Rainwater for Bomas


Tanzania and the people there are beautiful, colourful and unique. The trip was extremely insightful and I will be holding onto many memories. Its really interesting seeing how ideas evolved through our time there and I would strongly encourage anyone who is presented with a similar opportunity to take it for all it is and try it out. I have found that through this project it has allowed me for some very unique collaborations with the residents of Longido and surrounding villages, Environmental Engineering students, and Business students. Different perspectives from different sets of eyes for the same event observed and experienced proved to be extremely valuable when going over observations and insights.


Before the trip, I was under the impression that the residents of Longido did not have access to eaves troughs and the rare places that did have eaves troughs had very poorly designed systems. Upon arrival and a walk around of the Longido town; it could be seen that there were a lot of eaves present. Though mostly installed on larger institution and community buildings, make shift metal eaves or halved PVC pipes were used to collect rain water off of the roofs. There were problems with such eaves systems in place with leaking issues, costly parts and lack of aesthetic appeal. 

  • There were a lot of eaves trough solutions already present for residential housing in Longido; the owners of these houses would upgrade in increments as needed and could eventually but the eaves trough system as desired.
  • Everyone uses rainwater in one way or another, there are many misconceptions around the cleanliness of rainwater and better education would be able to help locals understand sanitary water solutions.
  • Bomas make up approximately 40% of the housing in Longido and there are no current rain water collection systems in place for such housing. This provides an opportunity to look into creative solutions to collect rainwater while working with non-standardized house structures

Initial Testing - Dragon's Den

There were two initial key concepts:

  1. Water Fall Modular Eaves: staggered eaves units would create a waterfall effect to collect water off of the circular structure.
  2. Tarp Eaves: A continuation of the 'Tarps for Tanzania' initial concept for dragon's den. It was observed that some bomas covered their straw rooftops with tarps to stop roof leaks. The concept was to create a specail boma roof covering tarp that has eaves built into it to collect the rainwater.

Both concepts were well recieved by the panel at Dragon's Den though some things were lost in translation when they were looking at the prototypes. For one, they thought the prototypes were the final design materials and were confused as to how some of the materials would be sourced (ie: foam core).

Updated Concept

I came to the conclusion that it would be more useful to focus on the collection of rainwater for bomas to help the residents of these sub-villages. There are no current water collection solutions for boma housing and by addressing this problem we could potential aid in providing additional water that can help in saving time and labour to walk long distances to collect water. 

Next Steps

Currently prototyping and testing of different materials and forms are underway, key things that still need to be resolved:
  • End material selection based on material availability and properties
  • Fastening system to the non standardized roofing of the bomas
  • Ideal form and sizing for circular roofs
  • Packaging and transportation
  • Ease of assembly 

Only a couple of months left!!!! 

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