Tuesday, September 1, 2009

More thoughts on MOMI

About 100,000 Indian women die every year due to lack of skilled care during pregnancy.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A project on Water

I wanted to do a project on Women and Water and so I spent this summer trying to figure out what would be the best thing to do. When I first googled the topic, I was swamped with information. But not all this information was relevant. And there were many things that I needed to know that I could not find (or took very long to find). One thing I realized was that a lot of research has been done on safe clean drinking water. There are a lot of products and systems out there tackling the issue, but there is no one place to get all this information. And thus I took it upon myself to create a portal where one could find a way to implement projects related to water, sanitation, and hygiene specific to a certain geographic area. Below, is my final presentation for the same.

Water Presentation

After visiting the different villages in Africa over the summer, and now Chhattisgarh over the last few days, I found that most villages had access to a borewell and clean drinking water. But this water got contaminated in its journey from this source to the individual household. The jerrycans or pots that were used to fill water were pretty dirty, the women and children collecting the water did not wash their hands, and the same hand went into the pot while carrying the water, transporting this heavy load from Point A to B was a nightmare. And these were just stored out in the open with nothing to cover and protect this valuable source from insects and other contaminants. I see an opportunity for a well designed storage-cum-transportation device. And while many people have tried to address this issue (Q-drum, hippo roller, etc.) I did not really see anyone is the villages using these products. For some reason, they seem to unfamiliar in the current landscape of things. I believe here lies a great design opportunity.


A project I did this summer before leaving for Ghana, momi stands for MIDWIFERY AND OBSTETRICS FOR MOTHERS AND INFANTS.

Rural areas lacks access to public healthcare and the distribution channels for medicines and services is limited, leading to increased mortality and many diseases going untreated. The decision to acquire treatment is based on the cost to travel to the clinic or hospital: if it results in more money spent in transportation or wages lost due to the time taken to reach the facility, people will defer treatment until the condition is relatively serious. This ineffective system results in self-medication techniques, making pharmacies or other sources of medicines the most important part of the healthcare system. This shows a huge need not only for the distribution of medicines to remote areas, but also a requirement for health education so that rural households know the best way to treat their symptoms.

When it comes to women, more than 50% of the death rate is dur to childbirth. At the same time, the biggest cause of high Infant Mortality Rates in the developing world is due to lack of neonatal care. The goal of this project is to ensure that midwife's in rural India have the education and the
infrastructure required for childbirth. India's Infant Mortality Rate is one of the highest in the world, and the IMR in rural areas is much greater than urban areas. This project wants to address the challenges of childbirth and maternal health education in rural India.

The solution is a system where traditional midwives are trained for a month at nearby Primary Health Centers on how to use basic instruments during childbirth. At the end of this training module, they are given a child delivery bag that contains a stethoscope, sphygmomanometer, surgical handle + blades, surgical gloves, cotton yarn, and ivory soap.

Along with these, they are given two subkits - one for the mother and one for the infant. The mother's kit consists of a towel for her to lay down on, a muslin sheet to cover her at the time of delivery, and a washcloth to keep her clean. The infant's kit contains a cotton shirt and a cap for the newborn to wear, and a receiving blanket to wrap him/her in.

Below are some pictures of the Mother's kit and Infant's kit.

This was my first time working with packaging and branding and some of the graphics turned out to be too (sexy???) But after visiting the Primary Health Center in a village (Kenochi) in Chhattisgarh and speaking to a midwife in a nearby village (Amadov), I am ready to go back and redesign some of the graphic elements, as well as build the system further based on their input!

Friday, March 27, 2009

More Post_Its!

Presentation Ideas - My Thoughts So Far!

I created this email as an update for my Independent Study instructors. It's more like my thoughts on how I'm going to present all the research I've been doing this term to help me pick out options for my final thesis project. Take a look and I want all your questions/comments. 

I still need to come up with one specific design challenge which should be framed in human terms. It should be broad enough to allow me to discover areas of unexpected value while narrow enough to make the topic manageable. I am thinking something that combines the biggest problem that rural India faces and that is "how to increase their income" along with empowering women by making them an integral part of the solution. SO maybe something like "How can one change the role of women in the rural society to help increase the family's income?"

A little background on India, rural India, agrarian economy and women. A lot of this would be statistics and graphs.

3. TRENDS - What relevant trends are creating new needs?
I have identified 5 major trends that I would like to elaborate on:
(a) Population Growth and Migration
(b) People's Increasing Expectations
(c) Internet/Mobile Penetration
(d) Emerging Technologies
(e) Economic Instability and Upheaval

4. THEMES - What needs should do the project address?
While there are many paths that one can take, there are five themes that I would like to explore:
(a) Sustaining Resources
(b) Managing/Providing Information
(c) Empowering Community/Women
(d) Integrating Functions and Services
(e) Maximizing Efficiency and Self-sufficiency

5. ISSUES - What are some of the key issues involved?
The key components of the rural society are:
(a) Food
(b) Energy
(c) Health
(d) Transportation
(e) Agricultural Inputs
(f) Household Goods
(g) Education
(h) Information and Communication Technologies
(i) Water
(j) Housing

6. CHALLENGES - What insights can be gained about why things go right or wrong?
For each of the above areas, understanding how things are right now, what are the challenges, and how can they be improved.

7. OPPORTUNITIES - What ideas can be generated to take advantage of these insights?
For each of the above areas, the solutions that have worked and how they can be adapted to the rural Indian scenario.

8. STRATEGIES - What position should the project take on the issues?
Based on the themes, what are the main components of the solution:
(a) Involve the rural community in the design process
(b) Create a solution that is customizable to different needs
(c) Women - teach them to start and maintain the solution
(d) Use emerging technologies as a facilitator for local manufacturing
(e) Opportunities for empowerment instead of dependence to create a sustainable solution

9. FEATURES - What functions make the solution work?
What are the different features for each of the strategies above?

10. SOLUTIONS - What functions are related to create potential solutions?
Based on the strategies, refine the different opportunities to create comprehensive solutions.

11. SYSTEM - What functions should we look at together to create a more systemic solution?
How many of these solutions can be paired together to create a valuable ecosystem?

Present atleast three potential options for a final project!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Featured on KCET

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Eikon - digital camera for the illiterate


Eikon Flowboard - a digital camera for the illiterate

Eikon Flowboard

Day in the Life of a Rural Indian Woman

Day in the Life of a Rural Indian Woman

"Samarth" - Empowering Women through Increased Mobility

"Samarth" - Empowering Women through Increased Mobility

Lifecycle Analysis of a Bicycle

Lifecycle Analysis of a Bicycle

"Samarth" goes into the Gallery

Samarth goes to the gallery

Design's Potential Role in Transforming Public Services in Rural India

Transforming Rural India

Design's Potential Role in Transforming Public Services in Rural India

Transforming Rural India