This week has been exciting because I have received replies from both women in Uganda who I e-mailed. Biira Mary Yalala from KADIWOD sent an extensive reply to the questions I had sent which provided me a lot of great info on gender issues and income generation. Biira Sylvia had been having trouble with her internet connection but was finally able to respond to my introductory e-mail. I have e-mailed her some questions and am looking forward to getting her perspective on things. Using the information I received this week, I have come up with a number of rough concepts.
The market cart is an attachment to the existing tricycle. I have read a lot about handicrafts done by women in Uganda, from weaving bags and belts, to beading jewellery, to papier mache garbage bins and doll houses. This was further backed up by Biira Mary Yalala, who also included that women with disabilities can learn to sew or knit to make or mend clothing.
Women with disabilities have a better chance of earning a substantial income if they have an efficient way of selling these goods. The market cart, which is pulled by the tricycle, folds down for commuting to and from the market area, making it less likely to topple over and for the goods to fly away in the wind. The cart can then be disconnected and set up as a 1 or 2 sided display to showcase the hand made goods. Other supplies or overstock can be stored in the drawer underneath.
Concerns I had over this concept were about the terrain and distance to and from the market. The tricycle was designed for this, but will something a little bit more delicate stand the commute? Additionally, will a woman with disabilities be able to set up the display from a tricycle?
As I mentioned in my previous presentation and report, most women with disabilities stay in rural areas. It is often harder for these women to find meaningful work in these more remote areas. The largest source of income in villages is agriculture; however it is labour intensive, especially for those with disabilities. If agriculture is made accessible to those with disabilities, they now have a source of income in rural areas, to support themselves and their families.
A mobility device which is lower will lessen the strain of working so low down on the ground. The user will be able to plant and harvest with a closer reach. Additionally, if the row widths were standardized, this mobility device could fit within them, like a track. This method would work best with crops that were low lying, such as beans, ground nuts or sweet potatoes, that way the growth of crops would not interfere with device. Lastly, this device would use some sort of storage to bring supplies needed to the fields.
Concerns over this concept were many. Is the soil needed to grow crops too soft to roll over with a mobility device? Does this device make agriculture easy enough to do with a disability? Further, could this allow the user to produce enough to earn a substantial income? If not, is farming only for the family reason enough to obtain this device? Lastly, can this device be both high enough to pass over growing crops but also low enough for the user to reach the ground?
As I mentioned above Biira Mary Yalala mentioned that women, especially with disabilities, may produce handicrafts like papier mache, beaded jewellery or woven goods as a source of income. Additionally women may also sew or knit clothing or repairs.
Because the tricycle is so important to these women, I conceptualized a sort of desk-top work space attachment which allows them to work in the tricycle. This way, these women with disabilities can use these devices not only to get around, but also complete the tasks outlined above. Having a hard desk top on which to work can facilitate a lot of creativity and productivity. When not in use, the work space can be folded down, so as not to interfere with the hand pedals.
Questions I have about this concept include whether women with disabilities would rather work at a table in a chair, or would they like to be able to stay in their tricycle to do these tasks? Additionally, is this attachment too bulky? Is it too heavy? Does it leave enough leg room?
Another point Biira Mary Yalala mentioned was how men often do not help women around the house. Adding a disability to this equation makes house work that much harder for these women.
Online, I reviewed an example of a bicycle powered washing machine. If this could be simplified, the washing machine could be attached to the chain of the tricycle, making this task much more efficient. This would include a bucket filled with water and soap containing an agitator. This agitator would be connected to the tricycle chain so it would spin as the user pedals. After the washing process, the clothes could possibly be wrung out using the same centripetal force against a perforated tub. Further, this could be used as an income generating activity as the user could go home to home with the tricycle and the washing machine attachment washing peoples’ clothes for them.
Questions I have include whether or not a washing machine can be made simply enough to be made and sourced in Kasese. I am also wondering whether or not people would pay for this service. Lastly, would issues of water shortages affect this concept?
As Biira Mary Yalala mentioned, women sometimes learn to sew or knit clothing or repairs to clothing to generate an income. They may hand sew, but they also use hand powered sewing machines to sew patterns into clothing.
Similar to the washing machine, if the sewing machine could be attached to the tricycle, the user could use the pedal motion to power the sewing machine. Existing hand powered sewing machines use the same technology, on a smaller scale (smaller rotation of the pedal). The user would use one hand to pedal and one hand to guide the fabric, as is the case with existing hand powered sewing machines. If used as an attachment, this too could be pedaled around to neighbouring homes to repair or make clothing for pay.
Concerns with this concept involve whether the user minds sitting on a slight angle, and whether this configuration is comfortable (or can be made comfortable). Additionally, is there room for a sewing machine in addition to the pedaling motion? Lastly, are sewing machines easy to come by in the area of Kasese?