Engineering Workshops

Educational engineering and science workshops are run by engineering students from NUI Galway in Kaoma, Western Zambia during work placement. The main objectives of the workshops included:Children

  • ‌Encouraging a positive attitude towards science, technology, engineering and mathematics
  • Introducing to students the relevance of science, engineering and mathematics to everyday life
  • Promoting a greater understanding of the role and contribution of engineering in society
  • To compare the similarities and differences with regard to engineering in Zambia and that of Ireland.
  • To implement the engineering knowledge of the NUI Galway students into the programme at the highest possible standard, yet keeping it fun and appealing to learn.
  • To broaden the students horizons.
  • To encourage further education.
  • To hopefully find a potential school to liaise with one in Ireland.

Cost Effective Sustainable Masonry Units

‌Stabilised soil blocks (SSBs) have been manufactured in Mongu, Western Zambia, since 2005. The enterprise was established to provide masonry blocks to build homes for the most needy in the area. However, it is also used to raise revenue for other projects undertaken by the Presentation Sisters in Mongu. As the quality of the blocks improved, so has the demand from local builders to the extent that demand often exceeds supply. The main reason for their growth in popularity is the ease of construction, with no special skills needed, and the standard of finish attained meaning there is no plastering required. The blocks are interlocking in nature, meaning that no mortar is used in bedding between courses of blocks. After the wall is constructed, the joints in the wall are pointed with soil/cement or sand/cement mortar and often times a varnish is applied to the outer face of the blocks to improve durability. Engineering students in NUI Galway completed a report on current block making facilities in Kaoma and Mongu, which aided AKP in their decision to set up micro-enterprise block making project in Kaoma where they train up locals in how to make blocks, as well as aiming to make a profit from the sale of blocks. NUI Galway students and staff have conducted a significant amount of research into strength and durability of stabilised soil blocks. The engineering students have conducted a large number of physical testing in the laboratory and in Kaoma to determine the most suitable soil for block making project in Kaoma. To date, four final year projects have been completed on this and there is a full-time PhD student working on this. The research work to date has lead to two conference papers (one won an international prize for best paper) and a journal paper is due for submission in November 2013. The engineering students have also conducted research into the agriculture and industry around Mongu and Kaoma in western Zambia, with specific attention to waste products that could be used in stabilised soil blocks.

Other projects

Examples of tangible outputs from the projects were:Engineering for Hunamity, Water Upgrade Kaoma, Zambia

  • ‌Detail design of a water upgrade for Cheshire Homes orphanage in Kaoma, Zambia.
  • Videoing and photographing of activities supported by AKPs, such as block making, for use in promotional material by AKP.
  • Creation of 3D visualisations and animations of projects purposed by AKPs, such as school building in Kaoma and the Kaoma Youth, Training and Recreational Centre, as well as the guesthouse, education centre and block making production facility in Mongu. Many of these have been used by the AKPs to help secture additional funding, such as their partnership with UNESCO Child & Family Resource Centre and securing charity of choice with large organisations such as the GAA in 2010 and HP in 2011.
  • Total Station Digital Surveying Kaoma
  • ‌Condition survey of damage building that accommodates the babies in the orphanage in Kaoma (written report with documented evidence. As a result of the students’ recommendations, AKP commissioned ‘Built-it’ to carry out independent survey. Building deemed unsafe and recommended to demolish and re-build)
  • Digital survey of lands associated with the orphanage in Kaoma and of the buildings in Mongu, Zambia. (Some of these AutoCAD drawings have already been used by a qualified engineer in Galway to complete a master plan and concept design for the site in Mongu).
  • Feasibility study of a bio-refinery for Boystown, Kaoma, Zambia (there exists an anaerobic digester, which is not working. We completed a concept design for a replacement system to turn waste from the local farm and pit latrines into gas for cooking).

More Projects -