The These Hands team has been very busy over the last few months. Since the successful completion of the D’Kar Innovation Center and the conclusion of the 2016 International Development Design Summit (IDDS) in D’Kar, our work has aggressively expanded. During IDDS, development practitioners and engineers from around the world worked alongside the local San community to create new technologies that are intended to address local development challenges. In the process, development practitioners were able to pass on technical skills to the community and learned more about San culture and the development challenges that they face.
IDDS resulted in several prototypes of new technology. These prototypes included interlocking bricks that can be used to quickly construct durable shelter, a machine that quickly and safely shells locally grown Morama nuts, a human-powered washing machine, a solar furnace that can be used to mold glass beads, a wheelchair that can function in the sandy terrain of the D’Kar region, and a stove that is powered with biofuels. Since the Summit, These Hands has continued to support the development of these prototypes and other technology that was developed in previous years.
These Hands has also focused on the expansion of its activities. Over the last few months, we have run creative capacity-building workshops in other communities in rural Botswana. The objective of these workshops is to take the lessons learned during IDDS in D’Kar and share them with other communities. These workshops have recently taken place at BIUST University, Dutlwe Village, Rakops Village, and Kaputura Settlement, which face similar development challenges as D’Kar. During these trainings, local community members were taught how to build charcoal presses and were provided with instruction in engineering, metal-working, woodworking, and design. The participants of these creative capacity-building workshops also expressed an interest in starting up Innovation Centers in their respective villages.
These Hands had a very successful last few months and we are looking forward to our upcoming adventures in 2017.