A team of humanitarian designers and engineers from Georgia Tech have designed SafiChoo, an inexpensive, mobile sanitation solution intended to reduce oral-fecal contamination and the spread of diseases. Yesterday we told you about the three talented Georgia Tech girls leading the charge and the waves they have been making in local competitions. Check it out and then read on to find out about their funding, prices, value proposition, inspiration, and tools.
Funded or bootstrapped:
Our only source of funding at this time has come from our winnings at the Georgia Tech competitions. In fall 2014 we will begin pursuing other sources of funding as we seek to redesign our toilet based on feedback that we receive from our pilot this summer where we are currently implementing 12 toilets in Naivasha and the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya.
Price of Services(S):
Currently, the SafiChoo toilet is intended to be mostly manufactured on site in Kenya or in other developing countries. However, the cost of manufacturing the components off site and then assembling them on site costs approximately $40 at this point. We are hoping to lower the cost through improved designs and increased investments.
What Customers Get:
Our customers are NGOs, specifically the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR). These organizations and hopefully more in the future will have the opportunity to provide a hygienic sanitation solution to the communities that they serve. It will help improve public health and safety issues that take place as a result of poor sanitation solutions in these developing regions.
How’d You Get The Idea For It:
In 2011, Jasmine was inspired by Georgia Tech alumna, Susan Davis, to “do something” about the global sanitation crisis at the Georgia Tech Women’s Leadership Conference. She was informed that women and girls are disproportionately burdened as a result of WASH inequities; many times they are stifled from pursuing higher education and advanced careers as a direct result of poor WASH infrastructure. Since then, Jasmine has a done significant gender and public health studies as it relates to toilets while also enrolling in health related design courses. When Jasmine had the opportunity to design a toilet for her 2013 senior design studio class, she recruited Erin, Becky and Brandie who are also passionate about pursuing humanitarian careers. As a team of women from a technological university, we have been extremely passionate about rectifying this social injustice through our toilet design.
Collaboration Tools & Processes Do You Use:
Collaboration was a huge part of our team success since we all come from diverse fields of study. Becky is the biomedical engineer on the team who had experience in research methods as it relates to the human body that none of us had ever experienced. Brandie is our civil engineer who understands more comprehensively about how systems work and helped us calculate and test our ideas for new toilet infrastructure. Jasmine and Erin are both Industrial designers; however, Jasmine was the 2D design lead and team leader while Erin focused primarily on 3D rapid prototyping. All of our skills worked well together which has made us a successful team. We learn from one another and divide tasks based on skill set in order to improve our processes and efficiency.
Check back tomorrow for part 3 to learn about how Safichoo stays on top of emerging trends, about their team culture and what they need most right now.
[Photo Credit: Safichoo]