User Experience Reports are researched and written by E4C Fellows who interview users of different technologies being used in undeserved communities around the world.
Solar Home System
Sun King Home 60 by Greenlight Planet is a solar home system distributed around the world. In 2018, a village carpenter and his family of 6, using this product in Playa Bastón, Bocas del Toro, Panama, was interviewed. With no access to grid electricity, this product is one of the few options the family had, outside of kerosene lanterns. However, the pay-as-you-go platforms in Latin America are still in need of development and payments are hand-delivered by company agents. The family mentioned they have had many issues making monthly payments due to the lack of agent accountability – leading to the system being turned off. The Sun King Home report (in English and Spanish) is available here. Learn about pay-as-you-go solar home systems in Latin America here in English and aqui en Español.
Tech-Jal by Technorbital is a gravity-fed membrane filter available in India. In 2015, the product was installed at a school in Jajmau, Kanpur, India that serves up to 2500 students. A school employee was interviewed in July 2018 who claimed, “Three years ago, there were a lot of complaints about the health of the students. Even the principal suffered from gastric issues and diarrhea. Then we switched from our RO [reverse osmosis] water purifiers to Technorbital’s Tech-Jal and there are no complaints anymore.” The Tech-Jal report is available here.
A Biosand Filter is a rapid sand filter constructed from local materials. The design is opensource and the filters are built and distributed all over the world. In 2014, a school in Mbale, Uganda received four filters as a donation from an international NGO who hired a local company to implement the project. An employee of a Ugandan Biosand Filter construction company was interviewed in August 2017. The filters were used by the school for two years, then, the NGO stopped providing funding for maintenance and all the filters stopped working during the third year. The employee said, “I love the water from these filters, it tastes better than the tap. However, without follow-up, these projects don’t last. The filters get clogged and can crack. They need to be maintained continuously.” The Biosand Filter report is available here. This story was also featured in this E4C news article in 2017.
Bicycle Water Pump
The Bici Bomba Rosaria de Agua is a human-powered bicycle water pump available in Guatemala and Mexico. In 2017, a household in a rural community in Chimaltenango, Guatemala was interviewed about the product, which was donated to them. The family had been using the product everyday for over a year and claimed, “It is pretty easy to use and it is much faster (than using a bucket and rope), now I have more time to do other things around the house.” The Bici Bomba Rosaria report is available here.
Ceramic Water Filter
The Purifaaya by SPOUTS is a ceramic water filter manufactured and distributed in Uganda. In 2017, a woman in an urban home in Kampala, Uganda was interviewed. She had purchased the product at a local store for about 25 USD. After using the filter for a couple months she was pleased that she no longer needed to boil water or purchase expensive bottled water. The Purifaaya report is available here.
The Chotukool by Godrej is a low-powered electric cooling fridge available in India. In 2018, an urban household in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India was interviewed. The user received the product as a donation from an Indian NGO three years prior and still uses the product every day. The Chotukool report is available here.
Evaporative Cooling Refrigerator
The Mitticool is a powerless clay refrigerator that uses evaporative cooling principles to keep produce cool. The product is manufactured and distributed in India. In 2013, a woman in an urban household in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India used the product for a year for the purpose of testing with an Indian NGO, however, once the testing was complete, she stopped using the product. The Mitticool report is available here.
Pedal-Powered Corn Sheller
The Bici Desgranadora de Maiz is a pedal-powered corn sheller available in Guatemala and Mexico. A family in a rural community in Chimaltenango, Guatemala was interviewed in 2017. They had been using the product for three years. One user claimed, “We like it because it is easy to use, it is better than shelling the corn manually. We can shell up to 2,000 pounds a day.” The Bici Desgrandadora report is available here.
Afripads are locally-made reusable sanitation products in Uganda, Kenya, and Malawi. In 2018, South Sudanese women who use this product in the Bidi Bidi refugee camp in Northern Uganda were interviewed. One interviewee claimed, “This product is really good for our young girls and women, since we don’t have access to healthy feminine hygiene product. We are so thankful for this provision to help us continue with our daily chores feeling clean and free.” However, maintaining cleanliness of the product can be difficult for refugees who may not have access to proper cleaning facilities or soap. The Afripad report is available here.