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Clay Food Storage - the Gulit Project

Reducing waste and improving profits for vendors in Addis Ababa.

Photo of Melat Assefa
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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

Everyday, vendors in the public community markets of Addis Ababa, known as gulits, finish their days with leftover produce. In some cases this food is resold the followings days, however in most markets it is discarded creating large quantities of food waste and loss of potential profit for vendors as they must restock their produce every morning.

Focusing on the problem of food preservation, the proposed project aims to implement community food storage facilities that will primarily support small scale urban vendors. The multi-scaled and modular storage units (from zeer-pots to pavilion scaled food drying structures) are designed following the cooling properties of clay-based construction techniques. This will allow units to adapt to the multitude of different site conditions that exists in urban slums, including terrain (slope versus flat), solar radiation levels and overall market stall dimensions.

The vendors that fill the market areas of urban slums play a central role in the urban-rural economic trade that exists in Addis Ababa. At the same time, they are an important part in the social dynamics that exist in the public sphere of each community. The social dualism of the markets will be a guiding factor in the implementation of this project, where the design and construction of the food storage facilities will be developed through open community workshops that will foster the exchange of information in regards to food preservation and climate change.

WHO BENEFITS?

Focusing on food preservation and using locally sourced construction materials, the project will strengthen the infrastructure for food vendors on an individual and community level. A local women’s crafts cooperative dedicated to clay based products will also work with the design team to produce the storage units giving makers a source of income. Through open workshops, all members will collaborate to create an environment of social and information exchange.

HOW DOES YOUR IDEA TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE CONTEXT OF URBAN SLUMS AND CLIMATE CHANGE?

Every community has a different urban environment and each market vendor has different cooling or drying needs for their produce. No one solution will support all cases and it is because of these differences that exist in the urban slums that this project focuses on using a easily accessible material, clay, and merging a contemporary approach to modular construction techniques that can easily be modified as needed.
From the beginning of human settlements, clay has played a central role in architecture, industrial production, and agriculture. It has been used for centuries to cool water, to carry seeds, to protect the people from weather and to preserve food. The proposed project will focus on the inherent properties of this material to develop a contemporary approach that will maximize its strengths in water retention, biodegradation and thermal insulation to create “active surfaces” that will be able to cool and retain food for longer periods of time.
(As part of the ongoing research of the storage facilities, we also intend to implement sensor-based technologies where possible to monitor different environmental conditions including air quality, moisture levels, radiation, and temperature)
The success of any project of this scale is based on collaboration. To this end, we have connected with a local administrative units (the Kebele’s), a local university, a women’s crafts cooperative, and specialists in food preservation. The subject of food storage and education in urban slums has no “quick fix” solution - it requires a long term strategy to make significant impact.

IN-COUNTRY EXPERIENCE

  • Yes, for two or more years

EXPERTISE

  • I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for at least two years

GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS

  • Yes

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

The project is a collaboration between international and locally based architects, researchers and educators. Addis Ababa based coordinators are Julia Mauser, a practicing architect and Melat Assefa, an architect, lecturer and former chair for Computer Aided Design and Geo-Informatics at EiABC.

IS THIS A NEW OR RECENT IDEA FOR YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION? HOW DOES IT DIFFER FROM WHAT YOU ARE ALREADY DOING?

The team brings together a wide range of experience in regards to community engagement and working with local and recycled materials in construction projects. While the Gulit Project and the theme of food preservation is a new idea for the team as a whole, we have explored similar themes in past projects including the development of community gardens, working with clay based materials, as well as creating modular systems that can be implemented at a city-wide scale.
Our initial conversations with vendors in the markets of central Addis Ababa revealed that food preservation and storage are central concerns. Every evening vendors discard leftover produce, and every morning they purchase new produce from wholesalers creating a cyclical pattern of waste. Looking at the context of city and the rising costs of food, this project looks to explore how storage techniques can help the economic sustainability of the vendors while at the same time help reduce the increasing food waste in markets.

HOW IS YOUR IDEA DIFFERENT FROM OTHER SIMILAR INITIATIVES? WHAT ARE YOU DOING DIFFERENTLY? WHAT UNIQUE ADVANTAGES DO YOU HAVE?

We strongly believe including the end-users (i.e., market vendors) during all phases will create the most successful project. Our focus is to engage the community through open participatory workshops and to donate storage containers where at the early stages of the project users will have the ability to experiment different ways that they can be used.
As designers, architects and researchers, our primary concern is developing a project that is scalable, and adaptable in the sense that it can be properly replicated in other areas of the city. Further, in looking at the economical relationship between farmers, vendors and shoppers, the proposed food preservation units will focus not only on food storage, but more importantly on specific produce and which may have a greater benefit to market vendors to help increase their overall earnings.
Every market vendor and its surrounding community is unique, and by following a community led process, the end result will be a program, not a product. Team members and beneficiaries will maintain two-way information exchange and will ultimately focus on responding to both macro- and micro- scales issues simultaneously.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR IDEA?

During our ongoing research we are learning more about the different markets and how the local government regulates them. In certain Addis Ababa districts (kebele), the government allocates free land to the market vendors, while in others the land is owned by the vendors. In both scenarios, the layout of the markets are also administered differently in regards to their overall infrastructure (permanent vs temporary structures) and have various levels of access to electricity and clean water.

If our project wishes to look at food preservation, adding to the existing infrastructure, understanding its effect at all scales deserves more research.

WHY DO YOU THINK THE PROBLEM YOUR IDEA SOLVES FOR HASN'T BEEN SOLVED YET?

The guilts are a complex environment attached to many layers of the city. It is linked economically to farmers, wholesalers, citizens while at the same time each market plays an important role within the social realm. This multi layered relationship is one reason why the subject of food preservation has not been resolved yet.
At the scale of the fruit, each is unique and needs a specific environment (air ventilation, humidity) to last longer while at the scale of the market there are also issues on space distribution. For example in the temporary daily guilts vendors have informed us that each day is different and they cannot judge how much to buy from wholesalers to decrease food waste.

HOW HAS YOUR IDEA CHANGED BASED ON FEEDBACK FROM YOUR COMMUNITY?

For the past couple weeks, the team based in Addis Ababa, has been interviewing food vendors, wholesalers and government officials to learn more about the current infrastructure of the ‘gulit’.
Every interviewee has revealed new information about life at the markets including and, how the produce is farmed, bought, transported, and sold. As we learn more about the parameters of the markets, we are becoming interested in how our idea has an effect on the profits for the market vendors. For example, we have learned from that all unsold produce is thrown away each day and fresh stock is bought from wholesalers each morning. This scale of waste was not known at first, and it is evident that the smallest change where vendors can preserve certain produce for even one extra day can have a great impact on their profits.
As architects and planners, we are also learning more about the various layouts of the markets. In some cases they are linear where all vendors are on one single row, but in others, there are several layers to the market having an affect on the flow of shoppers and ultimately which vendors receive more attention than others.
Looking ahead to our next stage, we are setting our priorities in terms of overall scale (individual - city scale):
1. small scale storage unit made from clay
2. pavilion scaled structure that will be used for food drying
3. developing education platform for teaching market owners
4. developing an overall waste management plan

WHAT WOULD YOU ULTIMATELY LIKE TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS IDEA? WHAT IS YOUR NEXT STEP TO GET THERE?

Our goal is to focus on two primary issues - first, the physical construction food preservation/storage units to prevent food waste, and second is education and how other preservation techniques such as food drying can be implemented. By engaging these two issues simultaneously we believe that when looking at city-wide scale issues we can have a better result not only in food preservation but as well in strengthening the community as a whole.
(See uploaded diagram on growth)
We are now starting with prototyping individually scaled clay based storage units and over the next two months we will be holding a design-build workshop between local clay crafts people and university students.

test.

Designing and build a sustainable prototype and system within the neighborhoods of Addis Ababa. This will provide an innovative solution for the loss of fruits and vegetables in turn adding economic value to small-scale sellers and food related businesses.

How does your idea connect to the broader system of the city where you plan to implement?

During the past few months, since initiating our idea and throughout the improvement phase of the challenge, our team has gone out to engage the food community of Addis Ababa meeting with gulit vendors and their wholesalers. At the same time we have discussed our strategy with the only crafts cooperative namely that focuses on using clay. We are growing our local team with a network of specialists sharing the common goal to engage the subject of food preservation.
In our research thus far we have not found any existing programs that focus on food preservation or education at the market level. There is a food waste program in the wholesale markets where leftover produce is collected and trucked to a composting facility outside the city. Our goal is to learn from such programs yet focus on working directly with gulit vendors to improve their market. For the creation of the storage containers we look to work directly with the local cooperative.

32 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Abdus
Team

Hi Melat,

I read the article.

I studied the social sciences and so the most interesting part for me was the talk of the gulit comprising several layers of society. It'd be interesting to think about how they interact and in what ways they co-operate and in what ways they are in competition.

About the idea... you clearly did a lot of research on these pots! Congratulations! Hopefully the idea will take off. It seems like something that should be implemented. I must confess, I have not really thought about such issues. I am Bangladeshi and the farmers there would certainly exp the same problems regarding waste/heat... and I have no idea how they deal with it, or if they just throw produce away. One unfortunate effect is that the prices go real down, on order to sell the mountains of tomatoes, so I wonder if the farmers actually make a loss...
AS.

Photo of Chioma Ume
Team

Hi Melat and team!
Below is some feedback from our experts. We look forward to your responses!

The idea is very interesting but I see a number of technical parameters to explore and solve. My advice is: (a) seek expert advice on food conservation: what temperatures are required, what sanitary issues need to be addressed. (b) explore and elaborate more on how this is relevant to resilience. Importantly, how can this contribute to change economic/livelihood patterns in urban slums?

It is not clear how cooling (mainly needed during the day in Addis as the nights are cool) can be reconciled with display of goods. There needs to be more information on the degree of cooling achievable.

What information do you have about whether this is a service that is desired by your intended users? We'd love to learn more!

Photo of Melat Assefa
Team

Hi Chioma!

Thank you very much to you and your team of experts on the feedback you have given us. Below are some of the points that we have tried to answer based on literature review and discussion with various specialists. We hope it helps clarify our points!

(a) Regarding expert advice on food conservation, required temperature, and sanitary issues:


1. Zeer pot (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pot-in-pot_refrigerator): This clay pot cooler is an evaporative cooling refrigeration device which does not use electricity. It only requires a flow of relatively dry air and a source of water. Such cooling devices are favorable in areas with low humidity (like Addis Ababa) and could achieve temperatures as low as 4.40 C, which is the temperature below which food spoilage bacteria have significantly slowed growth.

2. Evaporative cooler ((Ndukwu. M. C. Development of a Low Cost Mud Evaporative Cooler for Preservation of Fruits and Vegetables. Agricultural Engineering International: CIGR Journal. Manuscript No.1781. Vol. 13, No.1, 2011. Provisional PDF Version):
Ndukwu’s exemplary evaporative cooler is developed with clay and other locally available materials. It has reduced the daily maximum ambient temperature by up to 10 0 C. It was also able to preserve freshly harvested tomato for 19 days before visible colour changes and mould spotting appeared and the weight drastically reduced. On his literature he also quotes various examples for the preservation of fruits and vegetables which include straw packing houses reported by FAO in 1986. Information on required temperatures for fruits and vegetables are attached.
The above mentioned and a few other examples have helped us understand that evaporative cooling techniques can work. We are currently working with a collaborative of local craftswomen for options to use and also prolong the life of the clay structures. This would be done either through developing a sustainable approach to burn the entire structure or only the surface. There are also ways to work with grease and other locally available surface coating materials that could avoid rodent attacks.
By reducing waste in general, the project also expects to relieve burden on sanitation needs and help to improve overall public sanitation and health conditions. We have discovered that there are SMEs in certain Kebeles who collect organic waste from such gulits, make compost and sell to urban farmers. This could be a way forward in our project, when there is waste disposal involved.

(b) Regarding the project’s relevance to resilience, and its contribution to change economic/livelihood patterns in urban slums:
The temperature in Addis Ababa has been showing increases in past several decades. Meteorological data from 1951 to 2002 shows that minimum and maximum temperatures increasing trends of 0.4°C/decade and 0.2°C/decade respectively. (see temperature tables of Addis Ababa attached).

Mitigation and adaptation to this changing climate are already instilled within our project. We will be looking at cooling devices solving: energy, water, and food losses while at the same time benefiting the local vendors in the markets.
Our initial conversations with these vendors, in November 2015 revealed that food preservation and storage are central concerns in gulits. Every evening vendors discard leftover produce, and every morning they purchase new produce from wholesalers creating a cyclical pattern of waste. Looking at the context of city and the rising costs of food, this project looks to explore how storage techniques can help the economic sustainability of the vendors while at the same time help reduce the increasing food waste in markets.

(C)Regarding how cooling mainly needed during the day is combined with the cool nights in Addis:Evaporative cooling systems not only reduce the storage temperature but also increase relative humidity. Our proposal will work well in Addis Ababa’s climate where nights could be cold and dry. It will increase the relative humidity of the storage system, which is good for maintaining freshness of fruits and vegetables.
The display and storage of goods is a design challenge that we have yet to solve during our prototyping phase - we are now starting with prototyping individually scaled clay based storage units and over the next two months will be holding a design-build workshop between local clay craftspeople and university students. The outcomes of the workshop will help solve the mentioned design questions.

(d) Regarding our intended users:
Our intended users – primarily small-scale urban vendors and food related business owners are all very excited about our proposal! The Kebeles, of the neighborhoods that we have focused on are also keen to find out the results of the proposal! This is a service desired by all the stakeholders in the gulits throughout the city. This project will have a huge impact in the social dynamics and economical flow. 

Photo of Melat Assefa
Team

Hi Chioma!

Thank you very much to you and your team of experts on the feedback you have given us. Below are some of the points that we have tried to answer based on literature review and discussion with various specialists. We hope it helps clarify our points!

(a) Regarding expert advice on food conservation, required temperature, and sanitary issues:

1. Zeer pot (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pot-in-pot_refrigerator): This clay pot cooler is an evaporative cooling refrigeration device which does not use electricity. It only requires a flow of relatively dry air and a source of water. Such cooling devices are favorable in areas with low humidity (like Addis Ababa) and could achieve temperatures as low as 4.40 C, which is the temperature below which food spoilage bacteria have significantly slowed growth.

2. Evaporative cooler ((Ndukwu. M. C. Development of a Low Cost Mud Evaporative Cooler for Preservation of Fruits and Vegetables. Agricultural Engineering International: CIGR Journal. Manuscript No.1781. Vol. 13, No.1, 2011. Provisional PDF Version):
Ndukwu’s exemplary evaporative cooler is developed with clay and other locally available materials. It has reduced the daily maximum ambient temperature by up to 10 0 C. It was also able to preserve freshly harvested tomato for 19 days before visible colour changes and mould spotting appeared and the weight drastically reduced. On his literature he also quotes various examples for the preservation of fruits and vegetables which include straw packing houses reported by FAO in 1986. Information on required temperatures for fruits and vegetables are attached.
The above mentioned and a few other examples have helped us understand that evaporative cooling techniques can work in gulits. We are currently working with a collaborative of local craftswomen for options to use and also prolong the life of the clay structures. This would be done either through developing a sustainable approach to burn the entire structure or only the surface. There are also ways to work with grease and other locally available surface coating materials that could avoid rodent attacks.
By reducing waste in general, the project also expects to relieve burden on sanitation needs and help to improve overall public sanitation and health conditions. We have discovered that there are SMEs in certain Kebeles who collect organic waste from such gulits, make compost and sell to urban farmers. This could be a way forward in that regards. 

(b) Regarding the project’s relevance to resilience, and its contribution to change economic/livelihood patterns in urban slums:
The temperature in Addis Ababa has been showing increases in past several decades. Meteorological data from 1951 to 2002 shows that minimum and maximum temperatures increasing trends of 0.4°C/decade and 0.2°C/decade respectively (see temperature tables of Addis Ababa attached).
Mitigation and adaptation to this changing climate are already instilled within our project. We will be looking at cooling devices solving: energy, water, and food losses while at the same time benefiting the local vendors in the markets.
Our initial conversations with these vendors, in November 2015 revealed that food preservation and storage are central concerns in gulits. Every evening vendors discard leftover produce, and every morning they purchase new produce from wholesalers creating a cyclical pattern of waste. Looking at the context of city and the rising costs of food, this project looks to explore how storage techniques can help the economic sustainability of the vendors while at the same time help reduce the increasing food waste in markets.

(C)Regarding how cooling mainly needed during the day is combined with the cool nights in Addis:
Evaporative cooling systems not only reduce the storage temperature but also increase relative humidity. Our proposal will work well in Addis Ababa’s climate where nights could be cold and dry. It will increase the relative humidity of the storage system, which is good for maintaining freshness of fruits and vegetables.
The display and storage of goods is a design challenge that we have yet to solve during our prototyping phase - we are now starting with prototyping individually scaled clay based storage units and over the next two months will be holding a design-build workshop between local clay craftspeople and university students. The outcomes of the workshop will help solve the mentioned design questions.

(d) Regarding our intended users:
Small-scale urban vendors and food related business owners are all very excited about our proposal! The Kebeles, of the neighborhoods that we have focused on are also keen to find out the results of the proposal! This is a service desired by all the stakeholders in the gulits throughout the city. This project will have a huge impact in the social dynamics and economical flow. 

We look forward hearing from you! 

Photo of Mismak Zena Gessesse
Team

This is a great idea which definitely fills a gap, bringing benefits to small- and micro-scale entrepreneurs, to those attached to the everyday life of the "gulit", and to others beyond. Well done to the whole team! I enjoyed reading the proposal and hope that you find my feedback below helpful:



1) Not sure how the leftover waste is discarded but, knowing what I know about Addis, I suspect it might be exposing the public to further sanitation and health problems. Solving bigger picture problems such as improving public sanitation, health and living conditions is one way to improve urban resilience.

2) I agree, it's a good idea to see if there is any traditional community knowledge on food preservation/drying that you can tap into, in addition to expert feedback.

3) It would be a good idea to have government buy-in as early as possible. Even if you are partnering with the Addis Ababa University, I assume you would need to collaborate with the administration government at all or any one of the three levels (federal, sub-city, kebele).

4) I wonder how you plan to ensure beneficiary participation throughout the project period?

5) Do you expect that the planned open community workshops will in turn contribute positively to the social dualism that exists in the "gulit" markets? Perhaps the workshops will help to enhance social cohesion, and better organizational systems and management techniques in the market places?

6) Have you thought about the phase-out plan? How will the project sustain itself after closure? What is the financial/management plan for running the storage units/pavilion once the project closes? Micro-financing?

7) It's interesting that you plan to identify specific produce that may have a greater benefit to vendors in increasing their earnings but I wonder how that would affect the dynamics of produce availability. Something to keep in mind and to watch out for as the project is hopefully implemented.

8) The project's connection to climate change could be made stronger. I presume that the clay-storage units and pavilion structures are intended to function without the use of electricity for storing/cooling/drying purposes. This unique form of energy conservation could perhaps be linked to or regarded as a climate change adaptation response. 

9) The plan to use local resources for construction is a great one.

Hope to see the project to fruition!

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congrats on this being today's Featured Contribution!

Photo of Jeannie Brazil
Team

Brilliam concept! No wastage at all.
Congras TEAM, you done it again ! 
Keep up your good work!!

Photo of Biruk Endashaw
Team

A brilliant idea! Think of the waste from developed nations, the money that's thrown away in terms of spoiled groceries could feed the poor for years. Ideas like these would increase profits for SMEs like Gulits, hence improving their livelihood. It'd also address the food needs of growing population of a developing city. Efficiency of food usage would also increase. Other countries could also learn from this. If we can see the fruition of a project this scale, it'd also aid not only the SMEs in question but also the country. I do hope something is being done so that this project could materialize. Fingers crossed Melat!

Photo of Maximiliane Butler
Team

Amazing project.
1st version of a prototype buildt with clay & playmobil u can find in the profile picture ;)
Once u have found a solution it could easily be exported & shared with other countries.
How can I contribute to the research project, is there some kind of crowdfundingproject ?

Photo of Valentin
Team

Dear Gulit-Team,

I live in Addis Ababa next to one of the small markets you describe an interact with the market people quite a bit. I think what you are planning can work. In fact, I think it is bridging a critical gap in what is currently happening in Addis: A building boom, that is completely dominated by megalomaniac concrete dreams, completely ignoring city micro climates, air circulation etc, energy shortages, let alone the interest of all the small traders and producers that keep the city running and alive. It might also make sense to train small-scale local construction contractors in adapted-building technologies and link them up to the people running the markets. Just a thought. Hope you make it further, Addis needs you!!

Photo of Melat Assefa
Team

Dear Valentin,

Thank you so much for your comments! You are right - we want to introduce and give meaning to localy sourced materials and systems, to solve bigger urban issues. Addis is growing at a fast rate, it is always hard to imagine in what direction it is going. We believe that our project would have a positive impact on the changing urban landscape! This may be done by inviting and training small-scale contractors and other stakeholders in the construction industry! Thanks! 

Photo of Shewit
Team

What an exciting idea!!! I really liked the fact that all the materials are locally sourced and  produced. Its also very interesting you are planning to  involve the vendors themselves in the process.  Selection of the vendors themselves in the right way may be a bit challenging. Have you decided how you are going to do that? I think it would be great to use already existing associations or groups in the 'Kifleketemas' to ensure efficiency and sustainability. 
As a resident of Addis Ababa, I look forward to the fruition of your ideas. Keep it up!!! 

Photo of Melat Assefa
Team

Dear Shewit,

Thank you so much for your comments! selection of the vendors, is going to be a challenge.For now we are thinking of selecting them randomly based on their interest in the project ( the one's we interviewed are all very excited). So far we haven't encountered any existing association or group, we know that they share specific services including transportation and security, maybe we can identify these common service platforms and use them in turn to make the prototypes. We will see!

Photo of Anna
Team

fantastic! 

Photo of Edward
Team

What an excellent initiative, it's always inspiring when people try to make a difference, especially if it's using what resources they already have available and are accustomed to! I'll keep an eye out for your project! 

Photo of Salvo Pappalado
Team

I'm curious to observe the population of output in various scales resulting from the "small unit of storage". It will also be interesting to observe the use of the device (... and its natural optimization) by the users.

Congratulations for the idea. Good work!

Photo of Miguel Pardo
Team

Food storage and waste management mixed with education and digital fabrication makes a winner solution for this challenge. Fantastic idea!

Photo of Therese Breyer
Team

Great Idea! I really like the approach to combines local material with professional scientific knowledge (construction) and ongoing educational workshops with the vendors. There are so many things you can do with ripe fruits and vegetables - and these alternatives are healthy too. Would love to learn more about the administration of the facilities, guess this will be a challenge too! 
Here a great example of left over food from Berlin http://www.doerrwerk.de/ love it!

Photo of Julia Mauser
Team

Dear Therese, thank you so much for your input and link, dried fruit is indeed a great added value and we cannot wait to test some of those on the individual scale. In case you know of anyone / any organisation , that could potentially help us setting up the training, we would really appreciate it. Maybe Berlin does have a training infrastructure we could tap into or we could think about training courses via the internet or video conference. Let s stay in touch!

Photo of Natascha Weisert
Team

Sounds fantastic! A few things I could think of:

(-) Apart from prototyping and testing the approach, you will have to find the best possible way to address (and organize) the vendors. Is there some kind of intermediary structure you can go through?
(-) Mobile applications can help not just to impart knowledge, but also help with waste management. There are some value-chain oriented apps for producers that could possibly be adapted to suit your purpose.
(-) Improved waste management and reduced waste would already be great, but I agree that you might want to go a step further in helping the vendors increase value addition, be it by drying some of the leftover food, using it for energy generation (some smaller scale options exist already), or processing it further (soups, juices or smoothies - supplying some local market kitchens (?), but also concentrate, essential oils, etc.).
(-) Have you thought about how vendors could potentially be financing this (micro finance institutions) or how you could be financing this longer-term (there are many different public and private sector options available)?
(-) I can think of a few project examples, where the local market place was leveraged to support entrepreneurship development. Once you start and the project thrives, there are so many good options to expand it further...
(-) Quite a few organizations might be interested in this, esp. once you have the prototype (approach).

If I can be of any help - just let me know!

Hugs, Natascha

Photo of Julia Mauser
Team

Dear Natascha,
this is a great input, thank you very much! I guess, we are currently trying to get a sense of the scale in order to incrementally grow the functions. What seems to be difficult is the organisation of the vendors, since they are all independently working (buying from the whole-sale, selling on the street or in the market..). I guess a mobile application could help, organising some of their daily efforts into a shared communal approach. It would be great if you keep feeding us with your experience and examples where we could learn from. We are now in the prototyping design which will hopefully also generate new ideas in how to bring all the pices together. thanks again for your valuable input!

Photo of Julia Mauser
Team

Dear Milha,
thank you for your comments and inputs, yes, you are absolutely right; once we have figured out the properties of the cooling device, we should consider the larger market infrastructure as a place to control the environment to provide "comfort" to the fruits but also the people. Since there is so much interaction every day, it would be fantastic to create a shaded and cool working environment for everyone to enjoy - it could feel like passing by a small garden or forest, where you feel the temperature dropping down in its immediate surroundings.

Photo of Milha
Team

Using design thinking to solve climate change and slum problems is a great idea. Temperature is already increasing in Addis Ababa and it is expected to increase more due to climate change, low cost locally sourced storage to keep vegetables cool is a fantastic idea.  Vegetable vendors in slums have limited financial capital and 'narrow profit margin' ; thus reducing waste and increasing shelf life is important to keep their business viable in longer term and increase their profit currently. 

In addition to clay storage it would be good to think about improving the whole gulit unit using local materials. Since these units are usually made of corrugated iron they are susceptible to heating up. Further in some guilts because of space shortage and visibility, vegetables are placed outside the unit and exposed to direct sunlight which accelerates the spoiling process. In light of rising temperatures some kind of durable and appropriate shade structure would maximize the benefit of your clay storage idea. 

Photo of Giok P CHUA
Team

Good Try+Learning Experience for Team
Solutions recommended is just STOP-Gap Intermediate Technology measures for small quantity storage.
Many fundamentals of small business managment/entrepreneurship not address....cost of urban poor
Nothing will change to improve the lot of these poor Gulit SME......Team Problem Solving lacking Business Acumen

Mr Melat Assefa should use his architectural Computer Aided Design and Geo-Informatics to create new skillsets for the young to make a living on internet Building Information System (BIM) a new income stream

With the money earns...build a decent cold-chain to extend the shelf life of food-fruits. 
Also the SME should work with the Food-Restaurants to provides value add instead of throwing away as food waste.
Back to drawing board !!

Photo of Melat Assefa
Team

Hi Gioko,

Thank you for your comments. Creating a business model out of our intervention could be an improvement to the proposal! We do believe that utilizing local resources to impact a larger scale of the population is the way forward and we can see this activity bridging the gap between the Small and Micro enterprises (SMEs) and the implementation support already given from the government. We are also working on the sustainability plan of the proposal once the prototypes are put in place.


On the Building Information Systems Modelling (BIM), we do have courses and training capabilities in that sector to teach students and other interested experts. Currently our students are also researching with us on this project. We see the potential of BIM in the working process, but we also believe that the traditional methods of design and construction should bring inspiration and implementation to the proposal.
Could you clarify how you would approach the BIM within the African context, within the issue at hand (the Gulit Pavilion)?


Regarding the Cold-Chain suggestion it is: dependent on infrastructure (including electricity); expensive to buy; and produces more carbon dioxide. The SME’s don’t have the capacity to provide bulk produce to restaurants, so they can not work with them. Only wholesalers and retailers provide fresh fruits and vegetables to hotels and restaurants. We are thinking of alternative ways to preserve food, hence the Gulit Pavilion.

Photo of Alexander James Wright
Team

Very simple and straight forward solution that could really lend a helping hand to the vendors of Addis Ababa. Well rounded project that not only helps solve an evident problem but teaches them the techniques for future use and employs the ready available materials.

Photo of Rafael Machado
Team

this is the result of an transdisciplinary proposal between different countries to make a pilot project in Ethiopia, but that could be applied in other markets in other countries in the world, without loosing the local aesthetic

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congrats on making it to the Feedback Phase Melat! We would love it if you can take some time to answer the new Refinement questions that we've added to your original idea submission form. To answer the new questions, hit the Edit Contribution button at the top of your post. Scroll down to the entry fields of the new Refinement questions. Hit Save when you are done editing.

Also, here's a useful tip: When you update the content of your post, it'd be helpful to indicate this in your idea title by adding an extension. For example, you can add the extension " - Update: Experience Maps 11/16" to you idea title. This will be a good way to keep people informed about how your idea is progressing!

Photo of Octavio Van Praag
Team

Ojalá se realice!

Photo of Ramon Fermin
Team

Estupenda iniciativa...el mayor de los éxitos....

Photo of Rafael Machado
Team

tradition and technology, local and global. A project that can moves into these areas. Good!

Photo of James Brazil
Team

An idea that could be effective immediately and responds quite acutely to the challenge!