Design for Development
The Berkeley-Darfur Stoves Project seeks to protect Darfuri women by providing them with specially developed stoves which require less firewood, decreasing women’s exposure to violence while collecting firewood and their need to trade food rations for fuel.
The Darfur Stoves Project collaborates with international organizations such as Oxfam America and the Sudanese organization, Sustainable Action Group (SAG).The Darfur Stoves Project has distributed over 20,000 stoves.
The Darfur Stoves Project is the first initiative of our parent organization, Technology Innovation for Sustainable Societies (TISS). The mission of TISS is to link research institutions, nonprofit organizations, and private distributors to increase the availability of affordable, appropriate technology to help improve the quality of life and create employment in places affected by poverty and conflict.
Lochlorine: Saving Lives Through Safe Water: Every year, more than 2 million people die from water-borne illness in the developing world, mainly children. These deaths account for 15% of all deaths of children under 5, and are equivalent to one child dying every 15 seconds or 20 jumbo jets crashing every day. They are preventable with access to proper water treatment and hygiene practices.
Chlorination is a cheap and safe method to disinfect water. It is highly effective because it maintains water purity over several days unlike other methods that cannot guard against the recontamination which occurs in 40% of the time during water transport, storage, and use. Programs using chlorination at the household level have seen water-borne illness decrease by 22 to 84%.
The Lochlorine System aims to safeguard family health with designs that address these problems. The system produces chlorine using commonly found materials in villages and towns throughout the developing world. The system also includes a device that automatically doses water with the appropriate amount of chlorine, making chlorine easier for clients to use on a community scale. The Lochlorine System is low-cost and robust, and has the potential to save thousands of lives. We seek funding to further develop our prototypes and implement pilot trials to determine effective business strategies for disseminating this technology.
In order to make the system financially self-sustaining, we are exploring two strategies that could make it profitable for a micro-entrepreneur: 1) selling treated plain water or 2) selling cold or flavored water and using the profit to subsidize the cost of plain chlorinated water. We are refining our prototypes for pilot trials in India near Kolkata and Delhi to determine which business model is the most effective. Jessica Vechakul is the student lead on this project, with funding from NCIIA.
Science Education to Promote Sanitation in Thailand: The carcinogenic liver fluke, Opisthorchis viverrini, infects approximately 6 million people in Northeast Thailand. This research proposed by SESAME student Sara Samiphak involves trying to understand how control efforts, focused primarily on health education to reduce consumption of raw fish, to date have not been effective in reducing infection rates. Her research objectives are threefold: 1) to understand the challenges that at-risk marginalized students face with respect to learning health science education (individual level) and also to understand social structures affecting individuals’ decisions (social environment, macro level); 2) to design and implement experimental instructional interventions aimed at supporting them specifically, or simply to adjust the existing health educational curricula to meet the needs of these people, the majority of whom are poor; and 3) to investigate changes in students’ knowledge and how these changes affect their attitudes towards a specific behavior. The first two objectives call for different but arguably complementary methodological approaches in the social sciences: ethnography and design-based research. Methods for investigating changes in knowledge and behavior vary from clinical interviews and survey data to microgenetic method. Discourse analysis is my primary method as it plays a crucial role in conceptual learning (Radford, 2003; Vygotski & Cole, 1978) and serving as a mechanism by which social structure is expressed (Davies & Harré, 1990). The major hypothesis is that cognition, cultural resources, dispositions, and identity are intertwined. If substantiated, this insight could be leveraged to orient instructional interventions that better support marginalized youth learning health sciences.
Fuel from the Fields: Cooking fuels are problematic in Haiti: while almost half of the population uses wood or agricultural residues as their primary cooking fuel, breathing the smoke from the fires leads to persistent respiratory lung infections, mostly in women and children. Most of the remainder of the population uses cleaner-burning wood charcoal, which can be prohibitively expensive (often 25% of a family’s income). Both options contribute to deforestation in a country that is already 98% deforested.
This team led by Amy Smith at MIT includes Jessaca Vechakul, Daniel Wilson and Ryan Stanley at UC Berkeley. The team has developed a method over the last seven years of producing cleaner-burning, inexpensive charcoal made from agricultural waste.Supported by a number of grants from different organizations, the team has validated the viability of the technology and established three training centers and sixty workshops in Haiti producing charcoal for their own use and to sell. The team is now looking to establish centers for training, research, and business throughout Haiti (and eventually worldwide) that will teach farmers the process of making the charcoal, how to create micro-enterprises around the technology, how to innovate/ improve on it, and document the technology’s influence.
Charcoal offers Haiti’s small farmers a way to create successful micro-businesses that produce alternative charcoal, generating new income and providing local employment opportunities while reducing deforestation and improving air pollution associated with cooking.
Zambulance: A bicycle ambulance designed and built for the people of Zambia. The Zambulance is an affordable transport option for remote areas in developing countries.
In several developing countries, people die from treatable diseases simply because they cannot reach health centers when they need it most. Bicycle ambulances are a proven solution to this transport barrier in remote areas where current methods of transport are insufficient in speed,safety, cost, or availability. Since July 2005, Jessica Vechakul has been collaborating with Disacare Wheelchair Center in Lusaka to develop the Zambulance, a bicycle ambulance that can be locally produced from common steel and bicycle components.
The Zambian Ministry of Health and the WHO have ordered over 50 Zambulances for health centers all over Zambia. Independent home-based care and hospice programs have also ordered Zambulances. Within one month, over 50 patients were transport between home and health centers by a single Zambulance. Given the versatility of the Zambulances for people of all ages and health conditions, it has the potential to be a live-saving technology worldwide.
Removing arsenic from drinking water in Bangladesh
Although there are numerous proposed solutions to this devastating problem, many of them are expensive and/or ineffective at decreasing arsenic in drinking water to acceptable levels. Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs have developed two methods to affordably and effectively remove arsenic from drinking water. The first method is called Arsenic Removal Using Bottom Ash (ARUBA). Bottom ash, a widely available waste material from coal-fired power plants, is coated with iron rust, which binds to arsenic. The arsenic can then be removed from the water through settling and/or filtration. The second method is called ElectroChemical Arsenic Remediation (ECAR). This method uses a small amount of electricity to create rust in contaminated water. The rust binds to arsenic, which can then be removed from the water through settling and/or filtration.
The goal of the Berkeley Arsenic Alleviation Group (BAAG) is to design a water treatment system that utilizes LBNL technology to effectively remove arsenic from drinking water. Two teams are working collaboratively to incorporate either ARUBA or ECAR into the water treatment system. The end result will be two possible solutions to the arsenic crisis, allowing greater adaptability to diverse conditions.
Alongside the scientific and engineering development, the team is developing a business model for system implementation. This solution will take into account economic costs/benefits, social acceptability, affordability, and sustainability. In addition, we are now exploring the socieoceonomic and public health implications of arsenic remediation using ARUBA and/or ECAR.