As of last week we have (reluctantly) returned to Finland but feel enthusiastic about continuing the work here. Since the trip ended everyone has had a little bit of time to process all the influences that we got during our stay in Dar es Salaam, and it seems that we have quite a clear and coherent idea about how we should continue with the project.
The second week of the trip reinforced our feelings about which tasks will form the base of the project, and after several meetings with the CCI representatives it seems that CCI is also on board with our plans. Completing the conceptual and physical design of the community office building will be our main priority, and we will also make design proposals for a partial master plan and multi-family housing units. We plan to make detailed designs and an extensive implementation plan regarding the community office, and if this pilot project proves out to be successful, the same construction methods may then be duplicated in the housing construction. We also decided to include a revised (partial) master plan in the project since it is important to consider the long-term development in the area. This way we can investigate the context in which the community office building will be sitting now and in the times to come. This way we can make sure that the design decisions we make take the community towards a sustainable and environmentally rich neighbourhood in the future.
We are also aiming for a very practical rather than academic approach since it seems that the community in question is really looking for solid results and quite a lot of academic reports and conceptual plans have already been made regarding the Chamazi area. This is why the implementation plan will have a major role in the project. Some things that we will have to look into will be determining a budget and possible funding options for the community office project as well as finding organizations and professionals that we can co-operate with to work towards realizing the plans. The community will need funding as well as constructional education to be able to work with the new bottle wall technique. Most construction work will probably be executed by the Chamazi community members themselves (just like they are doing now with the brick construction), so hiring a lot of external construction labour will probably not be necessary. Members of our group should also be able to make another trip to Tanzania to deliver the building plans and supervise the construction work.
So it seems that the project scope has both become more accurate as well as becoming quite extensive, and we will have a lot of issues to tackle in the following weeks of work. During our last meeting with the CCI representatives on the Friday before going back home we agreed to keep close contact with both CCI and the community members to keep them informed about how the project is developing. We have agreed to arrange some Skype meetings as well as making sure that the final project report will be delivered to Chamazi as soon as it is finished. The essential parts regarding the construction and maintenance of the community office building will be compiled into an individual booklet that will be translated to Swahili. This way we are trying to make sure that we provide the community with plans and information that they can understand and utilize easily.
In general, it seems that the whole group feels quite satisfied with all the information and experiences that we got out of the trip, and we somehow managed to fit all the important visits, meetings and workshops into the short time span of two weeks that we had. Now the task is to process that information into our planning work, and look for contacts to help us realize the plans.