On Monday, September 30 our group was given the opportunity to meet with some members from KADUPEDI and ask a few questions to help with our projects. Baluku Peter (team leader), Bwambale Robert, Phestus Mutebi, and Kio (manufacturer) were all present and were willing to talk to us about our projects. Unfortunately, due to connection issues in Uganda, we were only able to speak to them for a short while, and introduce ourselves. This week we are sending some questions to them by email instead. Hopefully we will be able to talk with them again soon, and perhaps next time the connection will be clearer. My questions are written below and focus more on this weeks research that I have also discussed further in this post.
Questions for Phestus:
Can you describe some issues that children with disabilities experience in Uganda?
What are some of the problems that schools in Kasese have for not being able to accommodate children with disabilities?
What happens when children outgrow their wheelchair/tricycle? Can most afford a new one?
Can you identify any successful jobs that are uncommon Uganda? Do you think that people with disabilities would be capable of doing any one of these jobs with a product to assist them?
Environmental Conditions and Existing Products Continued from Last Week
Last week, I spent most of my time reading a study critiquing the different mobility vehicles for disabled people, followed by researching existing products designed by Whirlwind Wheelchairs. This week I continued to research for this issue and focused more specifically on the harsh environmental conditions of Uganda and existing products to overcome this.
Intelliwheels are wheelchair wheels that contain gears so that it is easier for users to travel in an up hill or down hill environment. These chairs are designed for the purchase of users in developed countries, and therefore it is too expensive for people in developing countries. Despite that this chair has a very low gear system and is designed for elderly people, it still is a good example of an existing product to help in the future design for a wheelchair that can adapt to the harsh environmental and road conditions of Uganda. The gears are attached at the hub of the wheelchair, which allows 2ibs of force out of the wheel from 1ibs of force into the hand rim (resulting in double the input).
Children with Disabilities, Continued..
Taking the information and opportunities discussed in week two’s post (based on the study on mobility vehicles in Uganda), as well information from a study that looked at the special educational needs and disabilities in special schools in Uganda that I read during week one, I decided to continue to research more on this subject and get a better understanding on the conditions that are most prevalent in children that live in the country as well as the treatment/ symptoms of some of these diseases/causes. I also wanted to compare my past research to identify design opportunities.
Based on the study that I read during week one (Opportunities for Inclusion? The Education of Learners with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in Special Schools in Uganda) depending on the district, the pupil teacher ratio varies greatly from 30:1 to 82:1. Also, specifically for children with motor disabilities, the study stated that 9 out of the 15 schools did not have ramps and 11 out of the 15 schools did not have wide enough doors. This information can be compared to the study I read during week two (Feasibility Study on Production and Provision of Wheelchairs and Tricycles in Uganda) stating that most children who have wheel chairs have them in adult sizes. From these facts, most children are held back from receiving an education because of such a simple problem of a sizing issue.
Agriculture Conditions and Existing Products
Throughout these past few weeks of research, the improvement of agriculture and growing methods has been a repetitive topic that is believed to be able to reduce the amount of poverty in Uganda. For people with disabilities, these tasks are a lot more difficult and/or almost impossible to perform. The largest opportunity in agriculture exists in the growth and processing of food. If a device is provided to these people that can allow them to further process crops, it can not only provide more food, but more nutrition, and most importantly provide a source of income. Furthermore, people will be able to transport food to more popular selling areas if it is processed.
This is a video of a prototype of a groundnut sheller prototype designed specifically for developing countries.
I also read a study that looked at how much access people with disabilities in Uganda had to microfinance loans. It stated that people who had a higher education were more likely to get a loan than non-educated people. And that 50% of people earned an income through farming. Below is a table stating the characteristics of a survey of the population taken for this study.
Processing capabilities for agriculture and help provide a source of income as well as easy transportation.
Agriculture tools/methods for helping those with disabilities grow a specific crop to provide a source of income.
Next Weeks Goals:
Next week our group must summarize all the information collected from both primary and secondary sources and create a presentation. We have already started but more work is needed. I also need to decide on the focus based on the design opportunities discovered these past few weeks. Once I have decided, I have to finish my design brief and an accompanying scenario board. The three opportunities I have narrowed it down to is adaptability to the environment, agriculture as a source of income, and children devices to enable education.