5.1 Askwar Hilonga is a chemical engineer whowas born in Tanzania and has been able to manufacture a product that is able toclean contaminated water using nanotechnology and sand, the product is able to benefitover 70% of the households in Tanzania (BBC, 2015). It was discussed in theintroduction that inventors of frugal products often study in other countriesbefore moving back to their birthplace and start solving local issues, this isexactly what has happened in this case, Askwar studied in South Korea and dueto the illnesses his family had when he was growing up due to water-bornediseases wanted to do something to help the people of Tanzania and was able toproduce the ‘Nanofilter’ that can also be calibrated to eliminate specificcontaminates that appear in different regions (BBC, 2015) A characteristic of frugal innovationthat was mentioned before includes the product being low cost, this is not thecase here with this product due to Nano technology being costly, unfortunatelysand alone is unable to remove dangerous chemicals like fluoride and heavymetals so the use of Nano tech is vital, the current price is $130, howeverthere are hopes that due to the popularity the materials will be able to bebought in bulk and this will vastly reduce the price. To combat the issues ofprice there has been the introduction of water stations that offer water at avery affordable price. Sustainabilityas a whole isn’t just a focus on the environment but also in other areas suchas social sustainability and in this case study alone there has been a creationof jobs in excess of 150, this means that local people are earning money whilehelping to produce a product which also benefits locals, internships have alsobeen granted for future entrepreneurs.
A perfect endorsement of what wasdiscussed previously was discussed by Askwar Hilonga (2014) who believes thatemployment and wealth will be created if young Africans don’t travel abroad forjobs but instead should make a difference to their local communities, in termsof the environmental stand point of sustainability initially due to the technologyused to produce the filter, the assumption that the product wouldn’t be environmentallyfriendly was made, however due to the high costs of production the filters arereusable and promotes the practice of sustainable water management (Qu et al.,2012). 5.2 Malady is a company that was founded 1986 in South Africa byHennie Botes, this case study is a perfect example of a company operating inAfrica that is not only frugal but also extremely sustainable. The companycreates housing for low-income families using eco-friendly locally sourced materials,each of the moulds is able to be used up to 50 times meaning that not onlycosts but resources are able to be saved. The construction of the houses isalso very simple and the skills to do so can be passed on to locals quicklythis in turn benefits the community and produces skilled entrepreneurs for thearea at the same time. As mentioned previously frugal tends to have qualities such ascheap, easy to use and/or repair and are often made using recycled or localmaterials (Douglas, 2013; Rao, 2013), in the case of Moladi the construction ofthe houses moves away from the original brick builds and has created a cheaperalternative by removing the old inefficiencies.
This case perfectly illustratesan example of frugal innovation and is also sustainable due to the reduced carbon footprint due to the reusable mouldsand also the construction of the house can be less than 24 hours. The people ofAfrica suffer 6 key challenges when trying to implement a low-cost housing project(Botes, 2018). – lack of sufficient funds- shortage of skilled labour- lack of resources- work flow control – time constraints – wastage. Moladi is able to succeedwhere other projects have failed due to solving each of these issues and also beingsustainable.
The main difference of this from the previously discussed case isthe intent to expand internationally and in some cases will have to use reverseinnovation to change the product slightly to be successful in countries such asMexico and Nepal. 5.3 The next case study picked to discuss is the Upesi Project,this case is slightly different as it is a scheme rather than acompany, the Upesi Project is supported by the Intermediate TechnologyDevelopment Group (ITDG) this group was established in 1995 with the solepurpose of introducing more efficient cooking stoves to areas of Kenya. Sincethen over 16,000 stoves have been installed and living and working conditionshave been significantly increased. This has been achieved by using both recycledand local materials to produce stove liners that only require a small layer ofclay to aid insulation (Opole,1988) this technique is frugal due to improvingfrom the old solution comprising of metal drums that were expensive and notrecyclable to a biomass-fired stove. In Kenya, wood shortage is a big problem andany innovation that reduces this is a benefit not only to society but also theenvironment as less trees will be destroyed to be used for fuel, researchstates that the project has been directly responsible for fuel savings of over90 KG per month in each household using this stove.
The increase in demand forclay due to the production of the stoves has had a negative effect on the soilsand wetlands in Kenya, this shows the problems that occur when trying tobalance frugal innovations with trying to be environmentally and sociallysustainable. To counteract this problem the conservation oftrees has been encouraging and the replenishment of trees has been introducedwith over 5000 seeds being planted, training has been offered to the locals inthe best way to conserve the soil, however a popular opinion moving forward isthat regular land surveys are carried out to ensure the environment isn’timpacted too much during the production of the Upset (Gustafson, D,.2001).