Global Poverty Seminar: Projects 2017

Each year in our Global Poverty Seminar, each student is matched with a client who has an established project focusing on alleviating poverty in their community. After matching to their projects, students work closely with their clients to develop their grant proposals.

Please refer to the following for the available projects of 2017 from our various partners, including the UC Davis Humphrey Fellowship Program, IDIN, and the UC Davis Blum Center:

Increasing Efficiency of Charcoal Stoves | Location: Nbabyeya Forestry College, UGANDA

Description: Many charcoal stoves commonly used throughout East Africa are inefficient and produce a lot of carbon monoxide emissions. Improved charcoal stove designs can reduce the amount of charcoal that a family needs to use, saving money and reducing the environmental degradation due to charcoal production. Many of the existing charcoal stoves in Uganda consume a lot of fuel and produce high levels of carbon monoxide (CO) emissions to a level far beyond the recommended human exposure levels. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that is poisonous to humans. The project intends to explore ways to reduce CO emissions and lower CO exposure for stove users while improving fuel efficiency.

Awamu Gasifier StovesLocation: Kampala, UGANDA

Description: Over 90% of the Ugandan population relies on biomass fuels for cooking, and this is mostly with the inefficient 3-stone fire. Improved cook stoves are used in only 10% of over 6 million Ugandan households. This results in massive pressure on the dwindling forest cover, lots of time spent by women and children collecting firewood where women are exposed to risks like accident and rape. Women spent at least five hours each day while preparing meals for their households along with children where they are exposed to Indoor Air Pollution from the 3-stone fire stoves. Indoor Air Pollution causes respiratory illnesses. Approximately 19,700 people die as a result of IAP in Uganda each year of which 17,000 are children under five years. Thus it is important to research the feasibility of developing and implementing more efficient gasifier stoves.

Kepler Tech Lab | Location: Kigali, RWANDA

Description:  How can we use technologies to enhance practical hands-on experiences to better encourage locally produced product and employment opportunities? Kepler Tech Lab is looking for inclusion of digital tools and equipment to address mismatch of practical hands-on experiences, encourage girls to pursue engineering career, and break import and foreign labor dependency. We are not suggesting to eliminate imports, instead to encourage locally produced products so that we cannot rely on imports all the time. Economic development is one of the key factors that promote peace, especially in developing countries. This is often misunderstood to mean that anything that grows the GDP will bring peace to a country. If the economic development is not sustainable in the long term, it may even cause conflict if a crash occurs. One of the main methods to ensure that development is sustainable is to build projects that develop resources locally, instead of simply exporting minerals or oil.

Local Farm and Land Management Location: Bediani, GEORGIA

Description: The Bediani Children’s Center wants to involve an international student who is interested to work with local farmers in the Kvemo Kartli region and study local land management practices. This student will collect and analyze historical information on land management and agricultural practices in Georgia, focusing on the Kvemo Kartli region. A visit in Georgia will be used to assess current practices and trends in local farms and validate desk study findings. Based on the assessment the student will develop a report on threats of land management practices and impact on local economy and provide recommendations for potential interventions to change local land management practices. A specific land management plan will be elaborated for the Bareti land plot together with an Agricultural Research Center expert. The report will be used for planning of new educational courses for local farmers and land management plan will be applied on the Bareti farm to demonstrate benefits of modern land management practices.

Ostrich Egg Shell Jewelry: Women in Small Business Location: Dkar, BOTSWANA

Description: For  generations,  making  jewelry  from ostrich eggshells has been an important  income generation  activity   for  San  women. Making  beads and   jewelry  from ostrich  eggshells is a long and tedious process. In  addition   to  being  labor intensive,  the  process   causes  the worker  hand, leg and especially back  pain. Finally,  many   beads  are  broken throughout the production  steps. Through both process and tool  innovation, we will   reduce  the  burden and increase the efficiency  of  making  ostrich  shell jewelry. Technical support is required for further development of prototype. Additionally, there needs to be a link with mechanical and metallurgical engineers and students to consider the ideas around the design.

Precision Planter: Plant Propagation Location: Dkar, BOTSWANA

Description: The current process for plowing and plant propagation is not sustainable and very labor intensive. Additionally, the current plowing device is no longer subsidized in the Dkar community. Thus a prototype precision planter was created to move agricultural practices to align with the Conservation Farming Movement and address these issues. However, challenges exist for this device including: devising a mechanism to drop off a fixed volume of fertilizer and the further control on this volume based upon the seed to be planted and devising a mechanism to drop a selected quantity and size of seed to be planted. Technical support is required for further development of the prototype. Additionally, there is a need for discussion and sharing ideas with technical people whom could advise around fertilizer and seed dispersal mechanisms.

DONAGO Smokeless Stoves Location: Fomena, GHANA

Exposure to biomass smoke has been identified as one of the highest killers of women and children in developing countries. WHO (World Health Organization) puts the figure at 4.3 million deaths worldwide each year. The smoke comes from inefficient and rudimentary biomass stoves and contains high levels of suspended particulate matter (PM). Torres-Duque et al (2008), identifies smoke pollution as having strong evidence to acute respiratory infections (ARI) in children and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This project seeks to eliminate biomass smoke from the working environment of women and children who depend on firewood to process Gari (Cassava granules).  It also uses firewood efficiently, about 40%. Cassava is tropical root tuber food on which over 800 million people in the tropics depend upon. Cassava may rot if it is not harvested within 12 to 18 months (depending on the variety). Gari is one of the many agro- products of cassava. The process is to roast the cassava dough into crispy granules over a fire in an earthenware or aluminum bowls. Gari can therefore be stored over a very long period, thus eliminating post- harvest loses. The intervention of this project is to make the DSS available to women groups/associations to facilitate their work in Gari production in an environmentally friendly atmosphere.

Cleaning La Caleta | Location: Ciudad del Carmen, MEXICO

La Caleta is a canal that runs through Ciudad del Carmen. This canal presents a high level of pollution coming from the discharge of water and solid waste such as plastics from households and industries. The outlet contains an accumulation of sediments, and the eutrophication of the outlet causes low productivity of aquatic flora and fauna and high concentrations of decomposing organic matter. There have been studies to measure the amount and types of pollutants in La Caleta, also projects to clean the outlet so the water can run along the canal again. Cleaning this canal by reducing the amount of pollutants coming from the households and cleaning the outlet of the canal so the water can run along would improve the quality of life of the habitants of the island, it would help the ecosystem to recover. The mangroves that go a long canal are also nurseries for different aquatic species. Recovering the mangroves will improve the fisheries activities and will bring economic benefit from tourism. Due to economic reasons, low government engagement and poor community involvement the projects have not been successful. That is why this project aims to design an implement a successful strategy to clean the outlet and to get community engagement to motivate the government to take the proper actions to help maintain La Caleta clean.

New Roots Campaign Location: Sacramento, CA

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) provides aid and support to refugees worldwide. They work tirelessly to resettle and provide resources to new immigrants. New Roots is a subprogram of the IRC, focusing on food security, food education and agricultural micro-enterprise. New immigrants to the U.S. can face financial and food insecurity. The clients of New Roots struggle to find and purchase appropriate and nourishing food within their means and are challenged in building stronger connections to their community and finding entrepreneurial opportunities. The proposed project will take place on a 4.5 acre plot in West Sacramento owned by IRC, which will serve as a fertile ground to speak to many problems faced by new immigrant families. The acreage currently is put to personal use for farmers to supplement their own diets, but the long-term plan for the plot is to generate income, provide an opportunity for entrepreneurship, and continue to supplement farmers’ meals. Activities will include conducting market research to foresee the possibility and profitability of an herb garden on the IRC plot; administering a survey to farmers and potential buyers as well as phone interviews to restaurants and farmers market organizers; understanding market and producer interest; and researching potential crops to create the founding set of herb crops that will be environmentally successful.

Continuing Projects Post-Seminar:

Congratulations to our students who applied for and were awarded Blum funding to continue their project efforts this Summer 2017:

  • Stephanie Lew, 3rd year undergraduate: “Precision Planter” in Botswana
  • Austin Dalmasso, 1st year undergraduate: “Awamu Gasifier Stoves” in Uganda
  • Stella Sappington, 1st year undergraduate: “New Roots” for the International Rescue Committee in Sacramento, CA