Summer 2014

Project Background

The focus community for this project was a group of women in Busuyi Village in Jinja, Uganda, who identified the improvement of their fish-drying process as their first priority. Silver fish are their main source of income, but their method of drying was inefficient and unhygienic, with a great deal of their fish ending up contaminated or spoiled. The women were aware that they could make an increased profit if they found a way to fix this problem. Another need the community identified was nutrition – the women and their families only eat one meal a day of fish and rice or posho (flour and water), and a garden would be helpful in improving their overall health. The project aimed to address both issues by designing and building a simple natural-convection solar dryer for the fish and building a community garden. The group conducted extensive research on existing solar dryer designs and combined aspects of several different dryers to design a unit that is easily replicable and uses only materials readily available in the community or in the nearby town. The GESI group was delighted by the community’s warm reception of and involvement in these projects; the village mason spearheaded the construction of the dryer and the entire process was done in collaboration with many of the community members. Finally, the group created a manual for the construction of the solar dryer, including the materials required and the builders’ contact information so the dryer could easily be replicated. For the garden, the group contracted a local agricultural specialist to teach and assist the community in creating nursery beds, making organic pesticide, setting up a simple irrigation system, and transplanting. With these two projects, Busuyi village has the tools for creating a healthier and more economically stable community.