Pensar, Charity:Water, Incite, IDeology and volunteers have teamed up to ease the burden of water collection in Ethiopia. We are using design thinking to tackle a problem that affects millions every day. Many places in the world, women and children walk hours every day to fill their empty Jerry Can at a well or other water source. Then they carry the 40 lbs of water back home.
To better understand the problem, we strapped a 5 gallon (40lb) jerry can to our backs and walked around the neighborhood. We were surprised at how unwieldy it was. After struggling to carry it, the ideas started flowing for how we could improve upon the situation with new containers, weight distribution, wheels, pulleys, straps, etc. Part of the challenge in Ethiopia is the rocky, hilly terrain that prevents rolling solutions.
Brainstorms evolved into sketch storms, which evolved into model making storms, which yielded prototypes that began to get at the goal of less painful, more ergonomic water transport. With the help of an Ethiopian organization called REST, we sent prototypes to Tigray for field testing. Feedback from the first three prototypes revealed insights that allowed us to refine our direction. The goal is to come up with a solution that eases the pain of water transport, and can be produced locally in Ethiopia.