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Submission into OGC-Simple Seat, Better Lives
Transcript of Submission into OGC-Simple Seat, Better Lives
Those who have been handicapped by landmines in Uganda cannot independently use a pit latrine in a safe and sanitary manner.
Social and Cultural Influences
"When you reach a family with a disabled child, the parents say, ‘We have four children and one disabled. The disabled child is not part of the family, they are an unfortunate addition.” – Teddy (Teddy was 16 when she was handicapped by a landmine) .
Simple Seat, Better Lives
This is a Global Issue
Uganda is a nation recovering from decades of war and conflict.
It is surrounded by countries that have also been afflicted by ongoing war such as Sudan, Congo, and Rwanda. Several refugees have fled to Uganda from these countries.
Most Recent Conflicts within Uganda
Lord's Resistance Army: Lead by Joseph Kony, the LRA has been a terrible, active force in Uganda.
One of the longest ongoing conflicts in African history .
Idi Amin: President of Uganda from 1971-1979.
Several people refer to this period as the "Time of the Dictator."
Hundreds of thousands of deaths in Uganda during his rule .
Ongoing war and conflict has left Uganda with an overwhelmingly large handicapped population, as both rebel militia and government armies use and have used landmines to injure the opposition.
This guerrilla warfare tactic kills and maims indiscriminately, affecting civilians more often than militant forces (
80% of landmine injuries are to civilians
19% of the Ugandan population is estimated to have a disability . This means that almost 6 million Ugandans are dealing with this issue.
Other countries afflicted by war can benefit from a solution to this problem (Angola, DRC, India etc.)
There are several countries all over the world that lack the infrastructure to accommodate the disabled.
The disabled are often seen as a burden and unable to be self-reliant.
As a result of these negative stigmas, it is difficult for a handicapped individual to find employment.
As more disabled people have no other option other than begging on the street, these negative stigmas intensify.
Like most other cultures, it is socially unacceptable to talk about "doing your business".
This is a Pit Latrine:
If you are missing a limb, does this look possible to use?
Also, similar to other countries such as China, it is more socially acceptable to squat over a restroom facility than to sit on an object that has been used by so many others.
Because of social ideas such as these, the issue about the use of pit latrines by handicapped individuals has been vastly ignored.
Margaret Orech was being honored as a
at the University of San Diego in the fall of 2014 .
She is the founder of the
Uganda Landmine Survivors Association
, served as an ambassador to the UN as a spokesperson of disabled people, and a landmine survivor herself.
A solution to this problem could help millions...
U.S. Patented Solutions
Patent Number: US 7103926
Patent Holder: Kenneth E. Rasberry
Date of Issue: September 12, 2006
Patent Number: US 6009571
Patent Holders: Joseph Battiston
and David Battiston
Date of Issue: 2000-01-04
Patent Number: US 20070074748 A1
Patent Holder(s): Anahita Jamshidi
Date of Issue: Apr. 5, 2007
Patent Number: US 7260855
Patent Holder: Gerald E. Aycock
Date of Issue: August 28, 2007
Locally Designed Solutions
First-world solutions are unattainable for the population that we are trying to help. They are
and made of
that are not found easily in Uganda.
Current in-country solutions do not solve the problem of the handicapped individual actually
mobilizing the individual
to get to the pit latrine. Also, these solutions are
, and they
Solutions from other non-profit organization address a few of the issues, but do not offer an entire solution to the problem.
Design a portable handicap latrine aid that enables individuals with disabilities to use the pit-latrine independently and in a safe and sanitary manner.
Made From Locally Available Materials
Our Solution is Two Fold
Serves a Dual Purpose as a Mobility Device
During our in-field research trip to Uganda, we saw these solutions to assist disabled individuals in using the pit latrines:
Other organizations are beginning to recognize the growing issue of sanitation.
The United Nations has declared
Nov. 19 World Toilet Day
to draw attention to the public health problems raised by a lack of sanitation.
The U.N. estimates that 2.5 billion people around the world do not have access to adequate sanitation, and that 760,000 children die each year from inadequate sanitation .
Free Wheelchair Mission is a humanitarian, faith-based, nonprofit organization that provides wheelchairs at no cost to people with disabilities living in developing nations.
Called “Toil-o-Preneurs” this organization aims to created toilets on rickshaws (three-wheel vehicles commonly found in Asian and African countries) and make them mobile! Their second goal is also to empower those who are disproportionately affected by the problem of not having a toilet.
SOIL addresses some of Haiti’s toughest challenges by providing sanitation to people who would otherwise have no access to a toilet and producing an endless supply of rich, organic compost critical for agriculture and reforestation.
Our research shows that most Ugandans do not have their own private bathroom.
A permanent installation would be used by others (which is not socially acceptable).
Permanent installation would not be properly maintained.
Recognizing these realities, the solutions designed in the scope of this project seek to enable those who are handicapped by providing a portable device.
The latrine-aid device solves the physical limitations of handicapped individuals face when using a pit latrine, while also creating a job market for the production of these devices in Uganda.
Average wage in Uganda is approximately
per day .
The solution must be affordable to those earning this sort of wage in order to satisfy the economic constraints.
The solution should be easy to build and maintain.
The economic plan will explain how landmine survivors themselves will be the manufacturers of the device.
Wood: Teak, Mahogany, Rattan
Fasteners: Hinges, screws, nails
Tools: Drill, chisel, hammer, saw, sandpaper, welder
A major part of the problem is that handicapped individuals cannot independently transport themselves to the pit latrine in the first place.
To create a comprehensive solution, the device also must solve the issue of mobility.
Uganda Landmine Survivor's Association (ULSA) uses its network and knowledge of landmine survivors' locations to identify those who would be interested in starting a carpentry business:
We partner with ULSA to provide the landmine survivors who are interested with a livelihood support stipend (1 million UG Shillings or approximately $300 USD) so that they can attend vocational school to learn carpentry and metalworking.
Landmine survivors will complete 6 months of vocational school, and then they will have the necessary skills to open their own carpentry business.
They will also be able to use part of the livelihood stipend provided to produce the first 10 pit latrine assistive devices, called Simple Seats.
This economic model fights the negative stigmas towards handicapped individuals, creating a way in which they can achieve financial
and meaningful work. This model generates
along with functional assistive devices that alleviate physical limitations.
To avoid embarrassment, many of these disabled individuals choose to relieve themselves in situations that increase their vulnerability, such as in the jungle or late at night.
This exposes them to other dangers including snake bites, wild animal attacks and even sexual assaults.
Since they are not able to elevate themselves above the pit latrine floors, the physical limitation becomes a health and sanitation concern for these individuals.
What is missing from the solutions landscape?
A portable, affordable solution that also solves the issue of handicapped individuals actually getting to the pit latrine is missing from the solutions landscape.
A production model that stimulates the local economy and fights the negative stigmas toward the disabled.
People around the world have been attempting to find one...
Dangers and Embarrassment that Victims Face
1987 to Present Day
Margaret asked us for a solution, and we are dedicated to providing one.
Other Non-Profit Solutions
We have one way of creating a sustainable solution, but there could be other systems or areas in which our solution could be improved as the project grows in size and scope...
A Different Distribution System
Different Funding Avenues
Government funding of the project could bring about more change, along with more regulation.
Working with other established non-profits.
Manufacture a latrine aid assistive device in other parts of the world and then ship to people in need.
This might yield the benefits of having a larger variety of materials to build with and cut costs.
Other levers for change
More research could provide improvements in:
Once again, partnering with other established non-profits could also increase our influence and outreach.
A business model that is for-profit could also create large benefits for those in need.
During our 17-day long research trip, we tested our prototypes for social acceptability.
We found that it was undesirable to have a device that looks like a toilet seat, because that encourages a negative social stigma of being unclean.
The feedback that we received will allow us to design a device that is accepted by its users.
I am interested in starting a business and becoming financially independent!
Once the landmine survivors manufacture the seats, ULSA will then buy back the seats at a profit to the survivor so that his/her business can really get started.
ULSA would then distribute the Simple Seats to those in need.
A benefit to this system is that ULSA already has a network across the country of landmine survivors, so it is much easier for the devices to reach a greater number of beneficiaries.
Our Research and Our Progress
Landmines are not meant to kill, they are meant to maim.
Loss of limbs causes embarrassment, pain, and loss of dignity to those who need assistance using pit latrines because of missing limbs and other disabilities.
For the nearly 32 million people of Uganda who reside in rural areas the facilities typically available are pit latrines .
Negative Social Stigmas Against the Disabled
The Ugandan government does not currently have the infrastructure to install handicapped facilities in public bathrooms.
A majority of Uganda, specifically in the rural areas, do not have access to plumbing because of this lack of infrastructure.
For a vast majority of Ugandans, it is not an option to install plumbing or handicapped facilities in their homes because of financial restraints.
From research that we completed in Uganda, we found that most villages share a common bathroom, and on average it is located 100 meters from their home.
This picture is the solution that Margaret's father made for her when she came home from the hospital
This is a permanent structure made from rattan, placed over a pit latrine
We saw this solution at the children's hospital in Mbrara, Uganda
Here is how we plan on creating economic sustainability for this project:
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