Print Your Own House

Fast, affordable, durable, and livable shelters are an essential part of emergency relief and the often protracted transition to stable housing in the years following a disaster. Traditional construction methods are often slow, expensive, inefficient, and dangerous, the combination of which creates roadblocks in community-based building projects, particularly in low-income areas. Now a group of engineers is using emerging 3D …

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Fast Form Shelters: Emergency Housing That Locks Into Place

After the Haiti earthquake, this structure was designed as a fast form of shelter post-disaster. It involves a large roof that can collect rainwater and a system of mirrors to create steam. It’s completely constructed by fiber board and can be made in less than five hours. It requires no nuts or bolts to assemble. It is cheap, and easily …

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Giving Beneficiaries Money, No Strings Attached

A lot of NGOs are predicated on the notion that they know best. They come into the communities they’re trying to help with the best of intentions, but they have very specific ways in which they deliver that help. For those that give money, they might be willing to support the construction of a health clinic if they’re a health-focused …

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The Moser Light: A Cheap, Eco-friendly Solution to Indoor Lighting

Sometimes the simplest innovations can have the widest impact. Although this idea isn’t as new as some of the others we highlight here, no collection of innovative ideas would be complete without mentioning Alfredo Moser’s brilliant solution to indoor lighting. Using only a clear plastic bottle, water, and a tiny bit of bleach, Moser’s invention refracts sunlight through holes in …

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A Clean Water Enterprise in Rural India

A lack of infrastructure in rural communities means that villages and towns are often left without clean drinking water. For low-income households this means drinking water that will potentially make them ill, leading to medical bills or a loss of income. Sarvajal is tackling this issue head-on in rural communities in India. They began by offering clean water through locally-owned …

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A Project that Fights Disease and Improves Livelihoods

Project Crevette is taking a unique approach to combat the high prevalence of schistosomiasis along the Senegal River. Schistosomiasis is a water parasite that burrows into human skin and causes infections in several organs and eventual organ failure. The parasites require snails to serve as intermediary hosts as they mature. This is where Project Crevette is directing their intervention. They are creating prawn hatcheries in select …

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Professionalizing and Marketing Day Labours’ Services

Day labourers, or “Men on the Side of the Road”, are being offered the opportunity to professionalize their skills through Fundi, an NGO operating in Cape Town, South Africa. Fundi offers a variety of services to day labourers, most importantly a resume and reference system. They independently asses the quality of work and personality of enrolled day labourers. These profiles …

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Locally-Sourced Solar Light

An estimated 90% of the population of Mali has no access to electricity and is thus hostage to daylight to be productive. Italian architect Matteo Ferroni identified that this problem has a dramatic impact on the lives of villagers, particularly women, as it limits their ability to carryout their responsibilities. Through years of work he has developed a solar lamp …

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