2. Women Carrying babies All day long
For tourists visiting Africa, seeing African women carrying their baby on their back all day long is a satisfying curiosity, and some clever minds even think it’s a cultural patrimony to preserve. Now, let ask the women carrying a 5 to 12 kilos babies on their back all day long if that is something rejoicing.
Besides, designing beds where they could keep the babies during day time, we might also design new solutions for carrying babies much easier for our moms inside their current environment and life conditions.
3. Sleeping bed for Adults
The majority of African can’t afford modern mattress. In some part of Africa people use traditionally designed beds done with knitted bags stuffed with dry herb, but some others use quite rough and unhealthy options.
This is a huge market waiting for innovation.
4. Domestic Lamp
I was born in a village where there were no tap water and electricity. I was using kerosene lamps to study at night. They are very inconvenient, but also very polluting. You have read eyes very quickly and black nose.
5. Washing clothes
Innovation is required to make things easier for people to wash their clothes, as most people can’t afford modern washing machine. For people who can’t afford modern washing machine, we need to invent alternative technologies. This a huge market looking for smart inventors and entrepreneurs.
6. Merchant tools / Kiosk / Shop
Africa has huge informal markets where people get out on the street to sell stuff. Those people need innovation and tools to take their commerce to the next level, and also to protect public health.
7. House construction & Roofing
The rich African subalterns have opted for modern house construction using mainly materials imported from abroad. The western way of construction in Africa has brought very little innovation. The other 99% can’t afford the modern construction, and has been abandoned by the local elite.
We need innovators that are interested in doing research and development on local materials and ways of construction to provide decent and affordable housing for the majority.
The way the majority of Africans cook their food today is not sustainable economically and ecologically. There have been some innovations going on in this field, but a lot is left to be done in term of kitchenware and stove.
9. Farming tools
One of the reason why Africa still have to buy huge quantities of food from Europe and Asia is because of the lack of local innovations to would integrate into local farmers life and improve their output. The tools our farmers are using are very rudimentary and unscalable.
10. Harvest conservation
Lack for innovation in harvest conservation in Africa is also one of the major cause of food shortage and malnutrition. The current tools the local farmers have need improvement.
11. Fetching water
Fetching water is one of the most time consuming activity for women and kids in Africa.
12. Fetching wood
Second to water fetching, wood fetching for cooking is a hard, time consuming and ecological devastating activity. My mother died bitten by a snake while she was out searching for wood to make us food. We need innovation here to alleviate the pain of people and the ecological impact of massive deforestation.
13. Local Tools Factory
Here we need entrepreneurs who could dedicate themselves to study the tools people are currently using, then proceed to create a new generation for “smithy” or tools factory that serve the local people needs with improved technology and usability.
The traditional way of building latrine and toilet is not sustainable anymore. Adding a modern water flushing toilet in every African house is not a sustainable solution too. We need innovation here in order to preserve people dignity and also protect public health and underground water so many are depend on (see next point on wells)
15. Wells digging, Usage & Protection
Wells are one of the solution to the soul breaking water fetching duty on woman. In many African villages and cities people don’t use water from wells anymore because most of their water has been infested by the latrines infiltrations. Still wells are part of the solution, and new and innovative ways to dig and protect them need to be invented.
16. Water tanks
To solve the well problem, people moved to water tanks. here too we need innovation.
17. Grinding Tools
African women spend a huge amount of time grinding. We need tools, innovation here!
18. Waste disposal
Africa has a huge waste disposal problem to be addressed. From villages to cities, innovators and entrepreneurs are required to find efficient, affordable and ecological solutions.
(While researching this article I’ve discovered numerous attempts and prototypes done by various people and organizations addressing some of the issues above. I also understand that it’s not enough to find solutions, we need entrepreneurs who could build sustainable business models and sales channels to bring the innovations to the people who need them. Otherwise, most the innovators will receive awards for their discoveries and gains some celebrity status but the technologies never reach the very people they are intended to).