WASH Unitedis launching a new open design challenge—”to design a handwashing station for a rural Indian household that is attractive, acceptable and marketable.” 5 winners will be chosen to have their designs prototyped and tested with users all over India as part of “The Great WASH Yatra—a traveling festival with a goal to educate and excite communities on how to improve the quality of their lives and tackle sanitation, both practically and meaningfully.”
Another great view into real world design and prototyping by Catapult Design—this time from industrial designer Noel Wilson. Reposted with permission from Catapult’s blog, originally published here.
The value of a prototype is in what it can test. It isn’t always necessary to make it pretty, nor to make it function, it totally depends on what you are trying to learn from it. On a frugal budget, be it of time or funds, one prototype can be made to test many things, and then adapted again to test even more…but really prototypes were made to be broken, and if they last too long it is a sign you’re either not testing them hard enough or you’ve become too attached. I admit…after sweating over prototypes late into the night in my makeshift workshops (set up in hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms etc) and scrutinizing them for days or weeks, it is hard to let them go, let alone batter them until they fail. But tough love is justified in this case
– Preparing for the next day’s prototyping
On this trip I was headed to Rajasthan with Wello to visit a mix of communities around Jodhpur & Udaipur to tune their device to better suit peoples needs and environment (see our Wello project page). I had to carry my kit on some challenging modes of transport to slice, melt, join, flatten, form, twist and repair our prototypes as we broke them.
The objective of this project is to rethink the current models of sanitation facilities and design a new programmatic infrastructure and physical structure that instills a sense of dignity while addressing issues affecting sanitation practices in India.
We feel that sharing our successes, and hurdles, is vital to the project to open channels of dialogue and instill a sense of collaboration in such a critical field.
Quicksand has launched a blog and twitter account (@ProjectSammaan) specific to the project, chronicling the progress and thoughts behind it along the way. It looks like it’ll be a great resource and insightful window into the process that will be entertaining and informative to designers, design-thinkers and sanitation proponents alike. Your ongoing input is invited. Visit the Project Sammaan blog >>
In addition, Quicksand and partners have launched an “Open Innovation Challenge” to the public in three categories:
Architectural Design (of the facilities)
Hand-Washing Design (of the ideal soap-dispensing system)
Ever wonder about the efficiency of our “modern” toilet and water-based sewage systems, or if they even really make sense? Dr. Lucas Dengel shares with us the argument for Ecological Sanitation, or “Ecosan,” from his practice and perspective in Tamil Nadu, India. Ecosan is a universal concept that can (should) be considered everywhere, with practices adapted to local needs and conditions. The transition to a better way of separating, treating and actually gaining benefit from our sewage may be easier said than done, especially in cities—as most common ecosan practices rely on outhouses and composting containers, not conveyance through large, multistory buildings. But it’s time to start shifting our thinking. There’s a real need for healthy sanitation worldwide, and there’s a lot to gain from waste.
The following is reprinted from a document written by Dr. Dengel in January 2011, with minimal edits. Dr. Dengel is a medical doctor who became interested in the prevention of disease, rather than just treatment, early in his career in India. Now an organic farmer and an expert in ecosan, he champions its adoption, along with the use of effective microorganisms (EM) in treating sewage and waste—both for the sake of public health and for their many other benefits. Dr. Dengel lives and works in Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India.
Dr. Lucas Dengel talks ecosan with UnBox Fellows in Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India - Jan 2012
Ecosan – ecological sanitation
Why should there be a need for an alternative to flush sanitation?