof that our vision of sustainability was more than a dream. The people in Tanzania were fully capable of building water tanks and, more importantly, understood the importance of clean water.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Other rainwater-harvesting-based charities exist. What sets us apart is our dedication to sustainability. Sustainability, for us, is not a word lightly thrown out. We emphasise using only locally-sourced materials and labour, and imparting knowledge and understanding of rainwater harvesting systems to the local population. One massive pointer to the success of our approach is the fact that, last year, after we built one water 50,000 litre water tank in a local village, they built six more tanks later that year, entirely independently from outside help! That is what we call sustainability.
About You
Organization:
Raincatcher Imperial
About You
First Name

Xing Kai

Last Name

Loy

About Your Project
Organization Name

Raincatcher Imperial

Organization Country

, LND, London

Country where this project is creating social impact

, TB, Tabora

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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Your Solution
Founding Story: Share a story about the “Aha!” moment that led you to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

Raincatcher struck me from the very start as a novel project with huge possibilities. The very fact that it was entirely student-led, flexible and growing really attracted me to it. But it was only after joining for a year did I realise the full impact we could make; we weren't just fundraising to build water tanks, we were planting seeds of knowledge and expertise within the local community, aiming to grow our project without external aid. That was when I really understood what they meant by sustainability.

After being involved for two years, my excitement for the project has only grown. Seeing the project evolve in front of my eyes to something far more effective than it first was is what drives me to keep on pushing for more change.

Select Sector(s): To which of Unilever's categories of sustainability does your solution apply?

Water.

Measurable Impact
Audience: Who have you identified as your customers/recipients and why? How will you get your solution to them or engage them in your initiative?

We tend to focus on schools, community centres and churches, as they are the most reliable organisations who we can depend on to supply water to the community. Last year, we built our tanks at a local girls school. This had the dual benefit of encouraging students to receive an education and empowering women.

We also consider members of Raincatcher in the UK to be recipients of our project. We focus a lot on discussing sustainability and overseas aid, complex issues that are vital to any charity.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date and expected impact in the future?

Over five years, we have set up over 1,000,000 accumulated litres of water storage. Each year, we return to previous years' sites to monitor the state and level of usage of the rainwater harvesting systems. In general, the local population have been able to repair any damage themselves, and the tanks have filled nearly to their maximum capacity every year, supplying enough water for nearly the entire dry season. Last year, we introduced a set of surveys that allow us to monitor, more quantitatively and objectively, how much difference the water tanks are making.

Ultimately, we want to see the local people entirely independent of external aid. Developing our education aspect and microfinance schemes will allow them to build tanks, spread expertise and share knowledge by themselves. Each village should have several large tanks, and each family a household-scale system.

Growth, Finance & Leadership
Scaling the Solution: How do you intend to scale your activities over the next two years (e.g., reach new markets, diversify solutions, etc.)? What will make this possible?

Establishing a permanent branch of our society in Tabora - Raincatcher Tabora. We intend to lever on their local expertise to spread both the importance of clean water, and the experience they have gained with building rainwater harvesting systems. We have already demonstrated that the local population are capable of building their own water tanks and understanding the importance of what they are doing. Setting up a branch in Tabora will fuel this progress we're making on that front.

We already liase with the local university and NGO for our projects. To make this work, we need to strengthen the amount of contact we have throughout the year, and develop with them publicity and educational materials that they can use.

Financial Sustainability: What is your business model to ensure financial sustainability?

Introducing a microfinance scheme to ensure that knowledge is spread between households and villages is one of our most important objectives at the moment. Our vision is that each family build their own household-size water tank to satisfy their water requirements for the year.

We will continue building large-scale rainwater harvesting systems, which will also have the effect of inspiring (as they have last year) people to build their own.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Working in start-up companies has lent me an understanding of the dynamism behind entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking. From this experience, I then started my own company, with a few friends, in electronic manufacturing and retail in Singapore. That experience has given me a good grasp of the fundamentals in business: from managing teams and finances to strategic planning and development.