Hi everyone, Kaylla here. Today consisted of some major office work, like completing several pages that will soon be added to the website (a Dolatpura page, one about our partners, and a designs page). We still made our way to Dolatpura today to check out our stove since we covered it in the dung mixture yesterday. Unfortunately, a deep crack had formed on the bridge section of our design; my guess is from the difference between materials. When the mud mixture dries it shrinks, but our metal interior pieces do not, causing stress in the earthen exterior. Despite this, the stove still seems extremely stable and sturdy, and we will see if the crack will withstand heavy cookware and dishes such as pots of rice. In addition, no one seemed very concerned about this crack and stated that they would just add another layer of the red dirt/dung mixture.
After studying the crack and discussing its origins, we took measurements of the stove so we can closely replicate it (with improvements) on our next prototype. The measurements will also help us calculate materials cost which is an important factor for the villagers, as well as give us information to CAD models of our designs at home. We finished up our stove examinations and headed back to the factory.
Back at Setco, Rajesh and Viral sat down with us to show us the extensive PRA (Participatory Rural Appraisal) research they have been doing for the last three months in the hamlets of Katol, another village near the Setco factory. They unfolded giant sheets of thick paper with drawings and text symbolizing statistics on socioeconomic percentages, household technology, castes, the type of houses they lived in, their expenses, return, and net gain from agricultural income, and information on activities/income in the three different seasons of India (Summer, Winter, Monsoon). We discovered that their PRA was very similar to the needs assessment trip BLIP did last year in May, but with more systematic methods and time (three months instead of one). The most interesting thing about the PRA was that a lot of the information and all the solutions to problems is done by the villagers themselves, only facilitated by the Setco Foundation. Setco provides resources and technology, but the attitude for improvement and involvement comes directly from the people. Even though the PRA was done on Katol, not Dolatpura (the village where we codesign), the report had some really eye-opening information. This weekend we are planning to visit
This weekend we are planning to visit Zoha’s grandparents in Sidhpur, and next week Monday we will be testing out our stove, seeing how successful it is, and cooking with the villagers to see how our added touches work. This afternoon, we sat down and planned out our whole next week. Overall progress has been good, though I personally get impatient waiting for the stove to dry (I thought watching grass grow was slow). Stay tuned for Monday!