Jeffrey Msamala

At IHE Delft there is a balance between knowledge and competence based learning.

Sub-Saharan Africa
Zimbabwe Sub-Saharan Africa

Jeffrey comes from Zimbabwe and he is working for the Institute of Water and Sanitation Development (IWSD), a local NGO and training institute. Through his work he knew IHE Delft, as he explains: ‘’Most of the people in the water and sanitation sector in Zimbabwe studied at IHE Delft, it is well known in this sector. IHE Delft is the place to pass through and maybe even become a water guru.’’ The IWSD has also collaborated with IHE on water research in the past. Jeffrey is studying at IHE Delft on a NFP scholarship.

He did his Bachelor’s in Environmental Science and Health. Initially he was more focussed on medicine and public health. His first job was in the water and sanitation sector, but when then he developed a passion for wastewater treatment and public health (Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene).

About problems in his home country regarding water: ‘’We have different problems in Zimbabwe, which are mostly area specific (that is urban, peri-urban and rural areas). For example, in the urban areas, drinking water quality continues to deteriorate because some of the main reservoirs are heavily polluted. Therefore water treatment by the municipalities is becoming too costly, leading to limited drinking water access.  In 2008-9, there was a huge cholera outbreak that killed about 4000 people nationwide. Although various interventions have been made since then, the majority of citizens have not regained confidence in the municipalities’ drinking water quality. This has led to an increase in reliance on and use of ground water sources. Another challenge is that, as a country, we do not have low cost sanitation technologies for the urban poor - the standard is a flush toilet. Due to limited water access, some high density areas are now using pit latrines and shallow wells, which is a health hazard in the cities. Furthermore the drainage of some of the cities has become so poor that flash floods are now common during rainy seasons.’’

Jeffrey about the teaching style at IHE Delft: ‘’I like the ‘flip the classroom’’ approach, where you gain more practical insights, as opposed to knowledge based approaches popular with many degree courses.  At IHE Delft there is a balance between knowledge and competence based learning.’’

After his studies, Jeffrey wants to apply his knowledge in Zimbabwe and would like to conduct research into options for safe sanitation systems for poor people in the urban areas. Furthermore, he wants to give tailor-made-courses on designing wastewater treatment plants and the operation and maintenance of these plants. ‘’The diversity of IHE Delft can also help me to network and establish links with other institutions in other countries.’’

Jeffrey enjoys the diversity of students and he is learning some of these languages, which include Spanish, Chinese and Hindi. His first impression of Delft is that everything is so organized and on time. The cold weather he has to get used to, and he is excited to experience spring and summer in the Netherlands.

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