Who are we?
We're a team of 9 engineering students (4 from the French school Ecole des Ponts and 5 from the Ecuadorian school Universidad SF de Quito) working on a common project of social innovation in Pambamarca. For this project we also worked with volunteers from the ASA Association, an NGO in Quito.
Here you can see our team with the community of Pambamarca :
And in video:
About the community:
Pambamarca is a small community of 600 people in Ecuador, 90 miles from the capital Quito. The village is in the Andes Cordillera, 3 500 m high.
How they do agriculture - our challenge:
As they live from agriculture, we work on re-inventing the agricultural tools and process for farmers through design thinking methodology. They mainly harvest potatoes, barley and quinoa. In their culture, it's very important to respect the nature, so they use few chemicals in their fields.
They have very basic tools and in fact they use only a shovel to do all their tasks in the fields : seeding, harvesting potatoes, remove bad plants, and so on. But this tool is unadapted to these tasks, so it's long and painful...
So the idea is to construct with them a tool that would be adapted to them to diminish the hardness of they work.
About our project:
This projet is supported by the NGO ASA and the Paris-Est d.school.
We called our projet Cayacama. It's a Quechua word that means "See you tomorrow", because we went a first time, but we'll come back to implement our solution with them. We also chose this name because we want our project to last in the future. The association ASA will help us with this issue, continuing to implement it when we'll be gone.
We did a first trip in Pambamarca in February in order to meet the people and to understand their way of living and their needs in terms of agriculture. We first met the members of the community, sharing a lunch with them to present our project and to invite them to be part of it. Then we did interviews with different members of the community, visiting their homes, carrying on activities with the children in the school. We also helped the farmers working in the fields to learn more about how they do their job and understand their needs.
Our first prototypes:
We also worked on our first prototypes that we tested with the community. We focused on the tools, the water management and soil erosion. We constructed basic prototypes to show them to the community, test them and have some feedbacks on them.
Back to Paris:
We continue brainstorming and working on prototypes. Finally we decided to work on a prototype that we called « The Sembrador » (what means the harvester). This is a tool that will enable the Pambamarca people seeding much more easily. Indeed, for now they’re digging the holes for the seed manually, with a shovel, then they put the seed in the hole and recover it. They do it one by one, which is a very long and painful work as they have to bend over for a long time.
Our tool will do 3 steps in 1 : digging the hole, seeding and recovering it. The design is ergonomic and its easy to transport so they can do their work more conveniently and efficiently.
Here is the video of our prototype:
We need to implement the project with the community, that's why we need your help !
Our calendar :
- May - June : we continue working on the prototype in Paris
- June - July : we implement it with the community in Pambamarca !
- After : the Association ASA keep working on the project to make sure it is established well