Implementing design into poor peoples lives and their everyday problems in order to improve life conditions within the indigenous communities.
“TOOLS, STOVES AND ALTERNATIVE COOKING FUELS FOR INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES IN MEXICO.”
JAVIER DIAQUE SUAREZ INDUSTRIAL DESIGN RMIT UNIVERSITY PRE MAJOR PROJECT
Contents. Designer Bio. * Who I am. * Where I am moving to.
Background/ historical review.
Design methods overview. *Mind maps. *Related relevant works. *Surveys *Experimentation *Sketches *Photos Analysis.
Problem Statement. *Recognition of need. *Definition of the problem.
The project. *Summary *Conclusion *summary of work compeled. Learner testimonial.
A woman cooks and prepares the food for the family. Breathing the toxic smokes released indoors by the timber burning. Arching down into an uncomfortable and tyring position for her back.
Who I am.
Where i am moving to.
My name is Javier Diaque, I was born in 1985 in Mexico, a country of contrast, a heavy cultural baggage and an amazing historical background. At the age of 4 I left my country with my family for 3 years, because of my fathers´ job. We moved into Canton Ohio, a small town in the north of the United States. This gave me the opportunity to grow up in the backyard, outdoors and all the possibilities that the first world can offer to a kid. At the age of 7 we went back to Mexico, one of the biggest cities in the world, fortunately I moved into a place where I could still have a chance to spend my time and childhood outside from home, in an open air environment and with friends… getting scars and muddy clothes. Since then I’ve always have been interested in outdoor activities, from building ramps for the bike and skateboard, devices for climbing the trees, to testing them. As well, I’ve been lucky enough to explore places away from the city that allowed me to do adventurous activities exploring nature and the activities we can do with it. On another hand, since I was kid I grew up surrounded and driven into a humanitarian, emotional artistic and creative environment, which has been guided and enforced by my mother who is dedicated to it. This has taken me to gain an interest towards the social scene. I consider myself a sensitive and empathic person; this is reflected through my human relationships. My family has always shown a big interest in social responsibility and that has planted a thought and strong feeling in my life about working with people, helping to improve others life and taking advantage of the opportunities life has given me to help others. Since I was young I have always been involved in social service programs back home such as going to indigenous communities and working with them such as teaching computing to children whose access to a computer is not as easy. I have a competitive personality and have always been committed to challenges, community ones and individual ones. I have always liked to be different between the others and stand out for my abilities, I like to propose innovative ideas and confront in able to get out of the “normal” parameters and the already established thoughts, and this has made a rebellion character in me.
Even though I like stability, a am a person who constantly is looking for changes in his life, such as schools, cultures, countries… this has given me an ability of quick adaptation towards different circumstances. As well, I think it has made me sensitive towards people’s different styles and ways and given me an ability to approach and intimidate more with people. Even though I am quite easy going I am really loyal towards what I believe in. I have become a person who is committed towards his passions, but as well a dreamer and idealist, an adventurer looking for what has not been written yet. Sometimes I find it hard to find a direction for my emotions, and need some help and guidance, but once I’m on the way I find it easier to continue or even open and propose more alternatives. I am a creative thinker but I need to know or understand what I am doing. I am good recreating or evolving and iterating from an original idea, concept or situation. I consider myself a good advisor because I am good at listening to people and detecting problems, I am perceptive and very analytic and introspective, and I like to have an objective point of view towards situations in order to get a bigger perspective and panorama. Though I sometimes I find it hard when it is about myself. I am a theorist in some aspects but like to see the effects of what I am doing which makes me a “hands on” and practical person more than a methodologist. I really believe in our natural mortise abilities and like to use them, more than technological ones. Therefore, my aim is to be able to aproach peoples lives throughout my design skills in order to make it easier or better in any aspect. I will be working or designing for indigenous communities and my interest is to have a positive impact in their lives by bringing in simple designs that can create an opportunity for them to come out of poverty. it is a heavy challenge, but a satisfactory and life experience opportunity.
My fourth´s year project is about engaging with the indigenous communities from the south east of Mexico, that are established in the mountains and in many cases away from the towns and villages and do not count with many of the main services we take for granted in our everyday lives such as water, adequate sanitation, electricity and medical services. The objective is to use design in their everyday’s life in order to improve their standards of living.
The research and information gathered together in this document, is a compilation of the work and investigation I have done, case studies, surveys applied, testimonials form people in these communities and the voice and research from my friends over there.
All this, with the purpose of creating a real panorama and scene of what is going on and what the opportunities are as a designer, to create or design I will be researching through different sources, about their lives in order to something that has a positive change and impact in their lives. identify design solutions within the problems they confront every day. These indigenous communities live in the toughest, most rudimentary and poor con- I believe there is an opportunity and a need for stoves designed to be made ditions of life, where they struggle every day with no medical access, limited with the local materials. My aim is to reduce the amount of fuel needed for food because of their really low income. “According to statistics from the cooking, that generate alternative possibilities for healthier and more sustainworld bank and other NGO´s their income is lower than 2 dollars a day” able cooking fuels and devices to produce it, the stove should also include a chimney or escape for the fumes produced in order to reduce these health isSmith . sues. The design will be required to reduce or prevent completely, if possible, This project is more than just a challenge, it has become an opportunity to find the accidents caused by the fire, all of these of course including ergonomic new ways of working, taking advantage of the communication facilities that and design factors that suit the customer which in this case are the Mexican we have these days. It is hard to think you can design something for someone indigenous communities. without knowing him/them, contacting the client, or immersing your self into the field you are trying to tackle. Therefore, this project not only is driven by my knowledge or awareness from the past visits and continuous contacts I have experienced with these communities, but also using internet and other facilities like emails and video conferences, to be in contact with a group of friends and an organization called “No Puedo Callar!” (I Cannot Be Silent!). Which are in constant contact and working together with these communities.
Background/ Historical Review.
Framed by the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the Sierra Madre Oriental and the Sierra Madre Occidental, is this rugged region of mountains, highlands, valleys and tropical rainforests. In general you find a humid, tropical climate. Rainfall can average more than 3,000 mm (120 in) per year. The abundant rainfall of the high valleys is used for fields of corn, beans and other agricultural and ranching products. Rainfall decreases moving towards the Pacific Ocean, but it is still abundant enough to allow the farming of bananas and many other tropical crops. Separated by the mountains, this region has the highest concentration of indigenous people among the country; People who came here on foot a long time ago. There are many indigenous communities which are culturally diverse themselves, and that donâ€™t even speak Spanish as their first language. Within the blood of these Mexicans run the civilizations of Olmec and Maya and Aztec. All share the fact that they live from the land.
These communities live in little huts “casitas” made from materials commonly found around them like “techo de laminas” sheets of metal as a roof and pieces of wood and ply, with the most basic structures and spaces inside for a whole family to live in. They lack a basic physical infrastructure, with little clean water or paved roads, poor sewage systems (if any), no local schools or governmental systems, and other serious problems. Many of these families get their income through agricultural products such as corn which they sell for $3.50 pesos per kg which is more or less $30 cents Dirt road to one of the communities. of a US dollar, coffee for $19 pesos kg ($1.9 US dollars), beans, honey and some few from animals which they rise and sell once they are grown up. They sell a goat for about $600 to $700 US dollars. These prices are not competitive to the bigger agricultural corporations, and since their income is so low, many family members have to migrate to the cities and the U.S. to be able to bring in more money. These communities use wood, charcoal or dung for their cooking and heating needs, “and while the total energy demands of the developing world are much smaller than in industrialized regions, the dependence on these biofuels as an energy source has dramatic health, economic, and environmental consequences” Amy Smith , Simple designs that could save millions of children lives.
Families with many children, a low income, and small indoor places.
A typical “casita” madre out of wood and “techos de lamina” that shelter the families.
Mother and Daughter outside of their â€œcasasâ€?, where they realize part of the agricultural work. -7-
a little kid guards his humble home. cooking tools, pots and pans hang from the walls, leaving some space inside to move around.
a whole family who relies on wood burning as an energy source for cooking and heating. -8-
Facts. Extremely poor conditions, These families live with less Than $2 USD. a day. No easy access to the main services, such as water, electricity, or health services. They live from their agricultural products, such as corn, coffee, honey, fruits and animals like goats, cows and chicken. They use wood to meet their energy needs, such as cooking and heating. The dependence on timber as an energy source has dramatic health, economic, and environmental consequences. Above, the mothers bring water to their homes from a long way out. Bellow, In the world, the leading cause of death in children between the age of 1 and a cow that provides food and income from its products, for the families 5 is not malnutrition, diarrhea, or malaria, but respiratory illness, caused in large part by breathing smoke from indoor cooking fires. â€œPovertyNet,  Understanding Povertyâ€œ.
A young boy and his machete bringing the timber home for his family
The kids gathered together to heat up during the cold nights. Girls breathing smoke from the fire.
Design Methods Overview
This project has been driven by different methodologies applied in order to obtain the best result possible. it includes: Case studies: this allows me to know what has been done, who are the competitors and analyze the market position. This gives me the chance to use the information obtained with other similar projects. Analyze what has been succesfull and what has failed, what could have been improved to come up with a succesful design. Understanding the social group: in order to design I have to be aware of who is the customer to fit their necestities, this will include reading relevant literature and communicating with these people through mails, friends who are constantly visiting the communities and the organization â€œNo Puedo Callarâ€? through internet. and video conferences. Quantitative: a survey applied in the communities, to have accurate information of the context and sensible to the problem. Information gathered through cuestionaries filled and sent by people in these communities. Experimentation: recreating scenarios, getting in context and immersing myself in the process of cooking and charcoal briquettes making. Concept Development: sketches, mind mapping, representation of different scenarios, idea generation, analyzing photos,z brainstorming, model making and rapid prototyping, turning this into an iterative process that feeds the design.
Related relevant works. Fuels from the fields: Amy Smith. Creating alternative cooking fuels from their agricultural waste material. This is a project conducted by Amy Smith, an MIT engineer who has developed a method to produce charcoal briquettes out of sugarcane and other agricultural wastes. The dried bagasse is burned in a kiln, carbonized, mixed with a binder and compacted using a press. This technology is great since it reduces the fumes created by burning timber, but the problem is that the process is intuitive, therefore it needs to be diffused and taught to each community. Amongst this, is the fact that you need the tools (kiln, press), which many communities donâ€™t have or cannot manufacture. A new technology is still being developed by using corncobs, which do not need further processing after burning. It has been used in Haiti, Ghana, Brazil and India.
Kenya Ceramic Jiko. This is a portable charcoal stove which, with proper use and maintenance, can reduce fuel consumption by 30-50%, saving the consumer money, reducing toxic gas and particulate matter, and resulting in better overall health for the user. The stove is used now in many urban homes and a lower average in rural homes in Kenya and it is spreading along in other African countries. Materials: ceramic and metal. This is a good design but the manufacturing process is not available to rural communities, it still creates toxic gas emotions for the user and does not suit traditional or conventional cooking styles from some places.
Solar Dish Kitchen. This was designed by the University of Texas and University of Washington for two informal poor urban settlements in Mexico. It is built from bicycle parts, and small vanity mirrors which concentrates the energy of the sun on a pot or stove in the kitchen. The problem is that it relies 100% on solar energy which does not suit the geographical conditions of the communities I am working with; besides, the design is quite big and heavy, not easy to build and install. It uses aluminium, steel and mirrors. It has been applied in Mexico and India
Fuel Briquettes. The briquettes are made out of the agricultural waste, compressed in a press and further on let to dry for days in the sun. once they are dry, they are used instead of wood. This has great results, not only in health issues by not releasing toxic smokes, but it also becomes an opportunity for the families to generate an income by selling these. This is being spread through out communities in Africa and Central America, the problem is that the user needs a press to be able to produce them.
Peterson Press This press has been designed to compress the carbonized agricultural waste in order to produce charcoal briquettes. It is used in many communities already but the manufacturing process is still not available for rural communities, besides, it is big, heavy and not intuitive.
Onil Stoves. These stoves are designed and applied in communities un central America, their design includes a chimney and a semi closed chamber to concentrate the heat and guide the smoke out from the house. It allows families to do their traditional cooking, but still crashes with some cultural facts. The process to make them is not quite clear to the communities, therefore people are needed to come and explain or aid the construction process.
3. - Which are the problems or difficulties the face while doing their everyday labours? 4. - What stops them from being able to realize these labors?
Surveys. The following are a series of questions and simple data that will be useful for the research, documentation, planning process for the project, which aims to identify the problems within these communities, and generate ideas and possibilities of design in order to improve the life quality, health, economical and environmental issues in the communities, bringing the possibility of sustainability. It is important that they are filled with the people of the communities, this way it does not become the perceptions of an outsider, but the voice of who lives these problems and limitations every day. If it is possible, complement the information gathered with photos and video clips. Apply this survey with different persons within the community, e.g. children, young people, middle aged and the elder. Please do not alter or modify any results, and try to be as specific and detailed as possible. Name: Name of the community and date: Name and age of the person interviewed: IDENTIFICATION OF PROBLEMS AND DIFFICULTIES IN THE EVERYDAY LABORS. 1. - Which are the everyday labors? Describe a normal day in their lives. 2. - what problems are identified in their everyday labors? Agriculture: Preparation of food: Kitchen and cooking: Recollection of goods: Access to water and food: Others:
FOOD. 1. - What do they eat? What is the basic diet? 2. - Where does this food come from, how do they get it, how much does it cost, and how do they cook it? 3. - What is the life cycle of their agriculture? (Time it takes to grow, where does the product end, and time it takes for them to consume or sell it) 4. - What happens with the products they grow? Do they sell them, in which form? 5. - How do they consume it and what happens with what is not consumed? 6. - How do they sell them and what do they do with what they did not sell? 7.- What is wasted? IDENTIFICATION OF LOCAL RESOURCES. 1. - Which are the local materials? What can you find within the environment? E.g. tipe of ground, clay sand… Plastics, waste and garbage bags, bottles… Metals, cans, varillas, concrete… 2. - What materials can you find for construction? E.g. Concrete, cement, steel, bricks… 3. - Which and how accessible are the materials from the other close communities or villages? WASTE. 1. - Which are the organic wastes produced? What happens with it, where does it end? 2. - Which are the inorganic wastes produces? What happens with it, where does it end?
Their economy is based on their sales of what they obtain from the fields (beans, corn, coffee, oranges, lemons, amongst others.) the government helps them with $500 pesos a monthly to the mothers and the elders as well. Chil1. - which is their main source of energy? dren get a scholarship from third grade, they get money for food. There are a 2.-which sources of energy can you find in the place? E.g. timber, gas, char- few plans to bring investments to work on the fields. coal, oil. 3. - which one do they use, for what and why? E.g. timber, for cooking be- The women wake up at 4 am to start cooking and preparing the food, men cause it is cheap. wake up at 5 to work on the land and fields. 4. - How accesible is it? How much does it cost? How much do they need/ Later, they have breakfast; they go back to their duties and come back for use? Where do they get it from and how do they bring it in? lunch. Depends on the person, but some go back to work the fields, but gener5. - which alternative energy generation resources can you find? E.g. wind, ally the heat is too strong to keep on working, that’s why they do it so early. water flow (rivers), solar, lakes, organic waste… They have dinner later on at night, and the day is over. The rhythm of life is easy as in any rural community, but the work and labor is heavy. TOOLS Preparation of food: They don’t boil the water, they just ad chlorine into the 1. - Which tools do they use to prepare their food? E.g. harvesting, peeling, well desgranar, etc. Kitchen and cooking: a lot of smoke in the kitchen, they burn everything. 2. - Which tolos do they use for cooking? Describe. (plastics, aluminum, etc.). They have Access to wáter and food, they just add 3. - Which tools are used for the agricultura? Describe. clorine to the wáter in their tanks but it is not really clean, they dont boíl it 4. - Which tools are used for farming and ganaderia? Describe. and they drink it directly. 5. - Which deficiencies and limitations con you see in them? (economic, ergo- The fire releases to much smoke. The water is free so they waste it. nomic, functionality, materials) There is no ecological awareness. 6. - what could be changed to improve them? A draught has generated limited food (corn and coffee). They eat tortilla, beens, corn products, a lot of fruits and vegetables, coffee, chicken, fish and potatoes. Generally it comes from their land. Their fields, ¡¡¡thank you very much for your help!!! trees and animals. They grow it. There is also a little store, but what we notice that a lot of things are missing. The main things are bottled water and flower. Sometimes people come in bikes and cars to sell cooked chicken ($50 pesos) These surveys have been analysed and filtered to gather all the relevant details and corn $5 pesos. Most of it is personal consumption, but they also sell it. and the common problems identified throughout all the different communities They consume the food cooked, nothing raw besides from the fruits. they where applied to. The following is just a summation of the important There is a lot of garbage and litter, they throw it to the flour, the grass, anyfacts that the communities share and that are relevant to this project. For the where… if not, they burn it. complete results, individual and particular information, the documents are There is a lot of fruit and vegetables (banana, mangoes, coffee, corn, fish, available. chicken, cows) there is plastic waste and litter. ENERGY
Dung, fruits and animal wastes. They are left around anywhere. Plastics, they are thrown to the ground, left anywhere or burnt. Wraps and cans from chips and cookies, gum, they also end up in the streets or burnt. Since 5 years ago, they began building with blocks and bricks, they have cement, electricity and water. All this is provided by the government. They use timber to cook and heat up because it is the cheapest. Timber is really accessible, they go to cut it down personally from the mountain or their lands. They peel the corn by hand; they have rudimentary tools for the agriculture and the fields. For the coffee: they grow it, they cut it, toast it, crus hit and consume or sell For the corn: grow it, cut it, peel, desgranan, make “masa” for tortillas, pozol, atole and other products made out of it. Vegetables: they are cut and consumed. Fireplace inside the kithcen, which produces a lot of smoke that remains inside, where they cook and eat. They use comales, grinders and tripie de cantera Necessities of the community: from the perspective and voice of the habitants of the community. Medical service Gas Pavement Schools Waste, trash and garbage recollection Funds from the government for the fields and agriculture Employment resources and opportunities Reunion places for young people Finish the cathedral Security, the one available is from the woods and it takes about 20 minutes to get to the communities.
Health, hygiene and ecological campaigns (water and electricity is wasted since it is not an additional cost for them) Family planifying Difficulties: They don´t have a way to get to the high school so they don’t finish their studies. Lack of hygiene. Alcoholism Division because of religion Difference of gender, women only cook and clean. Proposals: Medical services. Doctors /drug stores – there is no one prepared or with the knowledge to medícate. Gas tanks or biogas. STOVES or OVENS-their fires release to much smoke. Water- they don´t boíl it, only add clorine and drink it dirty. Schools, Environmental awarenes- they waste the wáter and create litter which ends up in the streets. Alcoholic recovery groups Sustainability, create business within the community in which the prime material doesn’t cost and it can be sold to other communities or cities. Create an economy- they sell their products through other people and don´t win much from them. Ej: the shirts they make are paid for only $8 and sold later by $150. Organitation/union The community has welcomed and opened the doors to the people that have gone to work with them, they are opened to changes and willing to work in new things and new proposals.
cooking in a ceramic oven.
burning corncobd to create charcoal
trying out differen methods.
cooking in a ceramic oven.
using a chimny for fumes..
burning fruits to create charcoal
Attempt to make briquettes -18-
rough and quick sketches for brainstorming and idea representation.
taking the ideas further and developing concepts.
Refining concepts, creating scenarios and representing materials and possibilities.
Specifications and possible mechanisms/processes.
thing. Kids play around and occasionally hit or stumble with the unstable and fragile casseroles or stoves made by them. Another big problem within these communities is the amount of waste they have, both organic and inorganic, which ends up being burnt.
Recognition of need. For these communities in Mexico, it costs approximatly $700 pesos ($60 USD.) to buy timber for cooking and heating. This would last around a month for a family, and they have to walk many kilometers to collect it and carry it back home. Timber fuel consumption causes severe deforestation and shortages of fuel in many areas. As deforestation grows, besides from the ecological impacts, these people have to walk further away to meet their needs. Some other problems identified, and where I believe there is an opportunity are the following.
In one hand, the organic, that comes from all their agricultural products, and on the other hand the inorganic, like plastics, aluminium, polyproppelene, and waste which they do not produce, but how ever, comes from producers that have great distribution lines and reach those places, such as coca-cola. They don´t have a recycling culture or proper waste recollection systems. which brings them to just burn all the waste (organic and innorganic) in the fields to get rid of it, not only polluting the air, but also the soil in which they grow their products and the water they drink.
When women have to cook for their family´s food, besides from having to get the wood used as a cooking fuel, families get many health problems caused because of the smokes released while cooking in closed spaces (inside their homes) where all the family waits, eats, plays… this brings severe breathing diseases not only to the person who cooks, but also to the rest of the family, primarlilly to kids, causing cough, emphysemas, cancer and similar diseases to those caused by smoking, as well as problems to their sight, amongst many others. “Compared to gas stoves, wood burning stoves release fifty times more particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons during cooking” World Health Organization. And “the leading cause of death in children between the age of 1 and 5 is not malnutrition, diarrhea, or malaria, but respiratory illness caused in large part by breathing smoke from indoor cooking fires” Smith , design for the other 90% It is also a typical situation for kids to have accidents with the fire and get burnt as the fire is in the middle of the place where the family does everything -25-
long walk carrying timber.
the rural agrigultural tools. timber stacked up and storage.
Dried and burnt agricultural waste in the ground.
kids play and wander around the fire and cooking place breathing the toxic emitions.
Definition Of Problem • Really low income. • Lack of basic services: water, electricity, health institutions. • Health, issues: 1) Injuries from carrying wood from long distances. 2) Respiratory illness, from breathing the smokes emited by these fuels in indoor places. 3) Accidents with the fire in reduced spaces. Environmental damage such as deforestation and carbon emitions. • Cost of wood for cooking and heating. • Dependence on wood as a source of energy for cooking and heating. Some attempts to attack the previous problems have been followed by a large amount of organizations, where they had developed stoves and alternative cooking fuels to improve the conditions. These have had little success throughout the communities; some of the reasons are the following: • Because the stoves are not thought to be made with local materials Reduced spaces, wrong ergonomics, lid lifted up. and the people can´t be bothered going to source it, since they don’t know or realize the gravity of using their actual ones. • It is not clear for the locals how to build them, and if there is no one from the organizations to explain, they can´t do it. • The stoves that are already made, these people don’t understand properly how they work and lift up the lids and steel plates to get access to the fire and turns out useless. • Some people use it as tables, benches or places to put their things and other belongings on top of it since they don´t have other places for storage. • Ergonomic factors are not considered and they are either to high or to low for them to use comfortably. • Cultural reasons, some stoves where designed so the woman who cooks isn´t near the floor since it is contemptuous and positions women below, but they would be to high and would become uncomfortable for them to use. • Or, simply because they find it occupies way to much space in their little places, and it is not worth sacrificing space for that. -28-
Behind the jaws and claws of the fire and the smoke, this boy waits for his meal.
Each community has its own conditions and different contexts so it is important to focus on a specific place or group with similar conditions in order to obtain the best results.
Summary The approach with the communities is part of the key to the success of this project, historically these communities have been receiving â€œhelpâ€? to improve their lives but it has never really happened and it becomes more of a way to dominate and exploit them, such as the Spanish conquest. This project is not about bringing western or modern lifestyle into their costumes and traditions, it is about adapting to their way of living and creating a solution that improves their life in that way. The intention of this project is to use the strategic process of a designer, which in this case is me, for the investigation, documentation, identification of problems and generation of possibilities and solutions of design within the communities. The creative process of design is used for the formulation of questions and methods that help to awake the eye of those who are not aware, or those who simply donâ€™t have a critical view. Along with this, the aim is to realize a project to improve any aspect of living conditions in poor communities in the southeast of Mexico. The information obtained through different organizations located in Mexico, together with the research I am doing here, is gathered together and analyzed for the generation of ideas and alternatives of design that can help people in the communities, presenting the opportunity to bring sustainability for these people.
From all the research and documentation, i have identified an opportunity and a need for stoves designed to be made with the local materials, which aim to reduce the amount of fuel needed for cooking, and that generate alternative possibilities for healthier and more sustainable cooking fuels, which are worth exploring, along with the devices to produce it, These stoves should also include a chimney or escape for the fumes produced, in order to reduce these health issues. Another aspect as well included is to reduce or prevent completely, if possible, the accidents caused by the fire, all of these of course including ergonomic and design factors that suit the customer which in this case are the Mexican indigenous communities. For this project it will be necessary to have a clear idea of what is being done around the world in this area, what could be included in my project and what material is of relevance. Addressing the health issues caused by indoor cooking fires in the communities from the south east of Mexico. Improving life standards by bringing sustainability to these communities. Reducing the environmental impacts. Use of local resources, materials and waste to create alternatives for woodburning.
This year long project has different stages, starting from researching, documenting, problem identification, generation of alternatives and possible solutions, concept developing and finally a product that can be manufactured. The idea is to use local materials so that the people them selves can make it and it can become a source to generate money. -30-
Conclusion and summary of work compeled. The long road through research has opened many cards to work on in order to improve the life standards in these communities. There are many problems that need to be tackled and worked on, but the opportunity of design that I have found comes up to the design of stoves, that reduce the health, economic and environmental issues that are a consequence of using timber as a fuel for cooking and heating indoors, along with tools that can aid and facilitate the process for production of charcoal briquettes out of the agricultural waste. This has two purposes, one is to stop the health end environmental consequences from burning timber, and the second is to become a possibility for the users to generate a product that can be sold and therefore an income. creating a sustainable cycle between the food, which then turns into waste, then into charcoal (fuel) for cookin, and so on. In order for the design to be successful, it must include the following principles, which are crucial for a sustainable and victorious design: * Be an income generating. the people should be able to create an income by using the design in order for it to become sustainable. * Return on investment. they should recover their investment in less than six months for it to become viable. * Affordability. affordability should rule the design, as cheap as possible. * Energy-efficiency. human powered tools that can be easy to use and powered by human force. * Ergonomics and safety. it must not include risks to the user as well as the maximum comfort to guarantee usability and efficiency. * Ease of instalation and use. must have a clear and easy use. * Strenght and durability. it will be used in the roughest conditions so it must guarantee a long life. * Available manufacturing capacity. with available materials and technologies to the communities. * Cultural acceptability. these communities have cultural traditions and beliefs which much be respected and included for them to accept the design and use it. * Environmental sustenability. it must improve conditions and have a positive impact in the environment.
Learner testimonial. Along the semester I have learned various valuable things. First of all, it has been a great challenge to develop a project situated so far away from the communities that I am working or designing for. This has enhanced my skills to communicate, both with the people here who where not aware and unfamiliar to the group which I am treating, and also with the people back home helping me out with the field information. At the beginning it was frustrating in a way, not to receive the information that I wanted from the people back in Mexico, but that forced me to try different methods, encouraging friends to help me out and convincing people of the organization “no puedo callar!” to take my surveys along with them in their visits to the communities. Another aspect which I feel has improved is my confidence to talk about the context, my ability to expose and present the problems identified. This course has been an opportunity as well, to learn how to use digital research tools such as Delicious, Wordpress, Scribefire, Issuu, Blogs, mind maps, InDesign, audio recordings, and other programs we have used to condense all the information we have come through along the research process. While this semester was more about being able to conduct the research towards the identification of a problem and the recognition of a need, it has also included concept development and decision making for the next semester, where I will be focusing on all the technical aspects of my design, which will be framed and backed up by the work that has been done so far. I have identified what and how I want to intervene as a designer and the “product” I will be creating next semester, and even though the idea is clear about what needs to be done, there is still a long path to go with model making, iterations and manufacturing processes.
indoor and outdoor spaces for cooking and charcoal briquette production.
References. BIBLIOGRAPHY. •Smith, design for the other 90%, Smithsonian, New York. 2007 •Bruce, N., R Perez-Padilla, and R Albalak, the health effects of indoor air pollution exposure in developing countries (Geneve: world health organization,2002) •Alastair Fuad-Luke, Eco design the source book, 2004, Thames and Hudson Ltd., London. •Architecture for Humanity, ed. Design Like You Give a Damn: Architectural responses to Humanitarian Crises. New York: metropolis books 2006. •Easterly William. The White Man’s Burden: why the west’s efforts to aid the rest have done so much ill and so little good. New York. 2006 •Bornstein, David. How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the power of New Ideas. Oxford. 2004 •Farmer, Paul. Pathologies of power. Berkeley, 2005. •Papanek, Victor. Design for the real world: human ecology and social change. Chigaco, 1984 •Prahalad, C.K., The fortune at the bottom of the pyramid: eradicating poverty through profits. upper Saddle River, 2005. •Sachs, Jeffrey D. The end of poverty: economic possibilities for our time. New York. 1999. •Povertynet “Overview: understanding poverty.” world bank. http://web. worldbank.or?wbsiteexternal/topics/expoverty •www.Ted.com - http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/amy_smith_shares_ simple_lifesaving_design.html •www.nopuedocallar.org •National Geographic, Emerging Mexico: a special issue. •World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/en/ •Wikipedia.com/surestemexicano PHOTOGRAPHIC CREDITS: Ana Zarak. -33-