Josie, having always had a passion for the environment, spent time at The Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales. She became interested in environmental topics and wanted demonstrate these techniques. Linked to The Community Information Centre at Butterfly she felt it could become a demonstrational place, where techniques used throughout the site were described and educated about. Coupled to that, International links to universities and likeminded people could bring in new ideas and appropriate technologies.
Butterfly has built two compost toilets here and two en-suite compost toilets. All the grey water from the site is used on the growing permaculture gardens. In the future we would like to develop a small reed bed system for the flushing en-suite toilets we have, to demonstrate this as well. The kitchen often use the solar dryer and solar cooker, especially during the dry season, and they have a simple solar hot water system throughout the year.
Previously, engineers coming out from Engineers without Borders at Sheffield University developed a bicycle powered water pump which was demonstrated to local farmers and made almost all from local materials. The second EWB team made a link to Mzuzu University and did research through the Agriculture Office here in Nkhata Bay as to the relevance of the pump. While they saw its relevance and advocated work alongside an entrepreneur to develop the idea, EWB themselves changed their format and are no longer sending volunteers to small projects such as ours , so we are lacking input somewhat.
We would love to follow in the footsteps of William Kamkwamba, The Boy who Harnessed the Wind, and build ourselves a small wind turbine here at Butterfly to cover us for the occasions when the electricity is off. Using local materials and tradesmen found in any village, and again explaining the build in the information centre, would mean that others from the community would be able to copy.
The growing permaculture spaces around Butterfly and at the local schools provide other places for you to share your environmental skills. Recent volunteers developed a nature trail around the site, with trees, and permaculture techniques pointed out and a map and questionnaire for children to follow.
For anyone with an environmental skill to teach, it is the perfect place to come and share it, whether here at Butterfly or at a local school or government building.
Coupled together with how to do hand outs in The Information Centre it has massive potential. Ideas for the future include; a wood-reducing stove, a solar drying rack, a herb spiral, a turf roof, rainwater harvester, alternative building techniques, wind power and solar energy. Please see our Wish List if you would like to make these dreams a reality for Butterfly Space.