||Artemisinin is a product that helps in preventing malaria. Artemisia annua is a plant which is cultivated in Togo a lot. The medicinal plant is often transformed into tea and sold for the protection against malaria. In the rural center of Sichem in Togo, the production of this tea from Artimisia, is performed. Approximately 20% of the production is coming from plants cultivated in Sichem itself but 80% is coming from farmers around the center of Sichem (located from 2 to 10km away from Sichem). Before the plant is chopped in small parts to prepare the tea, the plant is dried in a UV-protected and ventilated area. If this is not performed as such, the medicinal working of the plant will disappear. Further, transport of the plants from the field to Sichem is not easy when the plants are not yet chopped.
Therefore in this project, the development of a production line for tea in Sichem, a rural center in Togo, will be investigated and implemented by 2 masterstudents Electromechanics. They will design the production process for the tea and will investigate how the plant can be dried and chopped at the local villages before it will be transported to Sichem for the final preparation steps and packaging. They are performing this work already now here in Belgium and plan to go to Togo from February until May 2019 to implement their production technology.
In a previous project in Sichem, two master students developed a mobile battery for charging of mobile phones in remote villages. In this project both the engineering and the socio-economical impact was studied. Also for this project, the aim is alike, however, a first step is the engineering, the development of a business model for the local production will follow in a next step. As we are developing a firm cooperation with the rural center in Sichem, dr. Antoine Dzamah, who is the head of this center, will also come to Belgium to discuss the previous and the current project. We will take this opportunity to have him as a lecturer for the second year students of IIW to explain these development relevant projects. This way we hope to motivate young students for development cooperation. This visit will probably take place in the second part of 2019 after finalization of the engineering part of the work, such that follow-up initiatives can be discussed.