Researching more about Agriculture I discover across the world fertile soil is becoming depleted. There are many advocates currently working towards changing this. Specially to Africa one of the biggest things they have trouble with is creating fertilizer in some reasons because of a lack of fibrous material.
“Let's talk about soil” is a great animated video showing the need for soil today and how it is one of our most exploded natural resources that many assume we have enough for many life times to come. This is simply not true.
Soil: A hidden Resource is a video that talks the basics about soil and the need to help save current land instead of trying to find new places to farm.
My research then took me to a place I wasn't anticipating. I looked into the idea of using human waste to make compost. Surprisingly there are people who already do this. According to my research as long as the process of creating the fertilizer is done right all the contaminates of the human waste are killed off. It is mostly the urine they use and not the fecal matter because most of the toxic contaminates are in our fecal matter and not our urine. There is also a great book on how to do this called The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Human Manure by Joseph C. Jenkins. Here is a link specifically on Chapter 6: Composting Toilets and Systems.
After reading this I feel for the purpose of this project it will be hard to find or create sources of fibrous materials in many regions of Africa. After reading through this chapter and other research I have done to optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of composting and composting toilets. Since there are many steps in creating compost someone is new to composting could easily make a mistake because of lack of experience. Making systems that make it hard to mess up the process of composting properly with human waste is definitely an area of need.
Water pumps are a device that helps bring water from one place to another. I have a vision for a water pump that can be both human controlled and/or with renewable resources. Through some of the research I have done in many places in India they use diesel pumps that are not eco-friendly at all. Their is a need for pumps in India and I am assuming in many other countries of Africa. Since many spend their whole day traveling to get water. Making devices that can create wells that are reusable or devices that can somehow transport water through some sort of pipeline and pump system is definitely needed not just for Agriculture, but everyday drinking water as well.
One pump that exists and has inspired me is depicted in this video. As great as this is I feel a better version of these pumps can be made. Ideally creating pumps that don't need to use human power.
In this video they also highlight how owners of the pumps through the growth of their crops are able to pay back their loan for the pumps.
This is a video of a water pump that uses a swing to power it.
In summary areas of need and questions that were inspired by this weeks research were better toilets with the option of using waste as compost.
Is there a bigger need for wheelchairs/tricycles or is there a larger demand for other assiting devices like crutches?
Better Water pumps
Better ways of transporting water
The need for soil education through tools and sustainable practices
The need specifically to some countries of Africa to have access to fibrous materials to help keep their soil fertile.
Goals for this week
Do more research on the need and use of crutches
More research on ideas for water pumps and related water transportation