Van Walt Environmental Connect Issue Two

The World of Van Walt

“Last night I killed a mosquito in my room. I did not expect so many in Nairobi which lies on a very high plateau and is therefore cool but the guest house provides a comfortable four poster bed from which drapes a mosquito net so I lie snugly and safe from the insects. At 11 some guests are having loud discussions beneath my window and as they decide to retire the pack of stray dogs take up the vigil. Lewis told me there are a hundred of them and the leader has a deep penetrating bark. The gardeners are at work watering the lawns and after a while I wonder whether it is instead the cistern in my bathroom overflowing which is making the noise. At 3 the big slow revving diesel starts, probably taking our laundry and at 4 the gardener starts sweeping the stones around the hotel; long strokes and I time them at one per second. At 5 the crickets and cicadas start chirping and they wake the birds; a different dawn chorus to which I am accustomed in Grayswood. Harsh, penetrating squawks. Last night Lewis remarked that the perimeter fence is lined with 5 strands of electrified wires and it reminded him of “Jurassic Park”. Perhaps what I hear is the sound of dinosaurs.”One of my colleagues responded by intimating that I had lost the plot!

Save the Children is the world’s leading child- focused humanitarian organisation with nearly 100 years’ experience responding to children and their families during and after crises. The charity is exceptional among aid agencies because it provides comprehensive emergency readiness, relief and recovery programmes that are specifically designed to meet the unique needs of children. Around the world, Save the Children has well-trained national staff ready to deploy at a moment’s notice. International experts in health, nutrition, food security, shelter, water and sanitation, education and child protection can join local staff if needed. Save the Children works directly with children and families in the heart of the crisis, so know immediately when conditions change and are flexible so that the most urgent needs of local children are met. Save the Children also stays as long as it takes to help children, families and communities recover from their losses, rebuild their lives and become more resilient. In Africa Save the Children has been working to fight hunger, prevent malnutrition and improve the lives of boys and girls for many years. The charity strives to meet the needs of vulnerable children and their families with lifesaving and life-changing programmes. Save the Children has worked in Somalia/Somaliland since 1951. Their vision is that every child in Somalia/ Somaliland attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation. Their mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way children are treated in Somalia/Somaliland and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. Across all of Save the Children’s work, they pursue several core values of accountability, ambition, collaboration, creativity and integrity. Each year about 650,000 people benefit from Save the Children’s work in Health, Nutrition, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Food Security and Livelihoods (FSL), Education, Child Protection and Child Rights Governance. As part of their partnership work, Save the Children has teamed up with Van Walt Ltd to deployed a telemetry and high accuracy sensors to provide an Early Warning Flood Prevention System to reduce the risk of loss of life following heavy rains upstream which cause localised but fatal flooding and puts the lives of children at risk. An emphasis on early warning or preventative work like this allows Save the Children to make their financial resources go further in the long term and so improve the lives of children in Africa.

Although most of our business is in our own “local” markets: United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain and New Zealand, a significant portion finds its way to the far flung corners of the world. Invariably this starts with research projects from our “local” Universities or consultancies and just in this magazine we have some case studies from Borneo, Armenia, Turkey, Kenya, Ukraine, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Somalia.

piston corer, TDR high accuracy soil moisture sensors and, not least, rental equipment for environmental research; each pose their own challenges and, inevitably site conditions are always unique, so different solutions are required every time. Mostly the equipment works out of the box and then it’s fine but when there is a hiccup our service gurus need to be at the end of a phone or email. This is when local

Vincent van Walt, Van Walt Ltd

It always gives us a buzz of excitement to see a well packed pallet leave our premises for an exotic and far away location. Often, one or more members of staff from our technical staff will accompany the equipment to install and for detailed onsite training of local operatives so when more equipment is sent at a later date they are well versed and confident to pass on the information to the end users. Selling equipment is the easy part. The backup and technical support can remain a challenge at a local level and yet it is this aspect which will determine whether the end user achieves success with our equipment. Devices such as the vanwalt CONNECT telemetry system, the Snap Sampler passive sampling solution, STITZ

support becomes more than just a luxury, that’s why we take the time to ensure full training is given at the outset. Van Walt is not on the Forbes list yet we are very proud to be involved in many projects across the globe. Going forward we want to play a lot more on the international merry-go-round and we are building on a network of friends to explore this exciting adventure. To those who are looking for new challenges, we invite you to get in touch with us to discuss the possibilities of becoming part of our network.

Installation of the stilling well in the Shebelle River

Montse Ampuy, Van Walt Ltd 35 5


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