The researchers, at Bachelor’s level of their studies, are from the departments of Mathematics and Statistics, Natural and Applied Sciences, and Environmental Health Sciences. The survey was directed towards consumers and brewers.
A simple random sampling technique was employed to provide an equal chance to all population members to be included in the study. There was a total of 130 respondents.
Amongst the main findings, it was revealed that 54.2% of the respondents earned less than N$500 per month, further revealing that most Tombo brewers are in this business to try to make ends meet and to support their families. Fourty percent (40%) of the consumers were aged between 35-45 years.
Additionally, Tombo samples were collected from different outlets and analysed for their acidity (pH) and alcohol content. The samples were analysed for the presence of any microorganisms but the ones identified could not be associated to common health ailments. However, the Staphylococcus lentus was one of the identified microorganisms. It is a pathogen in humans associated with infections in animals, which would imply poor hygiene practices during Tombo production.
In addition, saliva involved in sharing of drinking from the same Tombo glass, salivary transfer of germs occur. Common infections that could be transmitted are strep throat, the common cold, and mumps.
According to the Project Coordinator, Martha Namutuwa: “The study gave the students an opportunity to work on a real-life problem-based learning project. In addition, their employability skills such as teamwork, communication, critical, analytical, social skills were strengthened as they now fully understand some social challenges that low-income communities face.”
Upon successful completion of the project, a detailed report was handed over to Hospice of Hope, a non-profit organisation that works on bettering the lives of disadvantadged communities.