Monday, August 24, 2009

International Development Design Summit

The International Development Design Summit is put on by Amy Smith and her students at MIT. This year it took place in Kumasi, Ghana – which will be followed by Maker Faire Africa this weekend in Accra, where some of their work will be shown.

Here’s a quick list of the projects they have been working on over the last five weeks:

- A press that speeds up the process of extracting oil from shea nuts- A device for generating electricity from a playground carousel

- A machine for making recycled plastic products from used water sachets- A set of tools for threshing groundnuts

- A mechanism for producing chlorine from salt water using readily available materials

- A simple, low cost battery made from local materials, for household lighting and other uses

- A human powered grating machine for speeding up cassava processing

- A thresher to improve the quality of rice by preventing stones from mixing with the grains

- A chlorine dispenser for disinfecting drinking water

- A family friendly latrine designed to promote use and hygiene among young children

- A device for monitoring the growth of children under five through cell phone technology

- A container that extends the shelf life of tomatoes during transport and storage

Niall Walsh also outlines the importance of IDDS's move to Ghana this year:

The main difference between IDDS Ghana and IDDS in MIT is the proximity to community partners and potential end users of the projects. IDDS prides itself on the spirit of co-creation and this movement from the States to Africa is a crucial one in line with this vision. The difference between participants sitting in lecture halls in MIT, learning about international development and the importance of speaking to at least fifty villagers before designing a technology, and actually living with and talking to hundreds of villagers all over the country, is immeasurable.
In total IDDS this year worked with ten villages throughout the Bromg – Ahafo and Ashanti regions and teams had the chance to make three separate two night visits (spread throughout the design process to make sure they had input into every stage) to these villages. Among a huge number of other factors, the simple experience of having end users actually become extremely excited about your prototype, and seeing them test it out, is an incentive for teams to continue their project after IDDS.

More here
reBlog from Emeka Okafor, Timbuktu Chronicles, Aug 2009

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