News editor, SciDev.Net
Earth House Systems‘ Earth House Frame is a Finnish design for affordable, earthquake-resistant, housing after emergencies or in developing country settings, which can be put up without special tools or professional workforce. It consists of a metal frame which can then be filled in with locally-available materials: wood, mud, or whatever is available. House can last for more than twenty years.
The costs for India would be around 1,500 Euros per house, which means that with government benefits and microfinancing schemes people could have this house for as little as US$15 a month, according to Sami Juola, chief executive officer of the company. The company says its solution “is an ecological, safer alternative to tents and disposable temporary first aid and transitional shelters”.
Two innovations with mosquito nets; from India, MAGNet, a long-lasting insecticidal net in which the insecticide is impregnated into the filaments themselves, rather than being coated or treated on the surface of the net. The manufacturer, V.K.A. Polymers from Tamil Nadu, India, is now developing other innovative anti-mosquito products based on local plants and indigenous knowledge.
Meanwhile, Danish Bestnet is making mosquito nets more fashionable, adding coloured patterns on their Net protect range. Apart from making them more attractive to use, this technology could also be used to print instructions and educational materials on the nets; as well as branding information and logos, which may allow private businesses to pay for production and distribution of mosquito nets out of their marketing funds.
And apart from the new ideas, there are several solutions that have been around for a while, but can still be scaled-up to help more people. One of these is the Hippo Water Roller Project from South Africa. It allows people in tough rural conditions to transport water more easily – instead on their heads, as it usually done – they can push or pull a rolling barell of water on the ground, using a handle attached to it. The barrel contains 90 litres of water (equivalent to four buckets carried on the head) but weighs effectively only 10 kilogrammes when transported in this way. Some 42,000 of these have already been distributed to 17 African countries, where they are estimated to be helping 300,000 people.
This blog post is part of our blog on AidEx2012, which takes place on 24-25 October 2012 in Brussels.