Category: Design -
26 March 2014
Meet Demu Bikila from Tulubolo, Ethiopia. She is a proud mother of five, and with a smile on her face she says, “I am a successful businesswomen.”
Before iDE, Demu could only grow food during the rainy season and harvest once a year. She tells you that she had “no previous knowledge of farming” and didn’t have any connections to the local market. To make matters even worse, Demu had no savings. This means she would have a hard time getting a loan from a local bank.
With a little help from iDE, Demu turned her life around, she:
- Connected with a local rural bank, with a program specifically for farmers
- Bought a treadle pump, good seeds, and dug a shallow well
- Received training in good agricultural practices
- Was linked to a buyer who would move her crops from her farm to the market at a good price
With a treadle pump and access to ground water Demu can harvest four times a year. With this, she now has a consistent income and her family can eat nutritious food throughout the year.
What will she do next?
Demu knows she has a hard road ahead of her as a single mother. Her husband died some years back and all she has left is the land that was once his and her kids. Had s
he been younger she would have lost the land completely because traditionally it would have gone to his brother. Being a female landowner, she is now a minority in Ethiopia, BUT she is empowered and knowledgeable.
She has plans to continue to work with iDE so she can continue to learn and pass the knowledge onto her children. Demu wants to make even more money so she can send all of her children to school.
Demu is thankful for what she has and is ready to work hard so her children can have a better future.
22 May 2013
Job title: Design and Marketing Volunteer
Contact: Ilana Martin
Work schedule: 20 hours, negotiable
Unpaid (possibly for academic credit)
iDE is an international family of non-profit organizations dedicated to creating income and livelihood opportunities for poor rural households. iDE is seeking a qualified, capable and hard-working individual with an interest in our mission and some experience in marketing to support our Marketing team.
- Provide graphic and layout support for thematic print marketing materials,
- Design a template and graphics for iDE’s (quarterly) e-newsletter (compatible with Vertical Response),
- Produce e-newsletter for next quarter (will receive guidance for content),
- Produce 1-2 minute promotional video for iDE, and/or edit existing footage,
- Edit website using html and CMS, and
- Design a post card mailer to send to donors in November.
- Other duties as assigned.
Skills or Experience:
Use of Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop
Animated video creation
Submit cover letter and resume to Ilana Martin, Business Development Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Open until filled.
19 November 2011
Lack of access to sanitation is a major problem affecting the developing world. Poor sanitation is a major cause of diarrheal disease, lost labor productivity for adults, missed school days for children, and additional financial burdens for families requiring medical treatment. In Cambodia alone, diarrheal diseases account for 17 percent of deaths in children under five. The World Bank recently estimated the annual economic loss due to poor sanitation there to be $448 million a year, which is equivalent to 7.2 percent of GDP.
Existing markets for rural sanitation in the developing world are woefully underdeveloped. Low demand and weak supply chains hinder the availability of sanitation products and services. Publicly funded sanitation projects often make extensive use of hardware subsidies with disappointing results; typically, only a fraction of the subsidy reaches the intended target group, and recipients often do not use or maintain their latrines over time.
For a number of years now in Asia, iDE has been at the forefront of Sanitation Marketing developments to address these challenges. iDE recently completed a pilot project in Cambodia that exceeded expectations by enabling 9.6 percent of the rural population to purchase sanitary latrines in eleven target districts over a 16-month period.
Now, a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has made it possible to expand these achievements on a national scale, improving the sanitation conditions of tens of thousands of rural households while stimulating vibrant and sustainable sanitation markets. Over a three-year period, the Cambodia Sanitation Marketing Scale-Up Project will build on the original pilot project by working directly with some 90 local enterprises, encouraging them to invest their own resources into addressing the demand for sanitary latrines.
The project will enable 115,000 households in 60 districts of Cambodia to purchase affordable sanitary latrines. Other outcomes include:
• Improved latrine designs for two “challenging environments”
• Sanitation financing mechanisms for consumer households and supply chain enterprises
• A research and training center to become a global dissemination platform for Sanitation Marketing experience
The total cost of the project is estimated at $6,942,199. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded iDE a grant of $3,987,717. Other key partners in the project include the Stone Family Foundation, the World Bank Water and Sanitation Program, PATH, and the Royal Government of Cambodia.
Sanitation Marketing has emerged as a highly effective approach for rapidly and sustainably improving rural sanitation at scale by connecting consumers with products that they want and can afford. Evidence from a number of recent projects demonstrates that stimulating private enterprises to address the untapped rural sanitation market can have a revolutionary impact on the uptake of sanitary latrines—with associated health and financial gains for rural households.
The Sanitation Marketing model leverages the advantages of private sector entities, civil society, and government to reach large numbers of rural households in short time frames. Donor funds are not used to provide direct subsidies for hardware or installation. Instead they are invested in laying the foundations for demand-driven, self-financing market systems.
Broadly, Sanitation Marketing applies iDE’s market-based poverty alleviation approach to the related problem of inadequate sanitation. First, we develop a deep understanding of the target group’s needs and aspirations, and adapt or design affordable technology options to meet those needs. We strengthen the capacity of local enterprises to manufacture and deliver the technologies, conduct social marketing campaigns to encourage the purchase and proper use of the technologies, and coordinate with NGOs, microfinance institutions, and government agencies to extend scale and to reach poorer households.
27 September 2011
On September 22, the inaugural iDE Paul Polak Award for Social Innovation was given to its namesake at a gala event marking the close of the Design for the Other 90% exhibit at RedLine Gallery in Denver, Colorado. The well-attended event celebrated Polak’s contributions to the bottom of the pyramid design movement. Speakers included artist and RedLine founder Laura Merage, Ball Aerospace President and CEO David Taylor, iDE CEO Al Doerksen, and Metropolitan Homes President and CEO Peter Kudla.
The iDE Paul Polak Award for Social Innovation honors the important legacy of Paul Polak, whose work has inspired millions of the world’s poorest people to become entrepreneurs; increasing their income and livelihoods, and enabling them to live a life beyond subsistence poverty. This award will be presented annually to a deserving individual social innovator or organization that has significantly advanced design focusing on the “other 90%,” or otherwise demonstrated significant impact using principles articulated by Paul Polak throughout his career. In subsequent years, iDE will select a jury of industry leaders and development practitioners to review nominations, and select the award recipient from that pool of nominees.
Attendees gather at RedLine under a canopy of Nokero solar-powered light bulbs
Paul Polak answers questions with a donkey, which represents his first income enhancing design project, an affordable donkey cart sold in Somalian refugee camps.
iDE CEO Al Doerksen with Paul Polak's wife, Aggie
Ball Aerospace President and CEO Dave Taylor presents the award
Al Doerksen comments on Paul's legacy
Paul Polak and Metropolitan Homes President and CEO Peter Kudla
27 July 2011
From Paul Polak’s Blog, guest blogger Kali Friedmann gives an overview of the Design for the Other 90%, with some ideas about how to (and how not to) design for the developing world:
“Design for the Other 90%” Comes to Denver
By Kali Friedmann
The Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt “Design for the Other 90%” exhibit has arrived at RedLine Gallery in downtown Denver, showcasing products designed explicitly to fit the needs and circumstances of the world’s poorest customers – the “other 90%” who are bypassed by current design processes.
The exhibit, organized in part by International Development Enterprises (iDE), showcases products from an array of designers, engineers, and organizations focused on development, including the Design Revolution (D-REV), the non-profit technology incubator co-founded by Paul Polak. D-REV is an outgrowth of Dr. Polak’s vision of fomenting a revolution in how companies design, price, market, and distribute their products, to produce radically affordable income generating technologies for customers living on less than $4 a day.
Products like D-REV’s Jaipur Knee (a simple prosthetic knee that costs $25 to make and retails for $80) and low-cost ceramic water filters from iDE and other organizations, help illustrate the types of technologies that – at the right price and combined with appropriate mechanisms for marketing and distribution – have the potential to leverage the power of the market to reach large-scale impact.
Kamal using the Jaipur Knee (YouTube)
True to RedLine’s mission of merging art, education, and community, these low cost technologies are displayed throughout the gallery along with the creative responses of seven local artists to poverty, waste, and the challenges of design for development. One such work, created by RedLine resident artist Viviane Le Courtois, emphasizes the disparity between the bottom 90% of the world’s citizens in dire need of practical design solutions, and the top 10% who are served by the majority of designers and live surrounded by excess. The product of several weeks of work, many gallons of Elmer’s glue, and the waste from a covey of Le Courtois’ friends, it is a round thatched-roof hut made entirely of shredded junk mail.
On the exhibit’s opening day, reporter Ryan Warner from the Colorado Public Radio program Colorado Matters met Dr. Polak at the gallery for a walk-through interview. True to form, Dr. Polak provided both a clear description of the design process required to create meaningful and effective tools for development, and an honest critique of the difficulties inherent in doing so.
Dr. Polak highlighted the importance of talking to customers and building not only radical affordability into design – a primary and thoroughly non-negotiable requirement – but also taking into account the much less obvious cultural and lifestyle factors of the communities being served. Failure to take into account details about social structure, cultural preferences, and the subtleties of life at the local level often results in the failure of the project as a whole. As an outsider, this requires a deep cultural understanding that can only be attained by spending time on the ground listening to the needs of users early on in the design process. A full explanation of Dr. Polak’s 12 Steps for Practical Problem Solving can be found in his book, Out of Poverty, but the first three are crucial, and, while they seem obvious, are often overlooked:
- Go to where the action is.
- Talk to the people who have the problem and listen to what they say.
- Learn everything you can about the problem’s specific context.
For example, there’s the Q Drum – a doughnut-shaped water transportation vessel that can be rolled to and from a water source with a rope tied through the center. Sounds great, looks cool, but, 1) at more than $70 per unit it’s too expensive for poor customers, and there’s no way for it to pay for itself, 2) the ropes tend to wear out quickly, and it’s unusable without a way to pull it, and, 3) the opening in the container is too large, making the water vulnerable to contamination from hands reaching inside or dirt finding its way in (80% of the contamination of bad water occurs during transportation between source and end-user). These sorts of problems can only be understood and solved by designing for affordability, spending time on the ground with users, doing a lot of listening, and continually iterating in response to feedback.
Developing countries are littered with well-intentioned but eventually useless products ostensibly designed with poor people in mind, but without their consultation or true knowledge of their needs. A classic example in this category is the PlayPump, a product that is not part of the Cooper-Hewitt exhibit. Designed like a manual merry-go-round, as children run and spin on it the device pumps water into a storage tank for later use. Harnessing the power of children at play to pump water for the village conjures up a lovely image of a type that often appeals to Western donors. As a result the project (run by PlayPumps International) received tremendous press coverage and raised over $60 million dollars to build 4,000 pumps in villages in Southern Africa.
Yet in just a few months it became clear that the project was an abject failure. In the absence of expertise or funding for maintenance of the devices, technical malfunctions were never resolved, and water ceased to flow. After a period of initial excitement, children for the most part lost interest and stopped using the toy, leaving women to spin the PlayPump themselves. Imagine a seventy-year-old woman, after a full day’s work, having to single-handedly spin this large toy that replaced her simple hand-pump just to get the water she and her family need. It’s this type of problem, rooted in the failure to connect with the customer, which designers working for the bottom 90% must avoid by beginning the design process on the ground, listening to the people for whom the product is being created.
By contrast, the treadle pump created by iDE has proven to have a higher output of water than the work put into it. As a result of that efficiency, of its low cost (around $25), and an effective marketing and distribution system involving troubadours singing its praises and local artisans manufacturing and selling the pumps, over 3 million units have been sold throughout the developing world, helping many millions of people increase their incomes by cultivating higher-value, off-season fruits and vegetables. It’s affordable, reliable, leads directly to increased income (and pays for itself several times in the first year), and it’s so efficient it allows men, women, and children alike to pump water without breaking a sweat.
Which brings me to my one and only point of contention with Mr. Warner: I was witness to the fact that at age seventy-seven, Dr. Polak was able to consistently and almost effortlessly operate the treadle pump, and simultaneously talk about it without skipping a beat – much less “appearing out of breath.”
The Cooper-Hewitt Design for the Other 90% exhibit will be at RedLine through Sunday, September 25th, 2011. RedLine is located at 2350 Arapahoe Street in downtown Denver.
Click here for the full interview with Paul Polak that aired on Colorado Matters Wednesday, July 13.
14 July 2011
“Design is creative problem solving. Art is creative problem solving.”
So says iDE founder Paul Polak in a new interview with Colorado Public Radio’s Ryan Warner. Paul gives the reporter a guided tour of the just-opened Design for the Other 90% exhibit–along with a demonstration of a treadle pump in action!–while covering such topics as how iDE came about, the role of design in improving livelihoods in developing countries, why we don’t give products away, and what a collection of affordable technologies is doing in an art gallery.
You can stream the full interview here.
27 April 2011
On Tuesday, iDE and Denver’s RedLine officially kicked off “Design for the Other 90%” a major event which will bring the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum’s acclaimed exhibition to Colorado, along with other events showcasing the ways designers are addressing challenges in both the developing world and here in the U.S. The exhibit showcases low-cost solutions to the problems facing nearly 7 billion people in the areas of shelter, health, water, education, energy and transportation.
The exhibit’s name refers to a central thesis of iDE Founder Paul Polak, who noted in his book Out of Poverty, “90% of the world’s designers spend all their time working on solutions to the problems of the richest 10 percent of the world’s customers. A revolution in design is needed to reverse this silly ratio and reach the other 90 percent.”
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper was on hand to address the approximately 300 attendees. Also speaking at the event were iDE CEO Al Doerksen, RedLine Founder Laura Merage, JP Morgan Chase’s Vice President of Philanthropy Jill Barkin, and Peter Kudla of Metropolitan Homes and RedLine. “Design for the Other 90% will be a powerful demonstration that simple machines and simple ideas translate into powerful global impact, said Doerksen.
The exhibit will run July 8 through September 25 at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street in Denver. We’ll post more information about the exhibition and concurrent events here as it becomes available.