Archive for the ‘africa’ Category

Plastic waste recycling press

August 16, 2009

Great stuff from Maker Faire Africa via Afrigadget.

“We’ve got a lot of plastic trash all over Africa, especially in the cities. A team from IDDS (Amit Gandhi from the US, and Mark Driordan from the UK) decided to create a way to add value to waste plastic by using a low-cost process to transform it into something useful: plastic sheets. From these sheets can be made a number of other products. On display they had shoes, bags, pencil cases and folders.”

See video here.

Image credit, Maker Faire Africa Flickr pool.

Posted via email from REculture: A post consumption economy

Recycling in Nairobi

August 3, 2009

Originally from REculture: A post consumption economy

Steve Daniels has a great post at Analogue/Digital about Nairobi’s Industrial Area. “Essential to the Industrial Area’s thriving activity, and indeed a critical differentiator from rural jua kalis, is an equally thriving materials infrastructure. To sustain the manufacturing of so many diverse products, a separate industry has emerged for raw materials, both recycled and new.”
“Working with scrap material presents new design challenges. Flexibility is critical when ideal parts are not always available.”
Have a look at Nairobi Industrial Area: Products for more recycled lamps, boxes and much more.

Images by Steve Daniels.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from REculture: A post consumption economy

Nokia and education, part one

April 23, 2009

Met some really interesting students who are designing and exploring education delivery on handheld devices.

‘Project Nokia.Expand aims to create a learning platform for children in developing countries in the form of a mobile device. The device will be durable, low-cost, light-weight, easy to use and contains components that enable the children to interact with their immediate environment. The example applications are based on extensive user studies across multiple countries and continents. They will support learning, communication, and playful interaction within and outside a school. We believe that learning happens through interacting with the world. Technology supports that.’ Design Factory.

More to come after the opening of the Product Design Gala.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from Design in Africa

Blogging for Readymade

February 23, 2009

Photo Credit

I am writing for Readymade‘s Illustrated Weekly World of Design, topics include the design process, innovation, design news from South Africa and all the other stuff in between.

Posted via email from Design in Africa

Out and about

February 16, 2009

Having fun, dealing with Africa time, good times.

Posted via email from Design in Africa

Mail on Ovi; low end devices, high user adoption

February 2, 2009

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Nokia announced Mail on Ovi late last year, it was picked up well, and seen as a milestone to delivering email to most of the planet.

“At Nokia we believe email should be available for everybody. We also launched Mail on Ovi, a free email service primarily aimed at the billions of first time email users, 75% of world’s population.” Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo – President and CEO, Nokia stated recently.

Mail on Ovi is free and preloaded on all Nokia Series 40 devices launching in 2009, and a wide range of devices currently out there. Its easy to use, because you don’t have to install anything, you don’t need a computer at all, it ‘works out the box’.

Now here is the interesting part, if you want to install the gmail app on a S40 Nokia, you can’t, you cannot download it; it will tell you that the file size is too big. I stand to be corrected, but I tried 2 different s40 devices, same result. And that is after figuring out how to find the app on the internet. But you can set up gmail in the mail setting pretty easily though, but that would imply you already have a gmail account.

What does that mean? Is it because there are hardware limitations to keep costs low, or is the s40 software is not sophisticated enough to deal with 3rd party applications? Could it be a clever business move to eliminate competition? Or could it just be that Nokia saw an opportunity to make email as simple as possible without too many hurdles. And who do you think is more recognized to 75% of the world’s population?

Now all that needs to happen is for service providers to lower data costs, a ubiquitous internet that can be viewed on all devices and we could be seeing the next internet really take off.

Posted via email from Design in Africa

Slow start to 2009

January 20, 2009

Its been a crazy couple of months with lots happening, but I have promised myself to start blogging again.

Busy with a research project here in South Africa, getting to see interesting people and places.

Posted via email from Design in Africa

Ushahidi in Democratic Republic of Congo

November 8, 2008

Ushahidi is being deployed in the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) as a working prototype.

‘We need to get the message to the people on the ground in the Eastern Congo that this tool is now available for them to report incidents in on. If you have contacts there, or can help spread the word through some other means, it would be a great help if you did so – even if it’s just point them to the website or telling them about the SMS number.’

The number is +243992592111 website is http://drc.ushahidi.com/

Spread the word.

Posted by email from Design in Africa (posterous)

M-PESA, why it works

October 29, 2008

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Nice commentary from Ryan Hahn on Nick Hughes’ (head of Vodafone‘s international mobile payment solutions) talk at CGAP regarding the success of M-PESA, a mobile banking solution

Why it works;

  1. They focused entirely on offering a single service, and doing it well; transferring money between 2 people using a mobile phone.
  2. M-PESA is simple and easy to use and to set up. All a person needs is a Safaricom SIM and National ID/Passport.
  3. No bank account is needed, which immediately allows a large percentage of Kenyans to avoid the difficulty and complexity of using a bank.
  4. Overcoming this hurdle has led to increased user acceptance; over 4 million subscribers.
  5. M-PESA makes its money by charging commissions on money transfers rather than on investing money. Alternative business model.
  6. Vodafone is looking to replicate that success in other markets. Scalable.
  7. Research done by Olga Morawczynski shows that migrant workers are the early adopters who influence other people to use the service.
  8. The value? Time and money is saved by people having to travel long distances to the nearest bank.
  9. 3,500 frontline agents countrywide means even rural communities are benefiting economically.

M-PESA  delivers a simple valuable service using available resources that is understood and accepted.

I know M-PESA has been around for a while, but successful case studies are proven over time.

Posted by email from Design in Africa (posterous)

The global recession and foreign aid

October 26, 2008

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So, although Africa looks like it might be okay in the immediate future while the rest of the world collapses, there is a possibility that foreign aid will be affected; ‘there is also a danger that foreign aid might decline. But that’s based on two other events. One is that there’s a major recession in the US and Europe, or in the donor countries. And second, whether the spending allocations that governments make will lead to cutbacks in foreign aid.’ Shanta Devarajan, Chief Economist of the World Bank’s Africa Region, BBC.

Yes, there is a major recession and it look like promises made by the G8 are not on track, according to the DATA report, 2007, (pdf link).

If there is a dramatic decrease in foreign aid in the near future, now is the time to seriously think about alternatives. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.

Posted by email from Design in Africa (posterous)


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