International Development Enterprises (IDE) sells a wide variety of agricultural-output-increasing technology to the world's rural poor, including a popular treadle pump that increases the availability of water and raises household income by an average of $150 annually. IDE-Myanmar's sales of the pump have doubled each year since 2004, but with the scaling up of operations, managing efficient quality manufacturing in a less industrialized economy has become a pressing issue. Stanford's Design for Extreme Affordability students and faculty will work with IDE-Myanmar to design and implement a manufacturing system that enables the organization to meet its treadle pump production goals. This will involved investigating local Myanmar manufacturing conditions, designing a production system based around local needs, refining the system, and implementing it. Based on previous research, the team believes introducing an improved manufacturing process for treadle pumps will broadly improve the metalworking sector.
Summer 2009 update: Starting in late 2008, student and faculty teams held workshops at IDE-Myanmar. This team has designed and implemented a handful of jigs and fixtures, as well as set up and iterated a quality control system for metalworking firms. A quarter-long student project assisted IDE-Myanmar with process mapping and production pricing. The team has been able to analyze several rounds of QC data that they helped set up the collection of for IDE-Myanmar, which has allowed them to target areas for improvement. They plan to publish and disseminate their findings on the Burmese metalworking industry.
University of California - Berkeley, 2007 - $38,210
Most solar water heating systems on the market today use advanced materials that are affordable for wealthy clients in developed countries. Our team aims to change that trend by developing a low-cost solar water heater for use in low-income Guatemalan households. The successful implementation of solar water heaters in Guatemala could improve local health and hygiene, promote economic growth, and lessen the impact on the environment at the same time. The team's initial design, which is made to provide hot water for bathing/ showering, consists of three basic components: a heat-collecting surface (absorber), a water bladder, and an insulating material. Two prototypes have been built, and two of the team members have traveled to Guatemala to work with partner NGO Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group (AIDG) in order to gain first-hand information on local conditions and materials. The team is now looking to finalize the design of the heater, explore partnerships with local organizations that can provide financing services that will allow people to buy the heater, conduct surveys of potential users in Guatemala to gauge their energy needs and test the heater in the field. Ultimately, the team will enable local businesses in developing countries to build and sell the heater to local households, creating local job opportunities while realizing the benefits of sustainable technology enterprises.
The team is now called Calsolagua. From their website:
"The CalSolAgua Team has developed an innovative solar water heating system to address the need for clean and inexpensive energy sources for households. It is fully capable of addressing the hot water needs for bathing and laundry: one of highest energy needs facing households. Our team developed a solar water heater that retails for one quarter of the price of competing water tank heaters through detailed design work and three generations of prototyping. With an expected mass manufactured retail price of only $150, our product reduces household energy costs and provides health benefits to those households currently relying on fossil fuel generated electricity for water heating."
Summer 2009 update: The team developed three solar water heater prototypes and has been partnering with AIDG, another Sustainable Vision grantee that launched a venture called Xela Teco. The Berkeley team hopes to license their solar water heater technology to Xela Teco and other potential partners committed to sustainable development. The team is continuing to work on their prototype, which is being tested on 5 installations (4 houses and the local AIDG intern house). The team has made several trips to Guatemala to install systems, monitor them, and collect user feedback. In addition, the team has made two trips to conduct focus groups and other market analysis. Users demonstrated a willingness to adapt their showering habits to maximize the energy savings of the current solar water heater prototype, which provides ample hot water during the day. However, the team is continuing to refine its design to improve overnight heat storage, a customer preference identified through market analysis. Following the successful field-testing of the team's new prototype, the team will file a patent to support the pursuit of larger market opportunities.
Urban air pollution contributes to approximately 800,000 deaths each year, with approximately two-thirds of the deaths occurring in the developing countries of Asia. Transportation is one of the largest contributors to air pollution and is worsening as more cars are being added to the roads. This team will help in the design, testing, manufacturing, and selling of hydraulic hybrid retrofit kits for use in buses and trucks in the developing world. Their aim is to create an economic incentive for customers, where increasing their fuel efficiency will lead to immediate savings for drivers, reducing fuel consumption by 20-30% while simultaneously reducing particulate emissions by 40-50%.
Mali is one of the poorest nations in the world, with approximately 80% of the population engaged in subsistence-level farming or fishing. Nan Kenieba is a collection of eight rural villages in which no resident has access to electricity or phone, and only half of the 7,000 people have access to clean water. The average person earns $1/day. Iowa State University began working in Mali in 2006 with the NGO Medicine for Mali. ISU has established lighting as a primary concern, and an appropriate technology design course in the mechanical engineering department has worked to design lighting solutions using photovoltaic cells and thermoelectric devices. Sixteen prototypes designed in the course were tested in Nana Kenieba, and ISU students partnered with students from the University of Bamako in Mali to survey the costs of different light sources and battery costs. The team will now develop a battery charging station to be run by a local entrepreneur collecting the excess power from a solar-powered water system. The water system's electrical pump demands less power than the output of the solar panels, leaving approximately 300 watts of available power to be used for electricity in the village. Financing will be done through a micro-loan program, and the team will train local entrepreneurs and continue to monitor and support the businesses they launch.
University of Tennessee - Knoxville, 2007 - $49,914
Lead batteries store power from environmentally preferable energy sources, but pollution during manufacturing and recycling of the batteries is a major cause of lead poisoning around the world. The rise in electric vehicles, telecommunications equipment, and computers is fueling rapid growth in battery production, with over three-fourths of all lead going into batteries. With the increase in recycling lead batteries comes and increase in small-scale smelting operations that are extremely inefficient, poison workers, pollute the environment, and contribute to high rates of childhood lead poisoning. This team will partner with Occupational Knowledge International (OK International), which has developed the Better Environmental Sustainability Targets (BEST) certification standards for lead battery manufacturers in India. The team will expand the program to Vietnam, developing policy initiatives on battery collection systems and examining how such efforts could be integrated with the goals of the BEST Certification. They will identify successful battery recycling policies and management programs employed in other countries, examine broader impacts of improved lead recycling and production processes in the context of the expanding motorization in Vietnam, and further articulate the case for controlling exposures from battery manufacturing with eco-labeling incentive programs.
According to the World Health Organization, "cooking and heating with solid fuels such as dung, wood, agricultural residues or coal is likely to be the largest source of indoor air pollution globally. When used in simple cooking stoves, these fuels emit substantial amounts of pollutants, including respirable particles, carbon monoxide, nitrogen and sulfur oxides, and benzene." The Arizona State team will focus in rural areas in Ghana, where 96% of the population uses solid fuels. Through ASU's entrepreneurship program, GlobalResolve, in partnership with Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and with the cooperation of the village chief and elders in Domeabra, the team will produce a fermented, corn-based, gelled ethanol and a companion smokeless stove prototype using local resources in Ghana that can be fabricated, marketed and sold in nearby communities.
One-sixth of the world's people do not have access to safe drinking water, yet there is an abundant supply of freshwater resources, even in severely underdeveloped areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa. The problem is delivering water suitable for human consumption, as contaminated water kills more people than cancer, AIDS, war or accidents. The Savannah State University team will continue working with the Durban University of Technology (DUT) on a low-cost, low-maintenance water purification system using membrane technology. Local facilitators and entrepreneurs, both in the villages and in municipalities, will be trained in the use and maintenance of the system, and students at both institutions will work in product design, market research and develop a business plan.
Although Africa is now the fastest-growing mobile phone market in the world, the role of mobile phones in Africa is currently limited by the narrow scope of the applications relative to the needs of the African people. The aim of this project is to exploit the opportunity for mobile phone and Web design based startups in Africa by educating Senegalese students on how to develop innovative mobile phone applications and Web sites for this emerging market. Pace University will collaborate with Stony Brook University in the US, and Thies University and local associations in Senegal. During a boot camp, students in Senegal will be teamed with Senegalese women business owners and propose solutions adapted to their daily business needs. The mobile phone applications and Web sites will be developed using open source software.
Summer 2009 update: A model of teaching mobile application and Web design for social changes was developed. The ICTEsen model (Information and Communications Technology for Entrepreneurship in Senegal) creates a community of students, provides them with skills in technology, software engineering and entrepreneurship, has them apply those skills on real world projects to produce solutions to be deployed to trained clients, and transfer the acquired skills in the process of creating startups in information and communications technology. The model was implemented during a one-week boot camp that gathered 24 students of Thies University. Three mobile application prototypes and four Web sites were produced during the boot camp. Two students were proposed internships at Manobi (http://www.manobi.net) as part of collaboration between this project and Manobi. The mobile applications and Web sites were improved to be deployed. Nokia provided phones for the deployment of the mobile applications.
Another cool innovation from NCIIA's Sustainable Vision program - the Mashavu healthcare system, created by a team at Penn State. Think Tanzania, where there's one doctor for every 50,000 people, meaning that many never see a doctor in their lives. Think technology: Biomedical diagnostic tools and a data entry system, operated by trained local villagers. The diagnostic system is connected to a network of doctors in the US, who can review the data and prescribe situation-appropriate medical treatment. In this video, team leader Khanjan Mehta describes the technology (clips provided by Cornell University's eClips program).
NCIIA presents essential training to move your 'base of the pyramid' venture ahead!
Register now for our new Advanced Invention to Venture workshop for ventures that focus on customers in developing nations. The workshop will be held in Cambridge, MA, August 16-19. This intensive, four-day workshop, created especially for 'base of the pyramid' ventures, will followed by eight weeks of weekly, one-hour teleconferences or strategy sessions with coaches and mentors.