The Umbrella term that has guided my research is Economic Empowerment from the very beginning. I purposely didn't want to narrow my direction with this project right away to enable me to keep an open mind on direction. After reviewing all the weeks of research I have done I have concluded key attributes that are important to create economic empowerment in Kasese.
I discovered that there were 3 directions I could take to create economic empowerment.
Give mobile aids to help people find their own employment (ie Tricycle)
As awesome as it is to give people access to mobile aids and it is essential that people who need mobile aids have access to them if there isn't enough jobs to go around or too many overlapping jobs people may still not be able to create a larger income with or without mobile aids. The production of mobile aids I feel is a gateway to creative income generating opportunities.
Create efficiency of jobs by creating new tools
By creating tools that make it more efficient to do existing jobs (i.e harvesting) people will have more time to produce more crops, increase yield, and have more time for other tasks or jobs. This can quickly enable people to create small business and become an entrepreneur.
Creating new jobs by making new products globally and/or locally
Creating new jobs by making new products can arguably have the biggest positive effect if products produced can be marketed locally and globally. This method can also have the largest risk. For example if a well designed belt could be made using Ugandan leather and made by people in Kasese the belt could be marketed to a global audience through internet sales and locally through word of mouth. The money from global and local sales will help pay employees and create new products to sustain the company. People with disabilities can be hired for manufacturing and the design of products. Programs can also be put into place to give them the necessary mobile aids they need to work for the company. Since most of the material to create the products would be sourced from Uganda you don't only just help the disabled, but you also help other people working in manufacturing sectors in Uganda.
Sseko Designs is not only a great example how this method can create economic empowerment, but can also change peoples lives.
I have looked and many areas of potential to create a product(s) to help people with disabilities in Kasese, Uganda. One of the first ideas I dived into more in depth for research was crutches.
I felt that there would be a need for crutches for disabilities for people in wheelchairs and people who have no aid devices at all. Crutches have the ability for people with only one leg to keep as much strength as possible in their existing leg apposed to giving them a wheelchair or tricycle.
After a lot of research I discovered there is definitely a need for more crutches and ways to manufacture crutches locally in Kasese. There are people who are missing one leg that don't need a tricycle, but would benefit from a properly fitted crutch.
Design Challenges and areas for Improvements
Adjustable for children growing into adults
Replaceable pads and tips
Sourcing of local materials
A commonality that everyone has on some level is fashion. My idea is to create products that are well designed and different then products currently on the market. One of the key components of this idea is to use mostly materials that area available in Uganda and use the talents of the disabled community to create artisan products that can be sold locally and globally. If this idea where to be successful there could be a huge flux of income coming into Kasese and result in a lot of people in poverty becoming a part of the middle class.
One of the current problems with a lot of artisans in Uganda is the ability to market and differentiate their selves.
Design Challenges and areas for Improvements
Making a global demand for the products.
Using low tech machinery
Creation of new products ever year
Marketing of the products
Sourcing of the materials
Efficient Agricultural Tools
Most of the current methods in growing and harvesting agriculture in Kasese are out dated. By giving Disabled people of Kasese access to tools for harvesting could help them create a small business. One of the projects last year that was done by Carmen was a grinder. The grinder proved that there is a need for harvesting equipment. Because of the vast number of people in agriculture in Kasese I am assuming that most of peoples income and resources come from agriculture. By making their processes more efficient is an effective way to create more income. The same thing can be said about water. If you make it more efficient or easier for them to get water that extra time saved can be used to find a way to generate more income.
Design Challenges and Improvements
Tools that work without the use of electricity
Efficiency of the tools
Sourcing of components in Uganda
Access to replacement components
After looking at mobile aids, fashion and efficient agricultural tools through research I decided to make my project about efficient agricultural tools.
I feel mobile aids main issue currently is accessibility through cost and not just because of the design. There are many organizations currently working on accessibility related designs of third world countries. Though there is a huge need I decided not to take this direction for my project.
The idea of taking a more fashion/entrepreneurial route is too large of an undertaking in the short amount of time we have to complete this project. It also might take longer to prove the idea as effective.
Creating efficient agricultural tools have a direct link to creating more income. Using Carmen's grinder from last year as an example demonstrated how you could take a existing product (ground nuts) and make a micro business out of grinding them since ground nuts are more expensive when processed. Working on a tool that creates more efficient agricultural production is the route I want to go. Doing research on Kasese their current greatest source of making income is food related products.
The research I have done this weekend has showed me that there isn't just a need for grinders. There is also need for stripper and shelling devices for the harvesting of ground nuts. Wether there is an all in one solution or I will just focus on improving one area of the production I will find out through prototyping what is possible.
Goals this Week
1. This weeks goals is to prepare for the presentation we have for class.
2. My other goal for this week is to narrow down what type of harvesting device I want to create.
There were many websites I got inspiration from this week and some videos as well.
Benefiting farmers: Metal Silos
Benefit of metal silo
Groundnut Sheller Prototype
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Want to help Africa? Do business here
Insight in how to help Africa.
William Kamkwamba: How I built a windmill
Inspiring story of how a new small market was created