Here is a short update from Deborah, who just came back from Tanzania last week. During my time in Tanzania I have performed an explorative research in Arusha, Sinoni, which is a semi-rural are at the periphery of the city of Arusha. The explorative research entailed doing interviews in this community with different families, who find themselves in different situation.
Next to that I’ve conducted scheduled and unscheduled observations regarding activities of the families. My emphasis was mainly on cooking activities, since the proposed solutions works with heat as an input sure. In contrast to the fact of me looking at the solution working with solar collectors heating up water to turn it into steam, my perspective has changed to see cooking as a source of energy generation. The was due to the fact that most women take 2-4 hours cooking. Cooking sources mainly are wood, charcoal and kerosene. Even though these sources are polluting, this is what they can afford and have access to.
My mission was then to make the solution applicable to be used on their current cooking stoves. Even though my end vision is to change the full cooking habits and use clean sources like solar and biogas, I currently propose the strategy to use this as a stepping stone voor the families who cannot afford a big investment in cleaner alternatives. Next to that it will make it easier to change habits by using a step by step method as habits are the most difficult things to change with design.
To make my vision tangible to the families I sought to make a new prototype that included the functions that I had in mind. I did this in the workshop of a local innovative incubator called AISE Twende (http://www.twende-tanzania.org) together with their welcoming and helpful workshop employees and used the accessible materials. Even though the goal was to charge a power bank essential electronic components were missing, which made it only possible to charge a rechargeable battery and light a led with the new prototype.
Now that I’m back I have more material to work with and my goals for my graduation presentation is to have a prototype that does embodies my vision well. Next to that I’m finalising my thesis and expect to graduate between half and the end of March.