Water harmonisation in Honde Valley, Zimbabwe, thesis candidate position

Join EWB-SWE and write your thesis on water supply and demand.

Do you want to make an impact on the world and actually write a thesis that will make a difference for the lives of many?

Engineers Without Borders Sweden is looking for thesis candidates! We are looking for candidates who are interested in a thesis project on water supply and demand.


Thesis Project on Water Harmonization in Honde Valley, Zimbabwe

About the project
In conjunction with KTH SELECT, UPC, InnoEnergy and Sweco, Fortune Development Center (registered NGO in Sweden and Zimbabwe) has performed a pre-study on the living conditions and possible sustainable development in Honde Valley, eastern Zimbabwe. The completed report provides suggestions for improvement in various areas, including water and agriculture.

EWB-SWE was contacted by Fortune Development Center (FDC), to continue the effort of improving the livelihood of Honde Valley through a water harmonization project, based on the findings and suggestions of the previous research. After an initial evaluation, EWB-SWE has identified the need for a further study specifically focusing on assessing the current water situation and on evaluation possible solutions. Therefore, EWB-SWE is looking for one or more students to complete a more detailed study on the topic as part of their thesis work.

According to the government of Zimbabwe, the access to an adequate water supply is about 50 percent. Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA), has the governmental responsibility of the water resource management and serves around 3 million people. Honde Valley, located in the western part of the country adjacent to the Moçambique border, is a water rich area with several different water resources e.g. rivers, aquifers and rainwater. The main water source is the Mupenga River. However, there is a lack of access to the water system. The system is disorganized and in bad condition. The current water treatment is based on sedimentation in a natural basin before the water intake in the river. Further, at the water intake a filter is used in order to prevent leaves and wood to enter the pipe system. Due to the current condition of the system, customers can find dust, sand and biological pathogens in the water.

Suggested thesis scope

The scope of this initial study is a research-based thesis and therefore does not necessarily include a field visit. That said, if the state of the pandemic allows, there is a potential for funding a field visit of approximately two weeks in order to collect data on site. 

Ideas for reports

Understand local hydrogeology, regional and site-specific (modelling):

  1. Completed desktop study. Search for weather stations nearby. Analyze rainfall data and conduct GIS-analysis on rainwater harvest. Also conduct Rainfall-runoff model of the area using GIS, geological maps.
  2. Conducting interviews with local hydrogeologist/hydrologists. Investigate other setups/alternative methods for that also might work for Honde Valley.

Map out water sources and demand, site specific (planning):

  1. Make a map over the present water supply and infrastructure available in Honde Valley. Continue work on openstreetmap. (The closest accessible water source should be within a maximum distance of 800 meters from housing, using water tanks and piping infrastructure.)
  2. Identify current water use patterns amongst residents (through observation / based on survey done 2017). Conduct (online) workshop with local interest group / school children to understand demand and available solutions.
  3. Mapping of rooftops for rainwater harvesting and calculate potential.
  4. Ask students at Samaringa school to log rainfall using simple rain gauge.
  5. Investigate other setups/alternative methods regarding possible drinking water solutions that also might work for Honde Valley.


  • You are enrolled in an Engineering related education, preferably in relation with environment, geology, hydrology or similar field. 
  • We are mainly looking for Bachelor-level students, because the gathering of empirical data will be restricted, however we are open to the application of Master students. 
  • You have an academic supervisor from the university you are enrolled with.
  • The ability to work remotely as we do not have a fixed position for this role.

About FDC
Fortune Development Centre is a private voluntary organisation (PVO) registered in both Zimbabwe and Sweden. As a non-profit organisation, it aims to alleviate extreme poverty among vulnerable children and the youth; improving their education in order to develop skills with special emphasis on artisan skills like information technology (ICT), carpentry, building, plumbing and mechanics so as to provide them with the essentials needed to achieve a better standard of living. FDC also aim to incorporate municipalities and other charitable organisations in their projects to provide long term solutions.

Engineers Without Borders Sweden works to address challenges linked to the Sustainable Development Goals, both in Sweden and around the globe. Through improvements in education, equality, energy poverty and access to water and sanitation we strive to make a sustainable and long-term impact with our work, for local communities and the Earth as a whole.

Please apply via the TeamTailor link. If you have any further questions about the position, please contact project management Linnéa Pauls (linnea.pauls@ewb-swe.org) and Johanna Alexson (johanna.alexson@ewb-swe.org) for further information.

The last day of application is the 20th of February 2021.

Disclaimer: As with all volunteer positions within Engineers Without Borders Sweden, this position is unpaid.

Or, know someone who would be a perfect fit? Let them know!


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