The 9th of September a group of three master’s level students will travel with me to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.The students are Kathinka Hasselknippe, Gudrun Reikvam and Julie Grande.
The Gaia Association will host us. The Gaia Association has for eight years been working to introduce alternative energy sources for household cooking in Ethiopia. Household cooking counts for more than 90 percent of the energy use in the country, and is a major threat to the biodiversity in addition to negative health effects and resource conflicts.
Gaia has distributed ethanol driven stoves together with UNHCRs counterpart in Ethiopia, ARRA. Our group wishes to talk to the end-users of these stoves in the Kebribeyah refugee camp, as well as the entire distribution chain and value chains surrounding its production and distribution. The end-users are represented by the Former Fuel Wood Carriers Association (FFWCA) and will help us get access to these end-users for a user centered approach. This approach will hopefully allow the designers to come up with some improved solutions, both to the product and the system. In addition, it is expected that the students will learn about the specific and many challenges of designing in this context. We have many questions and need to stay open minded.
On the system’s side, questions like: Designing a business model that would benefit both end-users outside and inside a refugee camp, is this possible or even beneficial? Or is a social enterprise/Non-profit solution the most beneficial? Does the industrial capacities of Ethiopia allow the production of a stove dependant on Ethanol, or is a partnership with a foreign producer ideal? Which barriers exist for such a partnership on the design and production side? Does the stove need contextual fitting in it’s shape, form and usability? What are the end-users view on this?
We look forward to approaching this task.