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Launching the Sand Dredger in the Ezichi River

11 Jul

With the first dredger ever on the Ezichi River, this milestone allowed the ongoing Anam City project to take on a new trajectory. This is the first time the Ezichi River has been mechanically dredged; currently local source sand from the river manually using a process that is slow and unsafe. The mobile dredging boat will allow increased  flexibility for year-round provision of sand at volumes required for the construction of the city project.

The construction of the Anam dredger was initiated in January 201 to augment the scarcity of sand in the region and, specifically at the Anam City site. Before now, the process of bringing sand to the site has been a very difficult task. This is because the only alternate beach is at Otuocha, where a tipper can purchase sand and deliver by road. Otu-ocha is a town 50-kilometer away from Ebenebe Anam.  The newly installed dredger at Ezichi River will make sand available for the New City.  Construction of the boat has finally come to completion as the dredger has fully commenced operation today.

Dredging is an excavation activity usually carried out underwater with the purpose of gathering up bottom sediments and disposing of them at a different location. This technique is often used to keep waterways navigable.  In our case, it is the next in our series of ‘seed businesses’ that can help to generate jobs and funding, as well as providing an immediately local resource (i.e. sand) vital in the construction process.  The dredging business is an exciting economic development angle for the Chife Foundation, as it has potential to generate funds that can further support the initiatives underway in Anam. 

Dredging is also used as a way to replenish sand on some public beaches, where sand has been lost because of coastal erosion.   The process of dredging creates spoils (the excess material), which are carried away from the dredged area. Dredging can also produce materials for land reclamation or other purposes, usually construction-related.

Because dredging involves the removal of accumulated bottom sediments it is also used to maintain or enlarge a navigation channel or for the purposes of waterfront construction, utilities placement and environmental remediation.    Anam farmers have indicated that the Ezichi has reduced in size and depth significantly in the past 10 years due to erosion (caused by recent tree cover loss) which has augmented the problem of sedimentation in the Ezichi River.  Many will be glad to see the river dredged as it can help to keep it navigable.

There is some concern over the environmental effects of dredging and disposal of dredged material (sometimes contaminated), the increasing unavailability of suitable disposal sites and dredging role in supporting waterborne commerce have combined to raise public interest in dredging and disposal of the material.

All in a day’s work

12 May

We’ve snapped a few pictures of the projects in progress today in Ogwuyo, the first neighborhood in Anam City.  Over 100 men and women were employed on site in a big push before rainy season transforms the landscape. Rainy season has already come full force across Nigeria; Lagos in particular is reporting heavy rainfalls and increase flooding risks this month. The Nigerian government predicts an especially heavy rainy-season this year according to this article in the Vanguard.  In contrast, Africa Science News reports that East Africa expects an unusually low rainfall year . Research suggests that these inconsistencies may be tied to global climate change.

Anam City will continue to research and prototype of flood resilient design and ecological and green infrastructure approaches that may mitigate impacts of flooding and increased water levels in the area of the Niger River Delta.

Development Council inspects city project site

19 Apr

On Monday March 12th, 2012 a quarterly meeting of the Umuoba-Anam Development Council (UADC) and Anam Development Company (ADC) was held at Ebenebe.  The UADC is an organization created by the Community of Umuoba-Anam to manage the community’s interest in the development at Ebenebe.  The Umuoba-Anam community President General (PG), Barrister Nwatah Stan led his group to the secretariat of the ADC.

On arrival at Ebenebe the Council inspected the progress of the New City at the first phase construction site in Ogwuyo.  The Brick Factory was in full operation, the Fish Farm, and the Yam Store (built to replace the traditional yam storage system “oba”), and the affordable Houses and other housing project were under construction.

After the site visit, the Chife Foundation team made a detailed presentation of the state of the New City Project to the UADC, showing images of construction drawings and housing plans. The UADC representatives expressed their gratitude on development so far and also encouraged the Chife Foundation team to achieve as much as possible as to follow the 2011 Master Plan and MOU.

Dr. Chife (CEO of ADC and Chife Foundation founder) joined the meeting for closing words, expressing appreciation for the Development Council’s involvement in the ongoing project. He said he is impressed that the community is beginning to see the reality of the New City and understand the potential for the project.

Yam Store groundbreaking in Ogwuyo to transform regional market

4 Dec

A rendering explaining the innovative features of the new Yam Store

Workers finishing the foundation trenches for the Yam Store

Workers finishing the foundation trenches for the Yam Store

This week our newest project, the Anam Yam Store broke ground in the Ogwuyo neighborhood of Anam City.  We are excited to begin this project as it marks a significant advance in the region towards solving the problem of agricultural food preservation.  As we have discussed before on this blog, many local farmers and tradesmen are unable to maximize their income because of the short storage life of the yam after harvest; since all farmers in the region are forced to sell their yams at the same time of year, prices are held down.  There are few innovations to solve this problem, aside from costly refrigeration or chemical treatment, and no facilities yet exist in the region.  The Anam Yam store building was designed use passive strategies to keep the yams at a low temperature and facilitate the movement of air around the produce:  the walls are open at the top to optimize ventilation and there are vent-holes (with rodent and insect-proof screens) to introduce cool air and induce convective cooling.  Shelving and hangings systems will keep yams off the floor and maximize accessibility and inspectability- in this way traditional and modern storage techniques can be hybridized, tested and compared with each other.  The metal roof is on a truss structure that also supports a thatch ceiling – the upper layer provides shade, while the thatch intercepts heat radiated from the metal above; the large space between helps to induce airflow and disperse heat away from the interior.

By holding the yams for longer, we will create an agricultural futures market, whereby produce can be sold during an off-season when prices are highest.  The income from this venture can be reinvested into the project and community, as well as helping to raise the standard of living of the farmers.  The long term goal is for individual farmers to ‘bank’ their yams in a cooperative store so that they can have a greater benefit from their hard labour.   This project is the first of several agricultural storage and processing facilities that are planned for Ogwuyo and Anam City as a whole.

In just a few weeks the structure will be be complete and ready to receive the first yams!

A traditional Igbo method for storing yams

A traditional Igbo method for storing yams in an Oba

RELAUNCH: over 70 interested workers attend Brick Factory kick-off meeting

22 Nov
Young men and women signing up for work at the brick factory

Both men and women came for information about working at the Anam Bricks factory

Now that the flood has receded, the Anam Development Company held an open meeting on Friday at the Bricks Factory in Anam New City to launch a new work season. A free boat left Otuocha in the morning bringing many people, while others walked or rode okada to the event from nearby towns of: (1) Iyora, (2) Umueze Anam, (3) Aboegbu, (4) Otuocha, (5) Nmiata, and (6) Ebenebe.

A total of 72 people were present at the meeting, including 55 men and 17 women, joined by several elders in the community. It was very positive to see such a large showing of people with an interest in contributing to the progress of the new face of Anam. Among this number there were 13 trained workers who received a certification from the Auroville Earth Institute in the technique of making bricks from the local atachikpa and laterite earth.  During the event, three of these trained workers were recognized for their outstanding commitment to the Anam City project since the training in March 2011.

Trained workers discussing their plans for forming work teams

Trained workers discussing their plans for forming work teams

After discussing the importance of the entire City project and the role of local brick production, many other issues were brought up regarding ways to move the brick factory forward.  There was a special interest by all in knowing when the brick making work will commence, as many people are very eager to start working there. Several applicants also asked when there could be another training at the factory.

The creative operating model of the Anam Bricks was also explained and discussed by the group.  Each trained brick factory worker will lead a team of 6-10 people, and be paid as a team by the number of bricks they can produce.  It is currently estimated that one team can make 1,000 bricks in a day on a single machine.  The factory also requires that each team include at least one female worker so that they can also have a fair chance at the work and learning new skills.   The team-based model will also allow the workers to have flexibility so that they can still continue other part-time occupations, such as farming or fishing.

An applicant asks a question about working in the Bricks Factory

An applicant asks a question about working in the Bricks Factory

Brick production will begin in early December 2011.

Anam Brick Factory maintains a list of prospective workers and trainees; if you would like to be added and contacted via SMS regarding updates on job or training opportunities, please contact Brick Factory Coordinator Ayodele on 07086139095.

Blog Post by Ayodele Eneji, Brick Factory Coordinator

Brick factory employment form

Brick factory employment form

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