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Successful Fuel-Efficient Cookers Show the Way

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

A Kenyan entrepreneur has cooked up a fuel-efficient stove and oven that uses less of a precious national resource: wood from trees.

Most African households using fuel-burning stoves either cannot afford clean-burning fuels like natural gas or electric stoves, or do not have access to them. They are stuck having to burn wood or other materials like animal dung – collectively called biomass – on open fires.

As well as using up wood and contributing to deforestation, there is another downside to these stoves. The use of polluting fuel-burning stoves by half the world’s population – including 80 percent of rural households – is a documented contributor to a host of health problems. Poor households not only have to contend with the ill health effects of dirty water and poor sanitation, the fumes from burning dung, wood, coal or crop leftovers lead to the global deaths of more than 1.6 million people a year from breathing toxic indoor air (WHO).

Two solutions in Kenya are helping people to cook more efficiently (meaning less time wasted on gathering material to burn, and less fuel used) and reducing cooking time by using heat more effectively.

Invented by Dr Maxwell Kinyanjui, the Kinyanjui Jiko is a fuel-efficient charcoal oven that comes in small, medium and large industrial sizes. Made entirely in Kenya, the ovens are custom designed for a variety of environments, from domestic household use and on-the-go safari models to high-capacity models for micro-enterprises and large institutions. Cooks can use the ovens to bake, toast, steam or boil. And they are 40 percent cheaper than cooking with electricity and between 15 and 20 percent cheaper than gas.

Kinyanjui’s Musaki Enterprises Ltd. (www.reskqu.blogspot.com/2009/01/arboretum-project.html) has developed a reputation for pioneering work in developing fuel-efficient stoves and ovens. Its most popular success to date has been the Kenya Ceramic Jiko (jiko is Swahili for cooker), or KCJ, a cheap, simple and effective stove. The company was set up in 1992, but has been involved in international aid-funded research and development efforts since the 1980s.

“My dad was on a very good team of highly motivated individuals in the early 80s who developed the stove through pragmatism, logic and good old-fashioned ingenuity,” said his son, Teddy Kinyanjui. “He then set up the independent Musaki Enterprises.”

The KCJ uses a ceramic liner placed inside a metal container. The metal is usually recycled, often taken from 55 gallon steel drums. The ceramic liner stops the heat energy from simply escaping into the environment and helps to focus the heat on cooking. Simply adding the ceramic liner reduces the stove’s fuel consumption by between 25 and 40 percent. The charcoal or wood sits in the ceramic basin and the burnt ash falls through holes in the bottom of the liner.

The stove design was a result of international and Kenyan cooperation, and has become popular in many African countries, including Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, Senegal and Sudan. It is used in 50 percent of urban homes in Kenya and 16 percent of rural homes.

Musaki Enterprises say the KCJ stoves on average save between 1 and 1.5 tons of CO2 per stove per year compared to other models. In supermarkets, the KCJs retail for around US $5 and the Kinyanjui Jiko ovens start at around US $100.

The deployment of the KCJ stoves has helped in slowing the deforestation of the country, but has not been able to bring it to a halt because of population growth and poor re-forestation efforts, says Teddy Kinyanjui.

“The lack of forward planning in tree planting is making firewood and charcoal harder and harder to obtain,” he said. “Fossil fuels are unavailable or unaffordable. Tree planting must begin now on a huge scale for people to continue cooking.”

Teddy won’t reveal how profitable the KCJ stoves have been, but says, “I wouldn’t have gone to school if they didn’t sell well.”

“Well, more and more people keep buying the damn things as fast as we can make them, so I think our customers like them,” he said. “They really all seem to like that the stoves cook really well for really cheap and are very high quality.”

Published: June 2009

Resources

Development Challenges, South-South Solutions was launched as an e-newsletter in 2006 by UNDP’s South-South Cooperation Unit (now the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation) based in New York, USA. It led on profiling the rise of the global South as an economic powerhouse and was one of the first regular publications to champion the global South’s innovators, entrepreneurs, and pioneers. It tracked the key trends that are now so profoundly reshaping how development is seen and done. This includes the rapid take-up of mobile phones and information technology in the global South (as profiled in the first issue of magazine Southern Innovator), the move to becoming a majority urban world, a growing global innovator culture, and the plethora of solutions being developed in the global South to tackle its problems and improve living conditions and boost human development. The success of the e-newsletter led to the launch of the magazine Southern Innovator. 

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5311-1052.

© David South Consulting 2022

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Tiny Homes to Meet Global Housing Crisis

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

More than 1 billion people around the world lack decent shelter. Of these, the majority live in urban areas, usually in slums and informal settlements (UN-HABITAT).

The world’s megacities – like Mumbai, India, where more than 22 million live in the metropolitan region – have to find a way to provide housing that is both affordable and does the minimum possible amount of harm to the environment.

About one-third of the world’s urban dwellers live in slums, and the United Nations estimates that the number of people living in such conditions will double by 2030 as a result of rapid urbanization in developing countries.

The fast pace of growth of India’s cities presents an enormous challenge: how to house so many people with dignity and to a good standard. India’s city slums are notorious and recently became the subject of the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire (http://www.slumdogmillionairemovie.co.uk/).

With a population of 1.2 billion, India needs to find 25 million homes a year to meet current demand, according to McKinsey and Co.

Housing prices have risen by 16 percent a year for the past four years. While the middle class – estimated at over 300 million people – has piled into high-end apartments and houses, it has been the country’s low-income people who have been frozen out of the option of quality homes.

The concept of targeting those at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ (BOP) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fortune_at_the_Bottom_of_the_Pyramid) has drawn attention to the estimated 23 million poor urban dwellers in India, and 180 million rural families, who have savings and want to own a home. Monitor India (http://www.monitor.com/in/) believes these people have annual earnings between US $1,400 and US $3,000.

The Indian manufacturing powerhouse Tata – which this year launched a BOP-focused car, the Tata Nano – has designed and is building, Nano Homes – small apartments outside Mumbai for US $8,600 (http://tatahousing.in/pages/home.php). It also hopes to expand to other major Indian cities as well.

The Nano homes are built on a modest scale: there are three sizes with the smallest measuring 67 square metres. They consist of a single room that doubles as a bedroom by night with a sink, bath and toilet behind a partition.

Criticisms include location – on the edges of major cities – where residents would have to commute long distances to get to their jobs.

Even so, Nano apartments are so popular buyers are being chosen by lottery.

“India’s housing crisis lies in the fact that the poor in the cities are priced out of the market,” Sundar Burra, an adviser to the Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centre, a Mumbai-based housing rights organization, told Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper.

“State supply of housing for the poor is woefully inadequate in relation to the need. Slums proliferate as a solution to this state of affairs.”

People can get a mortgage for the homes from Tata Home Finance.

Tata is not the only company targeting this market. India’s Matheran Realty (http://www.tmcity.in/) is building what it claim is India’s largest affordable housing project, Tanaji Malusare City, in the villages of Shirse and Akurle of Karjat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karjat). The 15,000 homes would house 70,000 people and would sell for US $4,698.

Another developer, Godrej Properties (http://www.godrejproperties.com/), is building a BOP housing development outside the city of Ahmedabad with apartments costing US $11,749.

“(Property) developers have recognized that the real demand no longer lies in the premium segment and are opting to build smaller, no-frills apartments,” said Deepak Parekh of the Housing Development Finance Corporation (http://www.hdfcindia.com/).

It estimates the affordable housing market will be worth US$ 110 billion in India by 2013 and will account for 80 percent of India’s housing market.

“Affordable housing is not about box-sized, budget homes in far-flung places where there is no connectivity to workplaces and little surrounding infrastructure,” Parekh told HDFC’s shareholders. “Affordable housing has to be able to cut across all income segments and has to make economic sense in terms of proximity to the workplace.”

Published: November 2009

Resources

1) Building and Social Housing Foundation: BSHF is an independent organisation that works both in the UK and internationally to identify innovative housing solutions and to foster the exchange of information and good practice. Website: http://www.bshf.org/home.cfm

2) Tiny House Design Blog: The blog is full of ideas and plans for making small homes cheaply. Website: http://www.tinyhousedesign.com/

3) A blog detailing the Tata dwellings in diagrams and photographs. Website: http://www.tslr.net/2009/06/tatas-nano-homes.html

Development Challenges, South-South Solutions was launched as an e-newsletter in 2006 by UNDP’s South-South Cooperation Unit (now the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation) based in New York, USA. It led on profiling the rise of the global South as an economic powerhouse and was one of the first regular publications to champion the global South’s innovators, entrepreneurs, and pioneers. It tracked the key trends that are now so profoundly reshaping how development is seen and done. This includes the rapid take-up of mobile phones and information technology in the global South (as profiled in the first issue of magazine Southern Innovator), the move to becoming a majority urban world, a growing global innovator culture, and the plethora of solutions being developed in the global South to tackle its problems and improve living conditions and boost human development. The success of the e-newsletter led to the launch of the magazine Southern Innovator. 

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This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5311-1052.

© David South Consulting 2022

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Free Magazine Boosts Income for Rickshaw Drivers

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

In the bustling, congested cities of Asia, rickshaws and auto-rickshaws are common forms of transport. Smaller, cheaper and more nimble than cars, they play a key role in the transit infrastructure, helping to get people to work and to get around.

According to a report by the World Resources Institute (wri.org) and EMBARQ – a global network of experts on sustainable transport solutions – India’s auto rickshaws are “an increasingly important part of urban transport in cities.”

The report estimates the number of auto rickshaws at between 15,000 and 30,000 in medium-sized cities and over 50,000 in large cities. The report found they make up between 10 and 20 per cent of daily motorized road transport trips for people in Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune and Rajkot.

And it’s not just the economic role played in transporting people: auto rickshaws are made in India and their production there doubled between 2003 and 2010, making them a source of manufacturing jobs too.

As India’s cities continue to grow – estimates forecast urban populations surging from 340 million in 2008 to 590 million by 2030 – auto rickshaws could have a bright future as they remain an affordable and safe transport solution.

The monthly magazine Meter Down (http://meterdown.co.in/) – launched in 2010 – is targeting the large captive audience of Mumbai’s rickshaw passengers with news and advertising. It is modelled on the familiar free newspapers found in cities around the world. Usually, these newspapers are distributed at subway and metro stations or in metal boxes at bus stops. Meter Down takes a different twist on this concept, distributing the publication directly to rickshaw passengers.

Mumbai is a crowded and very busy Indian city with an estimated 14 million people. Many residents spend a lot of time commuting – and a lot of time stuck in traffic jams. They need something to occupy them and to keep them informed about the news. This also presents a significant opportunity for businesses to communicate messages and advertising products and services.

Founded by three university graduates, Meter Down is trying to reach young professionals with a bit of money who can afford to ride to work in auto rickshaws.

It is distributed through 7,000 auto rickshaws in Mumbai, according to The Guardian newspaper, and is also being distributed in Pune and Ahmedabad.

The clever bit is the incentive for the drivers to carry the magazine: they receive 35 to 40 per cent of the profit from advertising sales.

This is added to the 400 to 500 rupees they make in a normal shift, according to the Mumbai Autorickshawmen’s Union.

But isn’t it a challenge to read a printed publication while bouncing along the road? The publishers came up with a solution: no story is to be longer than 300 words and the magazine has many large-size photographs to make it visually appealing and easy on the eye. Then there is the issue of passengers leaving with a copy of the magazine, denying the next passenger their read. The solution they came up for this is to tie the magazine to the rickshaw.

One of the biggest problems for any new start-up publication is how to scale up and reach more readers. Meter Down cleverly has the mechanism to scale built into its business model: “The market for this is as big as the total number of auto-rickshaws in each city,” Dedhia told The Guardian. “We have successfully scaled the model and tweak it as per different specific needs. Since auto-rickshaws are present in every part of the country, we can expand the network everywhere.”

Meter Down’s founders estimate that each rickshaw makes 90 to 95 trips every day. They have calculated this leads to a potential readership of 600,000 people. To increase revenue sources, the magazine also sells advertising space on the back and inside of the rickshaws.

For people in wealthier countries, rickshaws may seem like a rough way to get to work, but they are actually, for Indians, the more expensive option. A three-mile ride in Mumbai costs 68 rupees (US $1.27), according to The Guardian, which is 10 times the cost of a second-class train ticket.

For Meter Down, this means targeting the magazine and the ads at a market of readers with money and a willingness to buy products and services. It looks like things could be on the up for Meter Down!

Published: September 2012

Resources

1) Sustainable Urban Transport in India: Role of the Auto-Rickshaw Sector.
Website: http://www.embarq.org/en/sustainable-urban-transport-india-role-auto-rickshaw-sector 

2) A fleet of auto rickshaws for sale from Bajaj. Website: http://www.bajajauto.com/commercial_vehicle.asp

Development Challenges, South-South Solutions was launched as an e-newsletter in 2006 by UNDP’s South-South Cooperation Unit (now the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation) based in New York, USA. It led on profiling the rise of the global South as an economic powerhouse and was one of the first regular publications to champion the global South’s innovators, entrepreneurs, and pioneers. It tracked the key trends that are now so profoundly reshaping how development is seen and done. This includes the rapid take-up of mobile phones and information technology in the global South (as profiled in the first issue of magazine Southern Innovator), the move to becoming a majority urban world, a growing global innovator culture, and the plethora of solutions being developed in the global South to tackle its problems and improve living conditions and boost human development. The success of the e-newsletter led to the launch of the magazine Southern Innovator. 

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5311-1052.

© David South Consulting 2022

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Rickshaw Drivers Prosper with New Services

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

The rickshaw is the world’s oldest form of wheeled transportation and forms a significant part of India’s transport infrastructure. In large cities across Asia, 1 million three-wheeled auto-rickshaws form an important means of daily transportation and a vital source of income for their drivers. There are 8 million cycle rickshaws on the streets of India, the government says. They perform many tasks: as taxis, as couriers, as goods movers. And the Indian government promotes cycle rickshaws as a non-polluting alternative.

But rickshaw drivers in India struggle with a bad image despite being a critical component of the transport infrastructure. They work 12 to 18 hour days, are paid poorly, and are subject to frequent abuse from passengers and other drivers in the crowded and stressful streets.

Many of the men working as rickshaw drivers have left behind families in villages. Because their main home is elsewhere, many just eat, sleep and live next to the roadside.

An innovative company is taking this important service into the 21st century, and in turn boosting income and benefits for the drivers and restoring their dignity. Based in Delhi, Sammaan (www.sammaan.org), meaning dignity, has developed a sophisticated business model that offers a wide range of services to rickshaw passengers – drinks for sale, mobile phone chargers, courier collections, music, magazines/newspapers, first aid and outdoor advertising and marketing – along with professional treatment of the drivers, providing them with a uniform, identity card, bank accounts, profit sharing and insurance. The drivers pay a small maintenance fee of 10 rupees a day (US 20 cents) for renting the rickshaws. It is common in the rickshaw industry in India for drivers to rent their vehicles on a daily basis – 95 percent do so.

Drivers get the full fare from a ride, while they share the profits from the sales of goods with Sammaan (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=yUuP16fyTjM).

Sammaan’s founder, 27-year-old Irfan Alam, from the Indian state of Bihar, had the inspiration for his business idea when he was thirsty and riding in a rickshaw. He knew the rickshaw driver made very little money after he paid his rent for the rickshaw. And so he thought about how drivers could increase their income. Why couldn’t they sell drinks, or newspapers or mobile phone cards, he thought?

As well, since they travel more than 6 miles a day on average, why not deliver things and host advertisements on the rickshaws?

Sammaan’s idea is to fully modernize the rickshaw business: an important goal considering it makes up 30 percent of urban transport in India. By turning rickshaws into mobile advertising and marketing vehicles, income is substantially increased, while offering services builds loyalty from passengers.

In order to improve the quality of life for drivers, Sammaan also offers free evening classes for the drivers and their children.

Sammaan’s rickshaws are custom designed to allow for ample space to display the paid-for advertisements. This has proved a highly competitive way to do outdoor advertisements: it is 90 percent cheaper than advertising billboards and other campaigns. The fact the rickshaws go everywhere – from urban back streets to rural areas – makes it an effective way to reach all corners of India.

The rickshaws for the passengers are no more expensive than rickshaws with no services. And passengers are even covered by insurance if there is an accident.

Sammaan currently has hundreds of rickshaws running in Noida, Ghaziabad , Patna , Agra , Meerut , Gurgaon and Chandigarh .

The company also is planning to offer phone services in the rickshaws and the ability to pay utility bills while riding inside.

“We are also in advanced talks with Zandu Pharmaceuticals, Coca Cola and Dabur, and are hopeful of getting advertising contracts from them,” Alam told The Economist magazine. Sammaan expects to make Rs 10,000 to 15,000 (US $204 to US $307) a year from a single rickshaw.
Alam is part of a new breed in India: he is not from an established business family, but is nonetheless well educated. Many educated Indians are turning to entrepreneurship instead of becoming a corporate drone in a big company. This is being called a revolution in middle-class aspirations.

India has long-standing entrepreneurial traditions: merchant community the Marwari baniyas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marwaris) are famed for their business acumen. But the new entrepreneurs have different aspirations and inspirations. They look to technology pioneers like Infosys (http://www.infosys.com/) and hire people based on merit and professionalism, not family connections.

The hot areas for this new breed of entrepreneur are technology, entertainment, human resources and education.

Alam’s rickshaws are made out of fiberglass for tourist towns with paved roads, and a rugged version out of iron for places with poor road conditions.

Another initiative to modernize the rickshaw business has come from India’s Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) (http://www.csir.res.in/), which has developed a state-of-the-art, solar powered version of the humble cycle-rickshaw.

The “soleckshaw” is a motorized cycle rickshaw that can be pedalled normally or run on a 36-volt solar battery.

The makeover includes FM radios and power points for charging mobile phones during rides.

The “soleckshaw,” which has a top speed of 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) per hour, has a sturdier frame and foam seats for up to three people.

The fully-charged solar battery will power the rickshaw for 50 to 70 kilometres (30 to 42 miles). Used batteries can be deposited at a centralized solar-powered charging station and replaced for a nominal fee.

Published: January 2009

Resources

  • India’s National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) promotes the spirit of enterprise on the country’s campuses and has a contest to pick the top 30 Indian hot start-ups. Website: http://www.nenonline.org/
  • Indian venture capital firm Helion Ventures invests in start-ups. Website: www.helionvc.com
  • TATA NEN Hottest Startups — India’s first ever people’s choice awards. Hottest Startups will identify, showcase and support the highest-potential young companies in India. Websitehttp://www.hotteststartups.in/http://www.hotteststartups.in/shortlistedStartupsHome.do?        method=fetch&businessFn=shortlistedStartupsHome
  • Tukshop is a website selling auto rickshaws and tuk-tuks. Website: http://www.tukshop.biz/
  • A wide range of auto rickshaws for sale. Website:http://www.auto-rickshaw.com/
  • The Hybrid Tuk Tuk Battle is a competition to come up with less polluting auto rickshaws, clean up the air in Asian cities, and improve the economic conditions for auto rickshaw drivers. Website:http://hybridtuktuk.com/

As cited in A Sociological Approach to Health Determinants by Toni Schofield (2015).

Development Challenges, South-South Solutions was launched as an e-newsletter in 2006 by UNDP’s South-South Cooperation Unit (now the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation) based in New York, USA. It led on profiling the rise of the global South as an economic powerhouse and was one of the first regular publications to champion the global South’s innovators, entrepreneurs, and pioneers. It tracked the key trends that are now so profoundly reshaping how development is seen and done. This includes the rapid take-up of mobile phones and information technology in the global South (as profiled in the first issue of magazine Southern Innovator), the move to becoming a majority urban world, a growing global innovator culture, and the plethora of solutions being developed in the global South to tackle its problems and improve living conditions and boost human development. The success of the e-newsletter led to the launch of the magazine Southern Innovator. 

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5311-1052.

© David South Consulting 2022