Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 1

Make Yourself Ready
The Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid
Technische Universiteit Delft - Industrieel Ontwerpen
João Landeiro Negrão Silva Rocha
Delft, 2010
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 2
João Landeiro Negrão Silva Rocha
Integrated Product Design MSc Programme
00351 911 948 596
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 3
13 Introduction
15 1. A Primer
19 2. Introduction
20 3. For who is this Project?
21 4. What is the result of this project?
22 5. Approach
5.1 Research 23
5.2 Product 24
5.3 Implementation 25
26 6. Reading this report
29 Context
30 1. Introduction
30 2. Need for Solutions
30 3. Challenges at the Base of the Pyramid
30 4. Adequacy of Disaster Preparedness solutions
A - Disasters
33 1. Defnitions
34 2. Research Boundaries
35 3. Origin of Natural Disasters
36 4. Considered Types of Natural Disasters
37 5. Disaster Occurrence
38 6. Disaster Consequences
6.1 Infrastructure
Consequences 39
6.2 Social
Consequences 40
6.3 Economic
Consequences 41
42 7. Conclusions
B - Base of the Pyramid
47 1. Introduction
48 2. Who is the Base of the Pyramid
51 3. BoP Disaster Preparedness
52 4. When Disaster Strikes
53 5. Disaster Risk Reduction
54 6. Conclusions
Table of
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 4
C - Disaster Preparedness
59 1. Disaster Management
60 2. Cycles in Disaster Management
2.1 Mitigation 61
2.2 Preparedness 62
2.3 Response 63
2.4 Recovery 64
65 3. Preparedness as Project Focus
66 4. Typical Preparedness requirements
4.1 Equipping 67
4.2 Planning 67
4.3 Staying Informed 67
68 5. Disaster Preparedness and the Base of the Pyramid
70 6. Conclusions
73 Techniques
74 1.Introduction
74 2. Four Basic Areas
D - Shelter
77 1. Importance of Shelter
78 2. Approach
79 3. Expected Conditions
3.1 Urban Setting 79
3.2 Social
Rearrangement 80
81 4. Requirements
82 5. Coping Stragegies
83 6. Shelter Elements
84 7. Cover
86 8. Unions
87 9. Operating Costs
88 10. Conclusions
E - Water
93 1. Importance of Water
94 2. Approach
95 3. Expected Conditions
3.1 Urban Setting 95
3.2 Water Supply
Condition 95
97 4. Requirements
98 5. Water Treatment Principles
100 6. Selected Water Treatment Techniques
101 7. Boiling
102 8. Chemical Desinfection
8.2 Chlorine
Treatment (Bleach) 103
8.2 Tincture of
Iodine (Iodine) 104
105 9. Solar Disinfection (SODIS)
106 10. Water Storage
107 11. Sanitation and Hygiene
108 12. Conclusions
F - Cooking
113 1. Importance of Cooking
114 2. Approach
115 3. Expected Conditions
3.1 little available 115
food for consumption
3.3 poor cooking 115
116 4. Requirements
117 5. Coping Strategies
118 6. Rocket Stove
120 7. Conclusions
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 5
G - Communications
126 1. Importance of Communications
127 2. Radios as means to communicate
128 3. Approach
129 4. Type of Radio
130 5. Suggested Instituitions
5.1 Lifeline Energy 130
5.2 Send a Radio 130
5.3 Ears to our World 130
5.4 Farm Radio
International 130
131 6. Conclusions
135 Education Package
1. Introduction 136
H - Education Approach
139 1.Introduction
140 2. Educational Approach
2.1 Teaching Product
Making Techniques 141
2.2 Teaching
Techniques 142
143 3. Teaching Disaster Preparedness
3.1 Organize 143
3.2 Research 144
3.3 Plan 144
3.4 Make 144
3.5 Educate 145
4. Tools for the Educator 146
4.1 Cultural
Questionnaire 146
4.2 Education
Questionnaire 146
147 5. Supporting Theories
5.1 Cultural
Dimensions 147
5.1.1 Collectivism 147
5.1.2 Power Distance 148
5.1.3 Future Orientation 148
5.1.4 Gender Egalitarienism 148
5.1.5 Humane Orientation 148
5.1.6 Assertiveness 149
5.1.7 Uncertainty Avoidance 149
5.1.8 Performance
Orientation 149
150 5.2 A Model for Learning
5.2.1 Students Characteristics 151
5.2.2 Education Characteristics 151
5.2.3 Education Context
Characteristics 151
5.3. Experiential
Learning Theory 152
5.4. Kolb's
Learning Styles 153
5.4.1 Assimilating 153
5.4.2 Converging 153
5.4.3 Diverging 153
5.4.4 Accommodating 153
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 6
I - Designed Manuals
159 1. Introduction
160 2. Make Yourself Ready
2.1 Section 1,
introduction 160
2.2 Section 2,
How to make a
cooking stove 161
2.3 Section 3,
How to make shelter 161
2.4 Section 4,
How to treat water 162
2.5 Section 5,
How to get a
radio device 163
164 3. Educator's Guidebook
3.1 Section A,
Introduction 164
3.2 Section B,
Method 165
3.3 Section C,
Disaster Preparedness 166
3.4 Section D,
Education 167
3.5 Section E,
Your Community 167
169 4. Information Accessibility
4.1 Language 169
4.2 Layout 169
4.3 Visuals 170
44. Questionnarire
Design 171
175 Project Evaluation
177 1. Future Recommendations
1.1 1.1 Further Testing
of Techniques
and Presentation 177
1.2 Strategies for
Distribution of
knowledge 177
1.3 Open-source
and Crowd-sourced
contributions 177
178 2. Results
178 3. Process
179 4. Refection
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 7
This project was my biggest academic endeavour so far and it clearly
changed me. There are too many people to thank for their support,
insight and or just fun.
Friends I shared a break with; colleagues that kept their interest high;
a client that asked me to see the bigger, more interesting picture and a
supervisory team that was always there.
However, the biggest thank you note of all goes to my parents.
For this gift, for their love and support and for making an effort to keep
up with the wandering wishes of a young designer-to-be.
There are also some people that perhaps even unaware of this, kept me
motivated, inspired or just sane. They deserve a special mention:
Fabrício Astúa, Juan de Borja, Madeleine Borthwick, Henri Eskonen,
André Jerónimo, Tomas Nielsen, Iñigo Olazabal, Dinis Ramos,
Ricardo Schoonewolff, Richard Verdoorn and Matjaz Zaccaria.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 8
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 9
Lard Breebaart, owner of Larddesign, was the Client of this project.
As a designer, he is very interested in mobility solutions for the urban
context. This is the reason we started working together in the frst place,
when the project was focused on technical clothing for rescue workers.
Lard's inquiring attitude and constant curiosity were central to the
current project focus. Lard pushed me to look deeper into what happens
in a Disaster and welcomed what this project has come to be.
As a project client, I would say that he struck a fne balance between
allowing me to explore and pressing me with the diffcult questions that
lead to better work.
Ir. Lard Breebaart
Project Client
Ir. Iemkje Ruiter
Chair Professor
Ir. Henk Kuipers
Project Mentor
Professor Iemkje Ruiter, from the Applied Ergonomics and Design sec-
tion of the Department of Industrial Design, was the Chair Professor of
this project. I initially asked her to be my chair professor because I was
expecting a big focus on traditional ergonomics and anthropometry. The
project changed in the meanwhile, but Professor Iemkje Ruiter was very
welcoming of the new directions it was taking.
Never limiting me on what I though it was pertinent to work on, Professor
Ruiter displayed a very motivating interest and curiosity in this project.
Although offcially, she was this project's Chair Professor, the degree to
which she followed it showed a much bigger involvement
Professor Henk Kuipers is also from the Applied Ergonomics and Design
section of the Department of Industrial Design.
I had already had Professor Henk Kuipers as a mentor, during the Integral
Design Project, where I liked his pragmatic approach combined with an
eye for the underlying questions of a project.
Professor Henk Kuipers was also very welcoming to the changes I gradu-
ally introduced in the project, showing an encouraging level of confdence
in my work.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 10
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 11
This project was the design of educational material that teaches popula-
tions in the Base of the Pyramid how to make their own Disaster Pre-
paredness supplies.
However, for techniques to be adopted, the mere giving of technical
instruction documents is not enough. It is necessary that there is a more
directed approach, appropriate to the considered community and its
specifc cultural characteristics.
This project has two parts:
The design of a technical instructions manual, teaching the making of
supplies for Disaster Preparedness
The design of an educator's resource to guide non-specialists in
establishing Disaster Preparedness education initiatives in their
This project in 100 words
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 12
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 13
A Primer; Introduction; For who is this Project;
What is the result of this Project; Approach; Reading this report
A wide reaching project requires clear
explanation of objectives and methods.
In this chapter, a complete overview of
Project areas and associated
approaches can be found.
If you have just 10 minutes to read
this report, this is the right section to
spend them.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 14
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 15
1. A Primer
This project started out as something
completely different.
In the beginning, it was about the
design of technical clothing for rescue
teams. But as the research went on,
I found myself drawn to other felds
where I believe Design can participate.
I became aware that Disasters are hap-
pening more frequently, more violently
and more people are becoming victims
of a cycle of poverty and disaster.
Product design seemed unftting to
address these problems and I started
questioning what other ways I had at
my disposal.
This project was born out of the
realization that my contribution as a
Designer of this day and age, is not
limited to products and physical reali-
It evolved until what it is today, an
educational package to teach tech-
niques for the making of products.
These products can be used for Disas-
ter, hopefully making a difference in
people's lives.

João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 16
What happened since I started this project
12 jan 2010 - 11 August 2010
Natural Disasters
(some multple disasters)
15 landslides
or avalanches
16 storms
32 floods
10 earthquakes
DPR Korea: Floods - Aug 2010
DR Congo: Floods - Jul 2010
Pakistan: Floods - Jul 2010
Sudan: Floods - Jul 2010
Typhoon Conson - Jul 2010
India: Floods - Jul 2010
Hurricane Alex - Jun 2010
Brazil: Floods - Jun 2010
Panama: Floods - Jun 2010
West Africa: Floods - Jun 2010
Myanmar: Floods and Landslides - Jun 2010
Bangladesh: Floods and Landslides - Jun 2010
Kyrgyzstan: Mudslides - Jun 2010
Afghanistan: Floods - Jun 2010
Tropical Cyclone Phet - Jun 2010
Ecuador: Tungurahua Volcano - May 2010
Philippines: Floods and Landslides - May 2010
Central America: Tropical Storm Agatha - May
Guatemala: Pacaya Volcano - May 2010
DR Congo: Landslide - May 2010
India: Cyclone Laila - May 2010
Central Europe: Floods - May 2010
Sri Lanka: Floods - May 2010
Azerbaijan: Floods - May 2010
China: Floods - May 2010
Gabon: Severe Local Storm - Apr 2010
Afghanistan: Earthquakes - Apr 2010
China: Earthquakes in Qinghai Province - Apr 2010
Colombia: Floods - Apr 2010
India/Bangladesh: Severe Local Storm - Apr 2010
Tajikistan: Floods - Apr 2010
Indonesia: Floods - Apr 2010
Brazil: Floods and Landslides - Apr 2010
Mexico: Earthquakes - Apr 2010
Peru: Floods and Landslides - Apr 2010
Russian Federation: Floods - Mar 2010
Solomon Islands: Cyclone Ului - Mar 2010
DR Congo: Floods - Mar 2010
East Africa: Floods - Mar 2010
Latin America: Dengue Outbreak - Mar 2010
Fiji: Cyclone Tomas - Mar 2010
Kazakhstan: Floods - Mar 2010
Madagascar: Cyclone Hubert - Mar 2010
Southern Africa: Floods - Mar 2010
Serbia: Floods - Mar 2010
Haiti: Floods and Mudslides - Mar 2010
Chile: Earthquake - Feb 2010
Madeira: Floods and Mudslides - Feb 2010
Caribbean: Drought - Feb 2010
Pakistan: Avalanche - Feb 2010
Cook Islands: Tropical Cyclone Pat - Feb 2010
Ecuador: Floods - Feb 2010
Afghanistan: Floods and Avalanches - Feb 2010
Mexico: Floods and Landslides - Feb 2010
French Polynesia: Cyclone Oli - Feb 2010
Solomon Islands: Floods - Jan 2010
Egypt: Floods - Jan 2010
occupied Palestinian territory: Floods - Jan 2010
Haiti: Earthquakes - Jan 2010
Mongolia: Dzud - Jan 2010
Montenegro: Floods - Jan 2010
Bolivia: Floods - Jan 2010
India/Nepal/Bangladesh: Cold Wave - Jan 2010
Pakistan: Landslides and Floods - Jan 2010
Solomon Islands: Earthquake - Jan 2010
Tajikistan: Earthquake - Jan 201
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 17
this is an
for design
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 18
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 19
2. Introduction
Disasters are increasing in impact.
Hydro-Meteorologic Disasters are in-
creasing in frequency and potency due
to Climate Change. Geophysical Disas-
ters, albeit unaffected by Man, have
resulted in harder hitting catastrophes.
The reasons for this are many and in
some cases, intertwined, but many
of them have very little of "Natural"
to them. Climate Change, exploding
urban populations, poor construction
standards, government corruption and
poverty, all play a part.
An earthquake in a desert will not
result in a Disaster, but assume it
takes place in a modern-day slum city
with an immense population density,
low access to utilities and absent or
incapable government and the very
same physical phenomenon will spell
tragedy. A quick look at recent Natural
Disasters will show that their impact is
much stronger in the situation de-
scribed above (e.g. compare Haiti 2010
and Chile 2010
Furthermore, in Disaster situations,
the poor communities suffer the most.
Besides generally poor quality of
housing, the lack of space leads the
poorest to often threatened land plots
(e.g. in hills, valleys or exposed shore
Poor people are also often uneducated
and incapable of preparing for Disaster
should they recognize the need or the
ily adaptable to specifc realities and
needs. For this adaptation, it provides
assessment tools for the
Traditional Disaster Preparedness solu-
tions tend to include knowledge and
technologies to aid in different areas
of human survival. Typically they in-
clude frst aid, water, shelter, food and
energy/communications. This project is
no different and diverse solutions are
included in it. As the goal is to gather
an easily adoptable Disaster Pre-
paredness solution, not all presented
improvements were developed from
Some improvements advanced by
this project (e.g. water treatment)
are based on the tailoring of existing
knowledge, adapted to the experi-
enced educational level of BoP popula-
tions. Others (e.g. shelter) are present-
ed as new technical capabilities to be
taught to threatened communities.
opportunity. Lastly, poor communities
also tend to be part of marginalized
(e.g. ethnic or religious minorities) and
while already neglected in the Pre-
Disaster context, their situation quickly
degrades after a major disruption
takes place.
It is admitted that the listed aggravat-
ing conditions are complex and not
liable to be effectively addressed in a
Graduation Project, so I set myself for
something different.
As there's very little (an euphemism)
that I can do to prevent the occurrence
of Disaster, I've decided to design for
the Post-Disaster situation. Several
facts are infuential for this:
Most Disasters leave survivors
After a Disaster, basic services are
interrupted and livelihoods have to
Assistance, even if quickly
mobilized, takes time to arrive and
The results of this project are
directed at the Base of the Pyramid
populations in the most Disaster
stricken regions. It places great focus
in simple technologies and knowledge
made available and
accessible to those in need.
While it is at the present, geographi-
cally and culturally uncharacterized,
its proposes solutions that are eas-
A few challenges are in place for this
- Disaster Preparedness has been tra-
ditionally diffcult to implement, even
in affuent regions.
- Differences in social, cultural and
economic models create diffcult con-
ditions for the implementation and
adoption of new or foreign technical
- Diverse solutions types are brought
together. This leads to diffcult
grouping of solution/implementation
- My contact with the BoP reality is
done by proxy, contacting people with
direct experience with it and reading
on the issue. A more direct experi-
ence would be benefcial, but it is, at
the moment, impossible.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 20
3. For who is this Project?
This project is destined to help BoP
populations, thus results are shaped
by the characteristics of this group
(e.g. income, household, education
level, social structure, etc).
At the same time, said populations are
deemed to be unable to directly access
and use the information provided by
this project. Some qualifed interven-
tion is necessary to adapt and teach
the future users of the presented solu-
This intervention need not be external
or foreign, but simply educated and
minimally qualifed to guide a commu-
nity in education efforts. This means
that the educators are the ones that
will have direct access to the solutions
proposed in this assignment. Tailoring
the information to be useful for the
educators becomes extremely impor-
In short:
Technical solutions were chosen based
on their adoption potential by the
threatened communities.
Presented material is edited to be of
best use to the community
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 21
4. What is the result of this
The results of this project are
educational resources for threatened
communities to make their own Disas-
ter Preparedness supplies at little or
no cost.
Techniques were tested and presented
and strategies for the teaching of said
techniques are also included.
Besides the supply of technical guide-
lines, this project aims to support the
education efforts that will transfer said
technical knowledge to the popula-
Project Results
to make
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 22
5. Approach
This assignment tackles the
problem of defcient Disaster
Preparedness in BoP populations from
a technical and systemic point of view.
This called for a plural
approach to the problem.
I recognize three different areas with
defned approaches:
Product Design
Implementation Plan
Approach Outline
Product Implementaton
Disaster Preparedness Supplies
Context & Methods
Instructons and Educaton Material
Educaton Strategies
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 23
5.1 Research
Humanitarian Design and Design for
Emergencies are popular topics. It
is not uncommon for students and
designers to try to tackle such prob-
lems as shelter, water access or food
security. Unfortunately this does not
always lead to actual application in the
feld and long-term adoption.
For this project, I wanted to
overcome such familiar problems. The
used approach refects this consid-
eration and aims at reaching actual
improvement of living conditions for
those who survive Disaster.
On a macro-scale, my research ap-
proach is hinged on the identifcation
of context of application and on imple-
mentation methods. "Context" includes
Disaster and Effects, Threatened
Populations and Disaster Preparedness
practices. "Methods" is related to Com-
munity Education methods that can be
used to empower those who will teach
in the BoP communities.
Disasters defne the physical and ma-
terial environment where this project
is expected to see application.
BoP Populations are the target user
group, with its characterization, needs
and capabilities.
Disaster Preparedness knowledge
illustrates what are the common views
on Disaster Preparedness
The presented approach considers that
in most incomplete design proposals
on the topic fail due to an incomplete
understanding of what are the real
problems to be solved and/or the
social, cultural and economical charac-
teristics of the target group.
Research Approach
Context Methods
& Effects
Base of the
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 24
5.2 Product
More related to the topic of Disas-
ter Preparedness, my plan is one
of simplifcation of requirements.
Existing research identifes
Preparedness requirements as a
factor that can negatively infuence
the adoption of Disaster Prepared-
ness behaviors
This simplifcation is pursued
through two principles:
- Reduction of material
(reducing perceived complexity)
- Reduction of costs
(increasing accessibility)
This is also benefcial for the education
These refect basic human needs of
protection from elements, safe drink-
ing water, food provision and commu-
nications to be on the alert for assis-
tance efforts.
Not all areas are best served by Prod-
uct Design because not all are liable to
be addressed by the BoP populations.
Communications, requiring a radio, are
an example of an area where people
will no be able to produce their own
Preparedness supplies.
Besides the simplifcation of access to
Disaster, I have divided the
general Disaster Preparedness require-
ments in four areas:
Water treatment is another area where
one does not see Product Design per
se, but useful treatment instructions.
The reason for this is the belief that
the knowledge of water treatment is
more useful and fexible than set solu-
tions for the carrying and storing of
First Aid is not included because it is
deemed as too complex to improvise
upon and too expensive to stock up.
Product Approach
Product Design
Shelter Water Cooking Communicatons
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 25
5.3 Implementation
It is by now understood that
educating and empowering communi-
ties as vulnerable as the Base of the
Pyramid can not be achieved by the
typical methods of Product Design.
With this in mind, I followed a three
tiered implementation
approach for this project:
Simplify access to Disaster Prepared-
ness resources
Simple technologies that
BoP populations can put
together and use
Equip Disaster Preparedness educa-
tors for the teaching of threatened
Education material that
institutions can resort to
when educating
Help institutions and individuals in
setting up education initiatives
Guidelines in establishing
education strategies
Implementaton Approach
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 26
6. Reading this report
This report is further divided in three
main sections, corresponding to:
(Disasters; Base of the Pyramid and
Disaster Preparedness)
(Shelter, Water, Cooking and
Education Package
(Education Approach and Designed
The sections are, as much as possible,
self enclosed, which means that one
can choose which area is more inter-
esting to focus on and learn about it.
The idea behind it was to ease future
reference by eventual
students/teachers, interested in using
this project as a structure for Disaster
and BoP projects.
Besides this, the customary Conclu-
sions and Evaluation and Appendixes
are present, towards the end of this
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 27
[1] Slate Magazine, 2010. Article on Chile's Earthquake
- "Shaken, but not broken". [Online] available at:
[Accessed 05/03/2010]
[2] Paton, D. 2003. Disaster preparedness: a social-
cognitive perspective. Disaster Prevention and Man-
agement, 12 (3) pp. 210 - 216
[3] McClure, J. et al. 2009. Framing effects on prepa-
ration intentions: distinguishing actions. Disaster
Prevention and Management, 18 (2) pp: 187-199
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 28
Disasters Page 31
Base of the Pyramid Page 45
Disaster Preparedness Page 57
1. Introduction
To better understand what is the
expected context of application of
any eventual Disaster Prepared-
ness solution, I decided to study its
three main components:
Target Group
In this project, it meant the study
of Disasters, their occurrence and
effects; the study of the Base of the
Pyramid and its characteristics and
the study of Disaster Preparedness
and its functions.
Comprehending these confrmed
the need of Disaster Preparedness
solutions that are easy, accessible
and adaptable.
2. Need for Solutions
Looking at Disaster Data, it be-
comes evident that Disasters are
more common, more destructive
and basically changing.
Not only the hazards are often in
the developing world, their conse-
quences, by virtue of worse infra-
structure in general, are also more
damaging in those regions.
The tendency is for Disasters to
continue on a raise and there is
a need for simple solutions that
people everywhere can adopt.
3. Challenges of the Base of
the Pyramid
The poorest people on the planet
are, admittedly unfairly, the most
common victims of Disaster. This
happens not only because of their
geographical location but also be-
cause of their living conditions.
If Disaster occurrence depends
mostly on Nature, the effects of
Disaster are compounded by popu-
lations that do not know how to
prepare, are often not are of all the
risks they live under and cannot
afford to mitigate their risks or pre-
pare for Disaster.
4. Adequacy of Disaster
Preparedness solutions
Disaster Preparedness, by simply
placing a focus on continuation of
life as normal as possible after a
Disaster, implicitly hinges on the
duplication of everything that one
needs to live in normal circum-
stances. This means extra material
and supplies that are more often
than not, outside the reach of
those who need them the most.
The complexity of Disaster Pre-
paredness as it is usually suggest-
ed does not seem to match realistic
goals. This results discouraging and
means low adoption of Disaster
Preparedness measures.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 31
Defnitions; Research Boundaries; Origin of Natural Disasters;
Disaster Occurrence; Considered Types of Natural Disasters;
Disaster Consequences; Conclusions
When proposing solutions to in-
crease Disaster Preparedness of
populations, it is important to
understand Disasters, their types,
origins and consequences.
In this light, the following
chapter is concerned to character-
izing natural hazards and disasters
and clarifying assumptions.
It is helpful in identify specifc
needs and opportunities for
Product Design
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 32
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 33
The defnition of “Disaster” is
therefore related with the concept
of “impact”, how an event affects
other systems. Depending on a
myriad of factors, the same event
(e.g. an hurricane) can result in a
disaster or not. It all depends on
how much it affects the context
where it takes place.
EMDAT also distinguishes two ge-
neric categories of disasters: Natu-
ral and Technological
Natural Disaster
When a disaster is caused by na-
ture and has no direct human infu-
ence, it is classifed as a Natural
Disaster. Some Natural Disasters,
although not directly controlled by
human interference might be the
result of artifcial interaction with
nature. Global Warming has been
linked to an increase of certain
1. Defnitions
The following defnitions clarify
some common terms throughout
this project.
A source of danger or risk is an
“Hazard”. In itself it has not effect
and should not be mistaken as a
disaster. As an example, an active
Volcano can be an hazard for the
nearby population, but it does not
become a disaster until it directly
affects said population
The Centre for Research on the Epi-
demiology of Disasters (CRED) has
defned “disaster” as:
“(…) situation or event, which over-
whelms local capacity, necessitating
a request to national or interna-
tional level for external assistance
(defnition considered in EM-DAT);
an unforeseen and often sudden
event that causes great damage,
destruction and human suffering”.
For a disaster to be entered into
the database at least one of the
following criteria must be fulflled:
10 or more people reported killed.
100 people reported affected
Declaration of a state of
Call for international assistance
types of Natural Disasters
. This
can mean that some Natural Di-
sasters are more or less indirectly
affected by human action (e.g.
pollution, construction, mineral and
forest exploration, among others).
Technological Disaster
A disaster is classifed as Techno-
logical when it is the direct result
of technological (human) actions.
Armed conficts and disturbances
often create conditions for situa-
tions classifed as disasters. Other
examples are building collapses, in-
dustrial, transportation and nuclear
Source: EMDAT - Internatonal Disaster Database, 2010
Disaster Category/Effect Matrix
Building Collapse
Chemical Spill
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 34
2. Research Boundaries
The abundance of knowledge on
the topic of Disasters prohibits a
complete depiction of the topic.
For this project, the boundaries of
Disaster description are drawn at
"Natural Disasters", "Structurally
destructive Disasters" and the char-
acterization of origin mechanisms,
frequency and geographic distribu-
tion. Disaster effects, although vari-
able with context can be described
in a general way.
Limiting this section to Natural and
Physical Destructive Disasters helps
focusing the efforts to Disaster oc-
currences that can be forecasted
with a certain degree of confdence.
Also, it is more adequate as back-
ground research for a product that
is expected to be used during ma-
jor disruptions, probably provoked
by structurally damaging Disasters.
Excluding War, Natural Disasters are
the most damaging Disasters.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 35
3. Origin of Natural Disasters
Several classifcation systems exist
to organize all the known Natural
Disaster types. One of the most
comprehensive encompasses 5
main Generic Groups that are
further divided up to 12 Disaster
Types and more than 30 Disaster
Sub-Types. This system is the one
used by EM-DAT, the International
Disaster Database of CRED
For this study, a more concise
classifcation system is used, one
that focuses on the most common
events. Also, given the general
nature of this research, a general
overview is considered to be more
useful than a in-depth specialist
The used system is the one used
by the United Nations’ International
Strategy for Disaster Reduction

on its compiled disaster statistics
from 1991 to 2005
. These sta-
tistics are focused on the 1991 to
2005 period, but in fact consider
the whole period of 1900-2005,
providing a much useful overview
of statistical information on Natural
Disasters. 2005 is the latest year in
the compiled information.
According to UN International Strat-
egy for Disaster Reduction, Natural
Disasters can be of three main ori-
gins that contain most of possible
Of these three origins, only the frst
two will inform the design process.
Biological Disasters are not struc-
turally destructive.
Hydro-Meteorological Origin
Disasters of Hydro-Meteorological
origin include disasters created by:
“(...) deviations in the normal wa-
ter cycle and/or overfow of bodies
of water (…)”
as well as disas-
ters “(...) caused by short-lived/
small to mesoscale atmospheric
processes (in the spectrum from
minutes to days)”
. Also included
in this defnition, are Climatologi-
cal disasters, distinguished from
meteorological disasters in the time
scale, that ranges from seasons to
As a rule of thumb, it can be said
that weather related disasters have
an hydro-meteorological origin.
Geophysical Origin
All Disasters that originate from
Earth's internal physical processes
have a geophysical origin. These
processes take place under Earth's
surface and while their conse-
quences are often visible, infuenc-
ing these internal interactions is,
for the most part, outside human
Biological Origin
Disasters have a Biological Ori-
gin when they are caused by the
exposure of living organisms to
germs and toxic substances
This relates mostly with outbreaks
and epidemics of diverse nature
(Virus, Bacteria, Parasite and Prion
infectious diseases). Also, highly
disruptive or destructive interaction
between living organisms can be
a considered a biological disaster.
An insect infestation or destructive
animal stampede can both be Natu-
ral Disasters of biological origin.
Besides direct human contamina-
tion, biological disasters can affect
human populations by reducing or
eliminating food/income sources
such as crops or cattle.
Disasters of Biological Origin are not
considered for this project.
breathing; food; water; sex; sleep;
homeostasis; excreton
of: body; employment; resources
morality; family; health; property
Source: EMDAT - Internatonal Disaster Database, 2010
Disaster Types
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 36
4. Considered Types of Natural
Of the 12 recognized main types of
Natural Disasters, the highlighted 6
are described.
Minor differences in Disaster sub-
type were ignored to create this
indicative account. For full descrip-
tion of all main and sub-types of
Natural Disasters, consulting the
Classifcation section of the EM-
DAT website is recommended. This
description is accessible at:
World Disaster Occurence
Biological Geological Hydro-Meteorological
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 37
5. Disaster Occurrence
Looking at available information on
Disaster Occurrence and effects, it
becomes clear that Hydro-Meteoro-
logical Disasters are the most com-
mon, being more than three fourths
of all reported Disasters.
Biological Disasters are also com-
mon, but create less damages, an
indication that they are not physi-
cally destructive.
A closer look shows that within
Hydro-Meteorological Disasters,
Floods and Storms are the most
common occurrences.
Both Disaster types kill relatively
few people (when compared with
volcanoes, for instance), but affect
vast numbers.
Source: UNISDR 2005, from data on EMDAT 2005
World Disaster Effects
epidemic drought volcano
slide windstorm ood
Killed People
(960 502)
Economic Damages
(1192,95 .2005 US$ billion)
Affected People
(3 470 162 961)
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 38
6. Disaster Consequences
For the scope of this project, Di-
saster consequences are of major
importance. They characterize bet-
ter what hardships must survivors
face. Also, with a broader sociologi-
cal perspective, it is interesting to
understand how survivors react
and re-organize at several levels. A
thorough description of such condi-
tions follows.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 39
6.1 Infrastructure Consequences
In an Urban setting, the prime
example of a constructed environ-
ment, Disaster consequences have
the potential to be heavier than
its less populated counterparts.
The Population Density of cities is
invariably higher, which means that
the space must be shared by more
people. The increased population
density many times implies multi-
story buildings, which pose added
Disaster risks should they col-
lapse. Even if there are no victims
of building collapse (an unrealistic
scenario), the decrease in usable
space leaves survivors with very
little or no space where to live.
The physical destruction in urban
settings is not limited to living
spaces. Industrial areas are also
hit, creating two sorts of problems:
disappearance of jobs, which af-
fects recovery and potential indus-
trial contamination. Basic services'
facilities such as Law Enforcement,
Traffc Control, Waste Management
and Medical Services might also be
impaired, posing immediate and
long-term consequences.
It was previously indicated that
cities demand plenty of resources
(e.g. water, food, fuel, materials)
yet generate very little of those.
Cities must be constantly supplied
and if the supply disappears or is
hardly hit, their living conditions
quickly degrade. As these resources
rely on transportation routes,
should the routes be affected (e.g.
downed bridges, fooded roads,
broken pipelines), the supply is
Where in rural areas food produc-
tion and nature's proximity might
alleviate the needs of a suddenly
hit population, a city is a much less
forgiving environment.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 40
6.2 Social Consequences
As the artifcial living space is
changed by the Disaster's occur-
rence, the social ties that lie within
are also changed. What is worth
mentioning is that Social Conse-
quences tend to be less negative
that most of imagine. In spite of
commonly accepted predictions of
Mass-hysteria, Disaster situations
tend to foster pro-social behavior,
especially visible within pre-Di-
saster groups (e.g. family, neigh-
bors, household)
. The degree
to which community cohesion is
maintained before, during and after
a Disaster is related to the severity
of said Disaster. The "sweet spot" is
located at a "medium severity" that
is enough to alert for danger but
low enough to allow for altruistic
. Looting and pillaging
do occur but are not the norm.
The Pro-Social Behavior that can
be witnessed after a Disaster takes
several shapes at different times.
When a Disaster Forewarning is
present, people might cooperate
to minimize effects of impending
catastrophe (e.g. building sandbag
dams, helping with evacuation).
During the Disaster (e.g. Flood) Pro-
Social behavior is also observed.
After the Disaster, Pro-Social Behav-
ior can be observed in the sponta-
neous formation of neighbourhood
, informal search and
rescue and building/clearing efforts.
These are the effects on a medium,
geographically limited and, in a
way, fragmented scale. Social Con-
sequences are different for an in-
dividual, a family, a neighbourhood
and a city. At the beginning of the
spectrum, the sense of belonging,
the increased fexibility and agil-
ity of social units allows for some
swift adaptation. As the scope of
what is "community" enlarges, it
becomes harder to maintain social
cohesion and some fragmentation
is observed.
Socially speaking, cities are more
vulnerable to Disaster than rural ar-
eas. The potential for tension situ-
ations is signifcantly higher just as
strong community bonds exist in
smaller networks.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 41
are not the full picture of what is
Economic recovery.
ported. Agreements cannot be
fulflled and often penalties ensue.
This goes to say that the economic
impact of a Disaster is beyond the
recovery cost, also including lost
fnancial momentum. Especially
with developing nations, this can
take several years. As an example,
it is believed that hurricane Mitch
delayed Nicaragua's development
by 20 years
.Economy often acts
as some sort of middle layer be-
tween other human issues (politics,
education, society, etc). Producer
and Product of a society's status, it
is often managed (or steered) in a
slow, reactive way.
Stable, long-term economic growth
takes time and favorable conditions
to sprout. When a Disaster disrupts
a region's economy, the reaction
to that event is often slow. Dona-
tions and immediate fnancial help
6.3 Economic Consequences
The Physical and Social impact of a
Disaster can be manifested on large
scale economic terms, usually re-
gion or country-wide. The destruc-
tion of infrastructure, the halting of
industrial activity and immediate
assistance needs seriously hamper
normal Economic development.
Amid all the consequences of
Disaster, Economic consequences
might be the longest to wane or to
be fully repaired. This is due to two
main factors: Economy's dynamic
nature and Economy's traditionally
large inertia.
Economy is generally regarded as
a dynamic reality, where growth
is the goal. As most of a nation's
economic system relies on such a
growth, should it disappear, said
country fnances are left unsup-
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 42
7. Conclusions
First, one can say that recorded
Disaster frequency is increasing
.More Disasters happen and
when they happen their effects are
stronger than before. This means
that there is a current need (likely
to increase) of Disaster assistance
efforts. Such efforts can happen in
many fronts and I propose Educa-
tion and Product Design as one.
There are several Natural Disas-
ter types that have potential for
widespread impact. Their effects
cannot usually be completely
cancelled and their consequences
carry enough momentum to affect
regions in the long term. Assistance
in Major Disaster situations is dif-
fcult and the variety of potential
sources of Disaster calls for fexible
and scalable initiatives. However
specifc, many Disaster conse-
quences are common across differ-
ent locations and types of Disaster
(e.g. loss of potable shelter, water,
plenty of wounded, etc). Also given
the impact of Climate change in
Hydro-Meteorological Disasters, a
region's Disaster profle is likely to
change with time. A balance be-
tween highly specialized Disaster
Management approaches and more
generic improvements is necessary.
This project is concerned with the
basic generic requirements, closely
related with minimum human sur-
vival needs.
As one can see, Disaster Conse-
quences are more complex and
widespread than the physical harm-
ing of populations and destruction
of buildings. Disaster consequences
change the way people behave and
seriously affect a region's devel-
opment. Any suggested Design
solution should consider these
two facts. In the present project, I
aimed at addressing social conse-
quences by using household/family
as the social unit of reference. As
for future development aspects, I
try to empower Disaster survivors
through the teaching of simple
techniques that require little invest-
ment and can be used for other
scenarios outside a catastrophe.
Future Natural Disasters cannot be
avoided, but early preparation can
reduce their negative impact
For more information on used data
on the topic of Disaster, please
consult Appendix C.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 43
[A1] Canadian Center for Occupational Health and
Safety, 2010. OSH Answers - Hazard and Risk. [Online].
Available at
[Accessed 20/04/2010]
[A2] EMDAT - International Disaster Database.2009.
Explanatory Notes - Criteria and Defnition. [Online]
available at:
[Accessed 08/02/2010].
[A3] EMDAT - International Disaster Database.2009.
Explanatory Notes - Classifcation [online] available
[Accessed 08/02/2010].
[A4] ADPC - Asian Disaster Preparedness Center.
2008. Asian Disaster Management News, May-Aug.
[Online] available at:
[Accessed accessed 08/02/2010]
[A5] EMDAT - International Disaster Database.2009.
Explanatory Notes - Glossary. [Online] available at:
[Accessed 08/02/2010].
[A6] EMDAT - International Disaster Database.2009.
Explanatory Notes - Classifcation. [Online] available
[Accessed 02/02/2010].
[A7] United Nations International Strategy for Disaster
Reduction. 2009. Home Page. [Online] available at:
[Accessed 02/02/2010].
[A8] United Nations International Strategy for Disaster
Reduction. 2009. Disaster Statistics 1991 - 2005.
[Online] available at:
[Accessed 02/02/2010]
[A9] EMDAT - International Disaster Database.2009.
Explanatory Notes - Glossary - “Hydrological”.
[Online] available at:
glossary/9#letterh [Accessed 02/02/2010].
[A10] EMDAT - International Disaster Database.2009.
Explanatory Notes - Glossary - “Meteorologi-
cal”. [Online] available at:
glossary/9#letterm [Accessed 02/02/2010].
[A11] EMDAT - International Disaster Database.2009.
Explanatory Notes - Glossary - “Climatologi-
cal”. [Online] available at:
[Accessed 08/02/2010].
[A12] EMDAT - International Disaster Database.2009,
Explanatory Notes - Glossary - “Geophysical”. [Online]
available at:
[Accessed 02/02/2010].
[A13] EMDAT - International Disaster Database.2009,
Explanatory Notes - Glossary - “Biological Disasters”.
[Online] available at:
[Accessed 02/02/2010].
[A14] IFRC/RC International Federation of the Red
Cross and Red Crescent, 1999, World Disasters Report
[A15] Quarantelli, E. 1999. University of Delaware
Disaster Research Center. Disaster Related Social
Behavior: Summary Of 50 Years Of Research Findings
[A16] Chang K. 2009. Community cohesion after a
natural disaster: insights from a Carlisle food Disas-
ters, Disasters; 34, 2 26 October 2009, 0361-3666
[A17] Slate Magazine, 2010. Article on Chile's Earth-
quake - "Shaken, but not broken". [Online] available
[Accessed 05/03/2010]
[A18] IFRC/RC International Federation of the Red
Cross and Red Crescent, 2000, World Disasters Report
- "Nicaragua needs a break"
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 44
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 45
Base of the Pyramid
Introduction; Who is the Base of The Pyramid; BoP Disaster Preparedness;
When Disaster Strikes; Disaster Risk Reduction; Conclusions
The target group for this
assignment are the poorest people
in the world, commonly addressed
as the Base of the Pyramid.
Such name illustrates the
disproportion between population
and wealth distribution, with BoP
being the largest segment of the
population with the least wealth.
In this section, an operative
description of general
characteristics of the BoP is given,
as well as an indication of what
have been the challenges in
implementing Disaster Risk
Reduction initiatives.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 46
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 47
1. Introduction
"BoP populations" is a term not
directly exchangeable with "poor"
or "vulnerable communities", but
it is true that the most affected
by Disaster are usually part of the
BoP group. For the remaining of
this project, the Disaster threat-
ened populations will be addressed
as the "BoP". The most important
concept that I borrow from the
general BoP characterization is the
low income
(people living with less 2 $ US/
). Although the term is often
used to present untapped eco-
nomic possibilities, it will be used
mostly as a socioeconomic label.
The characteristic low income is
the main driver for hardship face
by BoP populations. Lack of income
leads to little opportunity for free-
choice, which in turn can result in
exposure to weather and political
volatility, forced migration, low liv-
ing and working conditions or no
access to healthcare and education.
All of these contribute to higher
exposure to Disasters and their ef-
Source: World Resources Insttute
Individual Annual Income
2005 $US Purchasing Power Parity
3.260 to 20.000$
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 48
2. Who is the Base of the
Defning who is part of the BoP,
besides the easy to understand
economic indicators, can also be
approximated through geographical
The map on the left clearly shows
that poverty incidence is somehow
clustered around sub Saharan Af-
rica, parts of Central and South East
Asia and South America. These are
also Disaster Prone Areas, as one
can verify in the section "Disasters"
of this report.
Source: UN Human Development Indices 2008
61% - 80%
Over 80%
41% - 80%
21% - 40%
6% - 20%
2% - 5%
Under 2%
Percentage Populaton living on less than 2 $US:
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 49
There is some discussion on what
defnes the economic indicators for
Base of the Pyramid groups. As this
project requires some capacity from
the target group, the poorest defni-
tions are deemed to be to limiting
and not realistic.
For such cases (e.g. population liv-
ing on less than 1,25 $US/day ), the
improvement of living conditions
to a minimum of self-capacity is
necessary to achieve, prior to any
Disaster Preparedness efforts. In
this light, the slightly more gener-
ous situation of people living with
less than 2 $US/day is the preferred
It should be noted that the proj-
ects's outcome can be applied to
other income tiers. This means that
less than 2$US is the lower bound-
ary for application.
Source: US Natonal Bureau Of Economic Research, 2009
World Distributon of Income
East Asia Sub Saharan Africa South Asia World
Latn America
50 US$ 500 US$ 5000 US$ 50.000 US$
people living
with less than 2$ US/day
people that
can benefit from project
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 50
Although generalizing too much
has its disadvantages, there is a
tendency to for BoP participants to
share some characteristics. These
manifest themselves in an absent
or incapable government style and
presence, usually pervasive cor-
ruption, dependence on external
aid and a mix of highly traditional
social structures and mutating
social conventions due to internal
migrations and confict. What this
means for Disaster Preparedness is
that, for the most part, centralized
Disaster Management is not ca-
pable of reaching and helping most
Disaster victims. Also, victims are
usually not in condition to fend for
Social structures in BoP countries
tend to be highly hierarchical and
sometimes rigid, with little op-
portunity for social mobility. Social
conventions usually contribute for
this with a big focus on the mainte-
nance of community ties, central to
one's life. If ties are broken, one's
place in society is jeopardized. This
requests for extraordinary effort
and drive for an individual's rise
in society, critic and ostracization
being the consequences for those
who try and fail. What values are
preferred in driving one's life can
change a lot across BoP regions,
from being focused on simple
familiar life to placing an empha-
sis on personal success. The way
cultures deal with uncertainty and
long term goals is diverse across
regions, but with BoP populations,
there seems to be a relatively high
structuring of life, routines and
norms. These provide rules to deal
with unforeseen situations and act
as "instruction manual for life".
Summing up, one can generalize
BoP cultures along the following
dimensions, as described by Gert
High Power Distance
Low Individualism
Variable Masculinity
High Uncertainty Avoidance
Low Long-Term Orientation
In regards to Disaster Risk
Reduction efforts, this means that
BoP populations require approaches
that respect social norms while
involving the community. Prescrip-
tive pedagogical approaches seem
to be more ftting and the respect
for tradition might require long and
iterative external education efforts.
Comparison of Typical Culture
of Developing and Developed Country
Long Term
Estmated Cultural Dimensions of Developed Country
Estmated Cultural Dimensions of Developing Country
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 51
3. BoP Disaster Preparedness
When BoP populations are affected
by Disaster, they are usually unpre-
pared (exceptions being commu-
nities highly adapted to seasonal
occurrences, like monsoons). There
are several reasons for this. The
most relevant are social, economi-
cal and spiritual/religious. Socially
speaking, BoP populations are
highly exposed because they are
Supposing that Disaster threatened
communities had the educational
resources to identify and reduce
Disaster Risks (and this can hap-
pen, both with or without external
help), commonly, they lack the eco-
nomical capacity to implement any
improvements. No funds exist for
Mitigation (e.g. Earthquake Proofng
houses) or for Preparedness (e.g.
stocking up on food and medicine).
not equipped with the knowledge
to predict and plan for Disaster,
even if they have faced it before.
Unable to react for themselves,
communities are left unprotected.
Governmental or external assis-
tance could perhaps help in this,
but in reality, many times it is not
adequately deployed.
Most times, people are dependent
on themselves and external aid.
Finally, tradition, religion and spiri-
tuality can take a part in the low
Disaster Resilience of populations.
Diverse views of one's control over
his/her life can lead to fatalist out-
looks on life and Disaster. People
might feel that whatever happens,
had to happen and there is little an
individual can do to improve his/
her situation.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 52
4. When Disaster Strikes
Disasters, even of Natural origin
can be amplifed or subdued by
artifcial conditions. In the case of
BoP populations and their living
spaces, such conditions are typi-
cally very bad. Poor construction,
unplanned urban development, low
access to water, sanitation power
and communications, all create an
adverse scenario.
An example: if a food happens
in an urban slum, it only adds to
already present misery. Assuming
that nothing could have been done
to prevent the food (and this is
not always the case), its effects
are highly intensifed by the artif-
cial factors that make up the living
spaces of BoP populations.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 53
5. Disaster Risk Reduction
Since Disaster and their effects
are highly dependent on existing
conditions, many initiatives not
directly related to Disaster can
have a positive effect. Education,
Health provision, Sanitation and
Urban Planning, are all examples
of this. To improve the big picture,
it is essential to take an integrated
The resurgence of community
based development initiatives (e.g.
education, health, fnance, com-
merce and communications) helps
communities to become more self-
suffcient at all levels. Such strate-
gies have been used for Disaster
Risk Reduction.
These have shown considerable
success, especially for popula-
tions that are outside the reach
of governmental assistance. Com-
mon educational approaches target
school children and women, often
resorting to community leaders,
clergy and school teachers as pro-
viders of training and knowledge.
Efforts to reduce Disasters have
been made at several levels, from
high level international political
compromises to grassroots move-
ments that aim at educating com-
It is the second case that has direct
relation to this Project.
The following 5 approaches are the
most typically used by NGOs in Di-
saster Risk Reduction initiatives:
Pressure authorities to improve
living conditions and response to
Improve conditions prior to Di-
saster (e.g. housing, sanitation,
power and communications)
Empower communities with skills
and education, including marginal-
ized groups
Involve communities in Risk Iden-
tifcation and Contingency Plan-
Supply material and educational
resources both prior and post
From this list, the last three are the
most related with the approach of
this project.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 54
6. Conclusions
The populations in the Base of the
Pyramid make up the poorest, least
educated people on the planet.
These are also the people, in the
world, that are the most common
victims of Disaster, due to their fra-
gility and even geographic distribu-
Their main limitations are chronic
poverty and lack of access to
healthcare and education, com-
pounded by often shaky political
This target group has a strong need
for Disaster Preparedness measures
that are simple to understand,
cheap to make and decentralized,
away from slow and heavy govern-
mental initiatives
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 55
[B1] Global issues. March 28 2010. Poverty Facts and
Stats [Online] Available at: http://www.globalissues.
[Bccessed] 20/05/2010
[B2] Geert Hofstede, Cultural differences in teaching
and learning, International Journal of Intercultural Re-
lations, Volume 10, Issue 3, 1986, Pages 301-320, ISSN
[B3] Benson, C. & Twigg, J. 2001.NGO Initiatives in
Risk Reduction: An Overview, Disasters, 25(3): 199–215
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 56
Disaster Preparedness
Disaster Management; Cycles of Disaster Management; Preparedness as Project Focus; Typical Preparedness
Requirements; Disaster Preparedness and the Base of the Pyramid; Conclusions
Disaster Preparedness, as way to
reduce Disaster impact, is part of a
broader system of Disaster
In this chapter, a general overview
of Disaster Management is given
and the particular characteristics of
Disaster Preparedness are
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 58
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 59
1.Disaster Management
In the professional community of
people that work with Disaster
prevention and response, there
is a wide belief that a Disaster is
defned by what happens before
and after it. This means that to
reduce Disasters and their impacts,
it is necessary to consider all the
prior effects, all the created effects
and what effects it might have in
use this framework, just as people
trying to reduce risks from wind-
storms will.
Even the name “Disaster Manage-
ment” implies that Disasters can be
somehow controlled. This frames
Disasters as events that can be af-
fected by people's prior and poste-
rior actions.
the future. This complete, circular
approach to Disaster places a big
emphasis on preventive action to
create readiness for when Disaster
strikes again.
Disasters can be very different from
one another, and yet, this holistic
method of organizing their preven-
tion and response is used for virtu-
ally all of them. People working to
reduce Disaster from Tsunami will
Disaster Management is usually
carried on by governments and
development agencies. It can have
different scopes, from a global
perspective (e.g. United Nations
International Strategy for Disaster
Reduction) to community-level
initiatives (e.g. Istanbul's Neigh-
bourhood Disaster Support Project
In this project, I suggest a commu-
nity-level implementation, due to
simplicity and immediate effects.
Its limited effect (it only affects the
community where it is implement-
ed) is compensated by the simplic-
ity of its implementation.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 60
2. Cycles in Disaster
Disaster Management happens in
a cycle. The phases of this cycle
always follow the same order, but
their division and duration are not
usually clearly defned. An exam-
ple: the actions taken after a Disas-
ter, known as the “Recovery” phase
tend to merge with the following
The 4 phases in Disaster Manage-
ment are:
phase, named “Mitigation”. Also,
although the order remains the
same, different people and organi-
zations are responsible for differ-
ent phases, so there is an overlap
between adjacent phases.
It is clear that in this cycle, there
are two main periods: a pre-Disas-
ter and a post-Disaster period. In
the pre-Disaster period, one can
fnd the Mitigation and Prepared-
ness phases and in the post-Disas-
ter, the Response and Recovery.
Disaster Management Cycle
Disaster Preparedness Sub Cycle
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 61
2.1 Mitigation
The mitigation phase is mostly fo-
cused on the removal of the Disas-
ter risk, usually with a long term
scope. Examples of actions taken
during the Mitigation phase are
the creation of laws that prevent
certain buildings in risky areas, the
zoning of urban areas,
of people out of danger zones and
creation of committees and task
forces that will manage new regula-
tion and oversee their application.
Steps taken in Mitigation tend to
have good effects
as they re-
move the danger from the living
space of people or remove the
people from the danger zone. How-
ever, Mitigation is usually diffcult
because it requires committed ac-
tion with a long term focus. Un-
popular measures are often neces-
sary and politically it can be hard
to defend. There are, obviously,
good examples of Mitigation action,
but it remains a diffcult phase to
implement correctly.
Mitigation measures are deeply
contextual. This means a deep
knowledge of socioeconomic fac-
tors, combined, naturally with
knowledge about Disaster risk.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 62
2.2 Preparedness
Even the best mitigation measures
cannot predict all the possibilities
of Disaster. This means that there
is always a need for effective re-
sponse to possible calamities. This
response is the result of efforts tak-
en during the Preparedness phase.
It is during the Preparedness phase
that plans for response are drawn,
equipment distributed and training
overtaken. Also, people must stay
informed about possible Disasters
at all times
Preparedness is usually associated
with creating conditions for good
response in minimizing dam-
age and impact on people's lives,
namely survival. There are also
other types of Preparedness, such
as business (e.g. a bank) that plans
what its own crisis response, asso-
ciated not with human survival but
with business survival. This is not
the focus of this project.
Preparedness is a very “democrat-
ic” phase of Disaster Management,
as it can be taken both by govern-
mental and private institutions and
families. Generally speaking, when
families work for Preparedness,
their objective is centred on the
survival of the family members and
the reduction of Disaster Damage.
Preparedness is a continuous
process that only ends when a
Disaster strikes. At that moment,
depending on how well people and
institutions prepared, the Response
phase starts.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 63
2.3 Response
Disaster response, as the name im-
plies, is the reaction to a Disaster,
with the objective of addressing the
challenges and needs it creates.
Police, Firemen and Civil Protection
are the most visible players of this
phase. During the Response phase,
in reality, a lot of the assistance
and relief to victims, at least during
an initial phase, is given by the
survivors. But, as assistance gets
more complex (e.g. many people
to rescue, need for government
or foreign assistance supplies and
know-how or just high technical
complexity of rescue) civilian popu-
lations are replaced by specialized
public services.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 64
2.4 Recovery
As the frst efforts from the Re-
sponse phase produce results, it
is time to start thinking how to
recover from the Disaster. This
means both medium to long term
recovery and heavily based of plan-
ning of future developments. It is a
good practice to include Mitigation
efforts in this phase (e.g. plan the
rebuild of a city, but with earht-
quake-proof houses).
Recovery often means the creation
of housing, the repair of infrastruc-
ture or the rebuilding of businesses
and agriculture.
The goal of Recovery is, quite
clearly, the return to normality as
fast as possible and preferably in
a way that can avoid repetitions of
Recovery measures depend on
impact of Disaster and conditions
previous to its onset.
One of the reasons why Recovery
is important is to bring normality
back and to avoid the creation of
further emergencies (e.g. forced
migrations or social unrest).
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 65
3. Preparedness as Project
It is already known at this point,
that Preparedness is the phase that
I will focus my efforts on. The rea-
sons for that are now presented.
First, it is known that all the pre-
ventive efforts to reduce Disaster
risk and impact are more effective
and effcient that reactive mea-
It is estimated that for every US
Dollar spent in prevention, up to
fve can be saved in response.
This already makes it clear that
the focus of this project should be
on the preventive stages of Disaster
Another reason why Disaster Pre-
paredness was selected as a focus
for the project was its accessibility.
Between Mitigation and Prepared-
ness, the later is clearly easier to
implement. Disaster Preparedness
can be taken on by individuals and
families and contributes to leave
people more independent from
centralized assistance efforts.
Good Disaster Preparedness can
also have positive upstream effects.
When communities are prepared,
they tend to be more organized
and easier to help. As a side effect,
when authorities know that certain
communities are ready for Disas-
ter, they can focus their assistance
efforts (after a Disaster) on those
communities that are not as ready.
This reduces the logistical burden
on centralized assistance.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 66
4. Typical Preparedness
Disaster Preparedness on a fam-
ily level has three main areas of
Staying informed
Because Disaster Preparedness
does not end until a Disaster hap-
pens, these steps should be taken
continuously up to that moment.
On a family (or “household”) level,
such steps are described ahead.
Disaster Preparedness Sub Cycle
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 67
4.1 Equipping
In the context of Disaster Prepared-
ness, equipping means getting a Di-
saster Preparedness kit. Ideally, the
contents of the kit should depend
on the type of risk, but in practice,
most kits contain the same sort of
products. Most kits are made of
supplies related with the immedi-
ate survival of the users during the
aftermath of a Disaster. Disaster
Preparedness kits typically carry:
material and supplies for:
Water treatment and storage
First aid
Disaster Preparedness kits can be
bought already prepared or can be
put together by each individual, us-
ing lists of recommended supplies.
4.2 Planning
Planning is the creation of contin-
gency procedures to respond to
possible future scenarios. For a
family, this means identifying risks
at home, work and play for each
family member and selecting strat-
egies to cope with such risks. Good
planning considers how will the
family reunite if the Disaster catch-
es them while separated, what are
the roles of each one during an
emergency and what are communi-
cation and evacuation procedures.
Good planning includes the practice
of techniques and procedures to
be used after a Disaster. Examples
could be the packing of emergency
supplies, training coordination of
separated family members without
communications and evacuation
Planning is inexpensive, but re-
quires a level of risk awareness,
availability and commitment that is
somehow uncommon.
4.3 Staying Informed
Staying informed even in times of
calm is necessary to know what are
the ways that authorities will use
to communicate an alert, how to
identify alert levels and the mea-
sures to be taken.
Staying informed also means know-
ing techniques that are useful in
prevention and response, such as
frst aid or switching off gas sup-
Disaster Preparedness Kit recommendatons
Water – one gallon per person per day
Food – ready to eat or requiring minimal water
Manual can opener and other cooking supplies
Plates, utensils and other feeding supplies
First Aid kit & instructons
important documents & phone numbers
Warm clothes and rain gear for each family member.
Heavy work gloves
Disposable camera
Unscented liquid household bleach and an eyedropper
Personal hygiene items including toilet paper,
feminine supplies, and sanitzer and soap
Plastc sheetng, duct tape and utlity knife
Tools such as a crowbar, hammer & nails,
staple gun and adjustable wrench
Blankets or sleeping bags
Heavy duty plastc bags and a plastc bucket
Source: - The city and county of San Francisco
Dust mask
Pocket knife
Emergency cash
Sturdy shoes, a change of clothes, and a warm hat
Local map
Permanent marker, paper and tape
Photos of family members and pets
for re-identficaton purposes
Extra prescripton eye glasses,
hearing aid or other vital personal items
Toothbrush and toothpaste
For the family
For each
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 68
5. Disaster Preparedness and
the Base of the Pyramid
Disaster Preparedness despite be-
ing the most accessible way for
families to prepare for Disaster, is
not widely adopted. In fact, it is
noted that Disaster Preparedness
measures have low adoption rates,
even in affuent regions
. It was
observed that for poor communi-
ties are even less prepared. The
reasons for this lack of Disaster
Preparedness measures by the poor
communities are:
Lack of Information
Lack of Risk Awareness
Lack of Capability
Lack of
Lack of
Lack of
Lack of
Disaster Preparedness and the BoP
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 69
Lack of Information
When people have no access to in-
formation, they do not learn how to
identify risks or how to prepare for
Disaster. This also means having no
access to real time warnings. Lack
of information is the frst
barrier between people and Disas-
ter Preparedness, but not the only
Lack of Capability
A fnal, but defnite obstacle to peo-
ple's adoption of Disaster Prepared-
ness is their capability to change
their conditions. Populations from
the BoP, besides often having a lack
of information and risk awareness,
also lack the means to prepare.
This means lack of money to invest
in Disaster Preparedness, lack of
social freedom to engage in Pre-
paredness activities or even lack of
a basic living conditions that would
allow for a longer-term thinking.
A sub-set of lack of capability as an
obstacle, is the perceived lack of
capability that some marginalized
communities may face.
A typical Disaster Preparedness
kit can be a daunting investment,
given all the recommended prod-
ucts and their price. It is proven
Lack of Risk Awareness
Before people decide to invest their
time and resources on Disaster Pre-
paredness, they must recognize the
risk they live with. This can be a
challenge if people are uninformed
about what risks are present in
their area.
Besides recognizing a risk (e.g. on
the path of a landslide), people
must understand that they can
change their likelihood of being a
victim. Especially prevalent in some
populations of the BoP (due to so-
cioeconomic and religious reasons)
is the belief that Natural Disasters
cannot be avoided and their con-
sequences are just fate. To fght off
these beliefs is outside the scope
of this project, but it illustrates
another diffculty in implementing
Disaster Preparedness
that people's adoption of Disaster
Preparedness behaviors is nega-
tively correlated with the perceived
complexity of those behaviors.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 70
6. Conclusions
From all the things that can be
done in Disaster Management,
Disaster Preparedness is the most
accessible to families with little ex-
ternal support. Despite this easier
access, it still requires some com-
mitment and investment, which
can demotivate some people.
This points towards a direction of
simplifcation of requirements for
Disaster Preparedness. Reducing
the complexity, on the basis that
some Disaster Preparedness is bet-
ter than none and complexity can
be off-putting.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 71
[C1] United Nations International Strategy for Disaster
Reduction. 2008. World Conference on Disaster Reduc-
tion [Online] Available at:
[Accessed on 19/04/2010]
[C2] see [C1]
[C3] Mahalle Afet Gonulluleri.2010. Website [Online]
Available at:
{Accessed 25/04/2010]
[C4] Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recov-
ery. 2010. Phases in Disaster Management [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 19/04/2010]
[C5] United States Federal Emergency Management
Agency. 2010. Federal Insurance and Mitigation Ad-
ministration (FIMA) [Online] Available at: http://www.
{Accessed 28/04/2010]
[C6] see [C5]
[C7] San Francisco Department of Emergency Manage-
ment. 2008. 72 manual [Online] Available
{Accessed 30/04/2010]
[C8] David A. McEntire. 2004. The Status of Emergency
Management Theory: Issues, Barriers, and Recommen-
dations for Improved Scholarship.
[C9] World Food Programme. 2010 . Disaster Risk
Reduction [Online] Available at:
[Accessed 30/04/2010]
[C10] See [C7]
[C11] Quarantelli, E. 1999. University of Delaware
Disaster Research Center. Disaster Related Social
Behavior: Summary Of 50 Years Of Research Findings
[C12] The Institute for Business & Home Safety, 2009.
Vulnerable Populations [online]. Available at http://
[Accessed 16/03/2010]
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 72
Shelter Page 75
Water Page 93
Cooking Page 111
Communications Page 123
1. Introduction
Based on the previous research, the
following criteria were established:
Simplify Disaster Preparedness
Simplify access to Disaster Pre-
paredness Access
I've simplifed the requirements
of Disaster Preparedness require-
ments by reducing the list of basic
material and to frame Disaster
Preparedness as an activity more
related with the acquisition of ma-
terial supplies and basic technical
knowledge, instead of the whole
spectrum of measures previously
presented in section E
This reduction accepts that the
more complete Disaster Prepared-
ness requirements better prepare
people for Disaster. Their only
drawback is that there complexity
actually drives people away from
adopting them.
2. Four basic areas
For the Disaster Preparedness solu-
tion that I suggest, I've grouped the
supplies and techniques in 4 areas:
These areas correspond to the basic
needs of people after a Disaster
and while not complete to typical
Disaster Preparedness standards,
provide means for people to make
a minimal Disaster Preparedness
Practices from previous assistance
efforts provide a glimpse of what
professionals in Disaster Manage-
ment believe it is more important
in Disaster situations. To under-
stand this, the assistance to the
January 2010 Haiti Earthquake was
studied and the accompanying
graph was made. In it, one can see
when each “Assistance Cluster”
was activated. Non-Surprisingly,
Health, Shelter and Non Food
Items, Food, and Water, Sanitation
and Hygiene were the frst on the
Cluster Actvaton in Hait 2010 Earthquake Relief
Survival Operatons Recovery
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
days afer Disaster


Shelter and NFI
Food Aid
Protecton Camp
Coordinaton &
Early Recovery
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 75
Importance of Shelter; Approach; Expected Conditions; Requirements;
Coping Strategies; Shelter Elements; Cover; Unions;
Operating Costs; Conclusions
After a Disaster, lack of food and
water receive plenty of attention,
but a sometimes forgotten need is
People are very good at improvising
shelter with available materials, but
sometimes, even these are lacking
In this chapter, approaches and
techniques for shelter are
presented and explained
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 76
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 77
1. Importance of Shelter
After a Disaster, traditional
construction might be compro-
mised, forcing the Survivors to
arrange for new living quarters.
The capacity for building shelter
relies on knowledge that most
people in one way or another,
have. But besides the practical and
technical knowledge to build shel-
ter, Survivors need shelter material.
Shelter is important not only for
its protection functions, but also
because of its psychological effect,
of protection and a relative stability
and dignity.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 78
2. Approach
Not everything is destroyed after a
Disaster. History shows that people
are quick to take advantage of
whatever means are available.
At the same time, it is unrealistic
to assume that a Disaster scenario
can provide for all Survivors. Also,
Survivors might need relocate, leav-
ing behind some of the improvised
structures that protected them.
Shelter is a very cultural issue, and
for different groups, it will be mean
different typologies, features and
capacities. Because of this I sug-
gest an open approach, proposing
adaptable procedures.
My approach is two fold: one of
general knowledge that can be
used regardless of specifc type of
And one of technical knowledge
to fabricate shelter materials and
Certain elements are common in
shelters of different kinds (e.g.
structure, cover, stakes, pitching
lines) and I suggest alternative
ways of achieving the same effect.
This is no replacement for tradi-
tional typologies that are deeply
ingrained and probably very well
adapted to the local context.
But can help survivors in making
shelter without using more materi-
als than necessary or under situa-
tions where traditional typologies
do not work.
It is the second side of my
approach, the technical knowledge
for shelter fabrication, that I think
holds more promise.
I believe it can effectively result in
shelter-ready materials, but also, I
think it can end up being a valu-
able know-how for Survivors, even
outside the frame of a Disaster. It
might have other applications, be a
commercial venture or just an
inspiration for further
Aproach to Shelter
Tarp to Tarp
Tarp to Line
Cooking Pan
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 79
3. Expected Conditions
All Disasters are different, but there
are some common points among
many of them. Here are listed some
3.1 Urban setting
As introduced in the chapter "Di-
sasters", cities present their own
challenges, related with their
population density, dependence on
outside supply and lack of Nature's
If this has physical challenges per
se, the social ones are also very
relevant. Proposed shelter should
acknowledge this and aim to ame-
liorate such conditions through
fexibility and privacy
The dependence on outside sup-
plies means that Survivors will
have to make do with whatever re-
sources are already available, after
the Disaster.
amenizing presence. When it comes
to shelter, these aspects play a
noteworthy part.
Population Density and the elimina-
tion of Pre-Disaster shelter mean
that space is at a premium and
people will be closer together.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 80
3.2 Social Rearrangement
Despite the debunking of Disaster
Hysteria myths ( see section A "Di-
sasters"), it is still expectable that
Post-Disaster Conditions change
some social dynamics, partially
fueled by the likely halting of basic
One's Disaster Resilience is posi-
tively correlated with belonging to
Pre-Disaster groups
. The relation
between such groups affects social
. Of these pre-Disaster
groups, there is no better than fam-
ily or household.

Because the social sphere is not
static, shelter should be able to ac-
commodate changing needs, taking
the family as the basic social unit.
This means that any shelter sug-
gestions should allow for fexible
use and people's adaptation. This
is one more reason not to design a
specifc product.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 81
4. Requirements
With a drawn picture of what are
the human needs concerning
shelter, it is possible to list what is
required from this area of the as-
signment. Suggested shelter
solutions must:
Provide shelter or means to
achieve shelter, effectively pro-
tecting users from weather and
privacy invasion
(minimum 1,6 m
; ideally 2,7m
Be cheap, light and adaptable.
Guide users in making/adapting
shelter to their needs
Teach users in shelter material
fabrication techniques
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 82
5. Coping Strategies
The suggested way for people to
acquire enough Shelter material is
to have families produce their own
plastic tarp.
The suggested techniques are
simple enough to be taken upon
individually, but group making can
also be very engaging and econom-
ically effcient.
For families to make their own
plastic shelter material, they would
have to assess how much material
they need.
To help such assessment, in the
fnal educational solution, proposed
by this project, there are indica-
tions for this.
These are mentioned in previous
section, "requirements".
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 83
6. Shelter Elements:
Shelter, regardless of what type it
is, usually has the following ele-
Pitching lines (and adjustment)
of BoP populations and their daily
experiences with poverty.
In this project, the following fea-
tures are explored and given solu-
tions for:

This account illustrates what is nec-
essary to achieve in terms of shel-
ter production, within this project.
However, not all of the listed ele-
ments will be re-designed for this
project. I feel this avoids what
would be a rather patronizing view
These elements combine the most
adaptation potential with the fact
that they are the least intuitive
aspects of shelter making.
People all over the world have been
making shelter in culturally appro-
priate manners, ftting to local chal-
lenges. Providing them with ideas
on the listed components allows for
more fexible shelter making.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 84
7. Cover
The suggested cover material is
easy to produce, scalable, and
made from waste.
Besides being very inexpensive,
making the shelter from waste
might have collateral benefts of
creating commercial demand for
some types of refuse (e.g. plastic
bags) and eventually create more
plastic sheeting, it cost me 15 Euro.
This is not a lot by western stan-
dards, but it is much more relevant
for people that live with less than
2$ US a day.
I had heard about RagBag®
through I. R. Siem Haffmans, who I
met in a internship interview.
RagBag® produces bags and purs-
es made from recycled plastic bags
revenue sources for impoverished
populations. This deserves more
study before any further claims are
For the cover material, I suggest
using fused plastic bags, made into
large patches of sturdy, water proof
At the beginning of this project,
when I bought a 4m X 3m piece of
that are collected, selected, cleaned
and fused together.
Siem told me that the specifc
technology used for the RagBag®
material was patented, so I had to
look elsewhere.
While researching for shelter solu-
tions, I found Ruby Sprengle, a
Product Design student from the
University of Oregon. Unaware of
RagBag®, she had also starting
fusing plastic bags together with
an clothes-iron, to create tarps that
can be used as shelter. She calls it
the UtilitQuilt.
I contacted her to know more about
the process and was very happy to
find out it is extremely easy.
Coincidentally, when I mentioned
the idea to the Client of this
project, he showed me his own
experiences with the
technique, this time using a T-shirt
print press.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 85
It was decided to try to improve on
the technique, to make it acces-
sible to virtually anyone.
In the process, it was discovered
that similar results are attainable
with a simple container where hot
coals are put. Such container must
have an heat resistant handle (I
used an Wok) and can be pressed
over the plastic bags.
A relevant aspect is that a movable
recipient allows for very fexible
use (as opposed with a press, for
Because of the improvising nature
of the explored techniques, fgures
on production output are ap-
proximate. The heat needed for the
process can shrink and deform the
raw material, creating a fuctuation
in sizes, output rates and costs.
The clothes iron method was also
used, which is fairly simpler and
gives better results due the faster
heating up and easier temperature
This project describe both
techniques, thoroughly tested by
the author. The decision to use one
technique over the other should
be guided by what resources are
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 86
8. Unions
The described cover making tech-
niques allow for virtually any size
and shape of cover material to be
made, but this does not help
ad-hoc modifcation of shelter.
For that purpose, I describe the
following connections systems to
connect different shelter tarps and
pitching lines.
material. In this case, connecting
different tarps allows for the mak-
ing of larger pieces of shelter cover.
8.2 Connecting tarp and pitching
Connecting pitching lines to tarps
at the edge of those should be no
problem and puncturing the mate-
rial for this possibility does not
reduce the sheltering function of
Like most of suggested solutions,
these are simple implements, easy
to understand and build upon,
made from waste material.
Introduced here, these techniques
are fully explained in Appendix D
8.1 Connecting different tarps:
When conditions call for a different
use of existing material, it is use-
ful to have ways of adapting said
the material.
Connecting the material to other
components in the middle of the
tarp, however, calls for a technique
that does not permanently dam-
age the shelter material. Any holes
would reduce the water tightness
of the material and should be
For this I suggest a common camp-
ing trick that requires minimal
8.3 Connecting tarp and tarp,
Although no set shelter confgura-
tion is suggested, the ability of
closing a shelter can improve its
quality and comfort. Openings/
Closures diverge from connections
in the sense that they allow for
repeated cycles of operation.
An entrance done with this tech-
nique might require several closing
points, much like a shirt is closed
by several buttons.
For each closing point, the follow-
ing material is needed.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 87
9. Operating Costs
To further understand what are the
costs of producing shelter mate-
rial, I estimated the starting invest-
ments and running costs for both
Plastic Bag Fusing Techniques.
The output rates already show an
advantage of EPBF over FPBF, with
the frst having more than twice
the output of the second, for the
Common resources
Regardless of employed technique,
the garbage bags and oven paper
were used. Although it is expected
that the target users will not buy
bags purposely for the making of
shelter, an indicative price is given
and the same happens for the oven
same period
In all the experiments conducted,
black polyethylene garbage bin
bags where used to ease material
procurement during the project.
The vast majority of plastic bags
are made of polyethylene, so the
results are relevant even if users
resort to other types of bags.
15 bags = 1,65 Euro
(1 bag = 0,11 Euro)
10m = 1 Euro
(1 m = 0,10 Euro)
It takes roughly 3 bags to make a
square meter of 2-ply shelter
3 bags = 0,33 Euro
(1 m
= 0,33 Euro)
The oven paper can be used sev-
eral times. With the Fire Plastic
Bag Fusing technique, 30cm last
for around 3 m
and with Electrical
Plastic Bag Fusing, 60 cm (due to
different covering methods) last for
around 8 m
Oven paper with fre:
0,30 / 3 m
= 0,1/ m
Oven paper with iron
0,60 / 8 m
= 0,075m/m
Using Cambodia as an example of
application and my results as a
benchmark, I calculated the prices
for 1 m
of shelter material. It
becomes very clear that electrical
power is the most effcient way to
produce shelter material.
Fire based production costs:
EUR 0,46/m
Electric based production costs:
EURO 0,3395/m
Estmaton of Costs 1m² of shelter material
Cambodia, 2010
Material Costs
Cost of
Cambodian GDP per capita: EUR 663
Operatng Costs
Plastc Bags + Oven Paper Energy
0,022 kWh/m
1,5 kg Charcoal/m 0,1/m
EUR 0,33
EUR 0,002
EUR 0,12 EUR 0,01
EUR 0,0075
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 88
10. Conclusions
Shelter material is very important
for Disaster Preparedness, especial-
ly if there is a possibility for people
to stay away from home for several
days. The typical cost of "regular"
plastic sheeting was deemed to be
too expensive for the BoP,
Luckily, the plastic bag fusing
technique works rather well. Even
more, it can be done with or with-
out electricity.
This allows for families to make
their own Disaster Preparedness
supplies for shelter, fulflling the
simplicity criterion.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 89
[D1] Chang K. 2009. Community cohesion after a natu-
ral disaster: insights from a Carlisle food Disasters,
Disasters; 34, 2 26 October 2009, 0361-3666[D2] Rules
of three
[D2] Quarantelli, E. 1999. University of Delaware Disas-
ter Research Center. Disaster Related Social Behavior:
Summary Of 50 Years Of Research Findings
[D3] Trost, Jan, ed; Hultaker, Orjan, ed. Family and
disaster. Uppsala, International Library, Mar. 1983.
p.43-62. (International Journal of Mass Emergencies
and Disaster : Special Issue : Family and Disaster
[D4] OXFAM. 1989. Plastic Sheeting - its use for emer-
gency shelter and other purposes. [Online] available
[Accessed 22/03/2010]
[D5] RagBag. 2010. Website [Online] Available at:
[Accessed 13/04/2010]
[D6] UtilityQuilt. 2010. UtilityQuilt Blog [Online] Avail-
able at:
beginning.html. [Updated 17/02/2010]
[Accessed 13/04/2010]
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 90
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 91
Importance of water; Approach; Expected Conditions;
Requirements; Treatment Strategies; Treatment Techniques;
Water Storage; Sanitation and Waste Management; Conclusions.
In a Post-Disaster situation, Water
deserves special attention.
Water supplies are very fragile
against damage or contamination.
Water being so necessary for sur-
vival, it is crucial to include in this
project techniques to treat water.
In this chapter, these techniques
are presented.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 92
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 93
1. Importance of water
It is a known fact that life requires
water to thrive and humans specif-
cally need around 2 liters of water
to survive. This number
excludes water that is taken in the
food, also very important.
The World Health Organization plac-
es severe Dehydration at 2% loss of
body weight due to fuid losses.
After this point, proper hydration
balance requires more than simple
fuid intake and asks for special-
ized strategies. It seems clear that
the best approach to the problem
is to ensure a suffcient supply of
potable water to avoid falling into a
state of dehydration.
How much water is needed by an
individual depends greatly on a
number of factors such as gender,
age, exerted work and environmen-
tal conditions.
Besides human hydration and
cooking , water is also needed for
hygienic and sanitary purposes. Es-
pecially in a Post-Disaster situation,
where basic services are interrupt-
ed, there should be some attention
to prevent the spread of disease.
For this reason, when considering
water needs, some water must be
factored in for personal hygiene
and facilities management.
As water gets used it might require
re-treating or proper disposal.
Source: World Health Organizaton - Water Sanitaton & Health, 2002
Priorites in Water, Sanitaton and Hygiene
Clean Water
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 94
Household Water Treatment and
Storage methods are simple, de-
centralized approaches to water
management. Their applicability
is positively infuenced by their
low requirements and appreciable
effectiveness in combating water-
borne disease.
Widely advocated for non-Crisis
situations, HWTS have the potential-
ly to be used after Disaster affects
water supply.
In some situations, populations
might already be familiar with HWTS
methods, which positively infuenc-
es their application after Disaster
It is important to note that fghting
waterborne disease is much easier
than to reverse chemical or inert
contamination. HWTS techniques
typically are not capable of ad-
dressing the
second. Besides Water Treatment,
Storage also takes an important
role, more so in cases of biological
contaminants. Biological contami-
nants, due to their potential for
growth, present the biggest threat
to cross-contamination of previ-
ously treated water.
Water Storage approaches hinge on
two main principles:
1 - Identifcation of treated and
untreated water and vessels
1 - Separation of treated and
potentially untreated water and
More on Water Storage can be
found in part 10. "Water Storage"
2. Approach
There are several approaches that
can be taken to address the issue
of water supply to Disaster affected
populations. For this assignment,
Household Water Treatment and
Storage (HWTS) was chosen for its
scalability, focus on simple, easy
solutions and implementation po-
tential. The World Health Organiza-
tion (WHO) states that HWTS:
1. Dramatically improves microbial
water quality
2. Signifcantly reduces diarrhoea
3. Is among the most effective of
water, sanitation and health inter-
4. Is highly cost-effective
5. Can be rapidly deployed and
taken up by vulnerable groups.
Type of
RResources s
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 95
of reservoirs, sewer or industrial
contamination of water reserves,
among other often unforeseeable
3.2 Water Supply Condition
Water supply can be unft for hu-
man consumption in more ways
than one. It might be simply in-
suffcient, be too saline or simply
chemically and biologically contam-
inated. For each situation there are
steps to be taken that can improve
the condition of the water supply.
3.2.1 Scarce Water:
If water is in short supply,
the solution is to harness all pos-
sible sources of water. Moisture is
a possible source of water and can
be created with fresh vegetation
and water-based fuids (includ-
ing urine). The general fact is that
water is present in many other-
wise overlooked sources. It is the
scarcity of water that leads to the
tapping into alternative sources of
This project does not deal with the
collection of water.
3.2.2 Saline Water:
Fresh water has less than 1
grams of salt parts per liter, above
that limit and water becomes preju-
dicial to consume. The increased
salt contents require more meta-
bolic work to be processed and in
return, more water is consumed by
the body, accelerating dehydration
Saline water can be distilled (or be
fltrated through Reverse Osmosis)
to remove the salt content.
This will not be covered in this
3. Expected conditions
The impact of a Disaster is depen-
dent on where it takes place and
which system it affects. As a conse-
quence of this specifcity, it would
not be accurate to draw a unique
scenario with the expected condi-
tions related to water supply.
For this reason, this project is
based on two different but equally
extreme scenarios of water condi-
tions following a Disaster.
3.1 Urban setting
Urban areas require plenty of re-
sources but produce very little.
With water, the situation can be
similar, especially if a Disaster has
affected the infrastructure that
ensures the water supply of the
city. Such breakdowns could be
interruption of water lines, leaking
Type of Urban Area
Inland Urban Area
Shoreline Urban Area
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 96
3.2.3 Contaminated Water:
Water Contamination poses a seri-
ous problem in Disaster situations
not only because it is a common
occurrence, but also the character-
istic uncertainty of Disaster effects
makes it extremely hard to esti-
mate which contaminants might be
present. To further complicate mat-
ters, not all contamination is easily
addressed without complex, large
scale and highly technical methods.
A complete list of possible generic
contaminants follows
Disinfectant By-products
Inorganic Chemicals
Organic Chemicals
Radio nuclides
Of this list, all but Micro-Organism
contaminants need purifcation
technologies not practical for small
scale purifcation. Technologies
such as reverse Osmosis, Activated
Carbon, Kinetic Degradation Fluid,
Sediment Filters and Iron Reduction
Filters are not within reach for the
target population.
Although the extent of the list,
coupled with the amount of “un-
treatable” contaminants might
appear discouraging, it is important
to refer that not all these contami-
nants are necessarily present in
any given water supply.
Regardless of type of Urban area,
in Disaster situations populations
are advised to consider all available
water supplies as contaminated or
brackish , exceptions being intact
pre-packaged supplies.
Primary Concern and Treatment
Primary Concern
Method Used
Giardia species, enteric bacteria
Bacteria, Giardia species, some viruses
All enteric pathogens, inc Cryptosporidium
Unpleasant taste plus microorganisms
Tap Water
Choice of water treatment for types of water from various sources.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 97
4. Requirements
The preceding paragraphs draw
a picture of what are basic water
needs and possible Post-Disaster
conditions in relation with the sup-
ply of water. These help defne the
requirements for the selected water
procurement and treatment tech-
The suggested water procurement
and treatment techniques must:
Result in an increase of available
potable water supplies
Provide each person covered by
Preparedness efforts with a mini-
mum of 2 liters of drinking water,
scalable to a full 20 liters, for
consumption and hygiene
Guide the user in the evaluation of
water sources
Remove or inactivate biological
Eliminate or reduce particulates
Use only cheap and easily attain-
able, simple, generic materials
Require very little technical
Have application potential for
off-Disaster periods.
Source: World Health Organizaton - Water Sanitaton & Health, 2002
Water Treatment and Storage Requirements
Litle or
No Water
Uncertain Water
Unusable or
Contaminated Water
Litle technical
No Specialized
Treatment Supplies
No Specialized
Analysis Supplies
2l - 7,5l
Supply Conditon
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 98
Contaminant Type:
chemically reactive - vulnerable to
chemical interaction
Chemically inert - not vulnerable
to chemical interaction
Technical Complexity: required infrastructure
and technical know-how to operate
Resource Availability: typical resource availabil-
ity in civilian, non-technical groups
Operational Burden: operational requirements
in terms of process supervision and operating
5. Water Treatment Principles
Water treatment techniques are
based around two main principles:
Inactivation of contaminants or
Separation of contaminants.
Where the frst revolves around
changing contaminants’ structure
(killing biological contaminants
or decomposing chemicals, for
instance); the second hinges on
physically removing contaminants
from water.
Expectedly, the type of contaminant
dictates what treatment techniques
are appropriate and in some cases,
a contaminant can be addressed by
both treatment principles (e.g. Fil-
tering, killing with UV light, killing
with heat or chemicals for Giardia
Lamblia Protozoa).
Inactivation of Contaminants
Affecting the structure of a con-
taminant can be done through
chemicals, microbes, heat and
Ultra-Violet radiation. The same
principle applies to all options; the
contaminants’ chemical bonds are
affected to a point that it effectively
changes its properties and stops
being a health concern.
Treating water through this princi-
ple requires that the contaminants
themselves are liable to be affected
by such action. In cases where
contaminants are impervious to in-
activation techniques (e.g. Radon, a
radioactive water-soluble gas) they
have to be physically removed from
water altogether.
Advantages of Treatment through
Contaminant Inactivation:
Effective on some contaminants
that cannot be reliably removed
from water
Typically requires simpler infra-
structure than separation tech-
Disadvantages of Treatment trough
Contaminant Inactivation:
Used additives might be ineffec-
tive or harmful if incorrectly dosed
Additives might create unforeseen
chemical and biological products
Additives might be sensible to en-
vironmental conditions, changing
their effectiveness
Typically require some reaction
Water Treatment Principle
best suited for
Comparison Water Treatment Principles
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 99
Finally, distilling is based on the
different evaporation conditions for
different substances. As a sub-
stance evaporates before others, it
is separated from them. The evapo-
rated content can be captured and
condensed again for a more pure
result. This is a known way of treat-
ing water, that as it evaporates,
leaves impurities behind. In drink-
ing water matters, this also results
in a pure water that has no miner-
als, something that is surrounded
by some controversy related to its
effects on human health if it is the
exclusive water source for extended
periods of time.
Distilling does not remove contami-
nants that have lower evaporation
temperatures than water (e.g. Vola-
tile Organic Compounds, harmful
with long term exposures).
Separation of Contaminants
The physical removal of contami-
nants is mostly done through flter-
ing, but sedimentation/fotation
and distilling can also be consid-
ered contaminant removal tech-
niques. In the case of flters, their
porosity defnes what contaminants
are removed. Types of flters are
Activated Carbon, Reverse Osmosis
Membranes, Kinetic Degradation
Fluxion and Sand (fast or slow)
Sedimentation/Flotation separation
of contaminants is also possible
and takes advantage of the me-
chanical separation between water
and contaminants as precipitates
or as lower density foating depos-
its. In either case, the deposits are
physically removed from the treat-
ment basins.
Advantages of Treatment through
Separation of Contaminants:
Effective on some contaminants
impervious to inactivation
Involve no use of potentially
harmful additives
Tend to be faster operating that
inactivation techniques
Disadvantages of Treatment through
Separation of Contaminants:
Filter condition is crucial for
effectiveness of fltering treat-
Typically require more complex
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 100
6. Selected Water Treatment
Water being so important for sur-
vival, it recommended that one has
access to more than one method
of procuring and/or purifying water.
In this project, 4 techniques are
suggested along with guidelines to
help in the selection of the most ft
for a given environment or situa-
The requirements presented in
section “4. Requirements” are the
evaluation criteria that dictate the
suggestion of the introduced
The techniques are:
Chemical Disinfection
Solar Disinfection
All techniques should be included
in a basic water treatment cycle as
pictured on the right.
Iodine SODIS
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 101
7. Boiling
Boiling is a trusted method for kill-
ing micro-organisms in water and
has been widely used since ancient
times. What is often misunderstood
about boiling is its effectiveness,
that is higher than what most esti-
mations used to predict. A common
misunderstanding is that water
must be boiled for some time,
which is unnecessary and in fact,
Heating water up to 70˚C is enough
to instantly kill all microbes poten-
tially present in the water. Even
lower temperatures can kill all
pathogens, as long as there are
maintained for enough time, as the
graph on the left illustrates:
Boiling is the recommended meth-
od by a few major organizations
as an emergency water purifca-
tion technique. It’s effectiveness
in killing micro-organisms is only
shadowed by its high resources
Bringing water to a rolling boil is
useful in the sense that it clearly
signals a known temperature that
is above the instant pasteurization
temperature (70˚C).
Besides that, the gradual raise of
temperature up to boiling point
(and afterwards, down to drinking
temperature) means that water is
likely to be above at an high tem-
perature for some time (e.g. 15min
for 65˚C) becoming pasteurized.
Boiling is the surest way of inacti-
vating micro organisms in water, on
a household basis.
Largely used by several communi-
ties, it still has some drawbacks,
most especially its fuel needs and
presented danger.
0,3 1 3
Time (hours)

safezone saffezone
Time/Temperature Chart
Source:Feachem et al. 1983
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 102
Despite the differences in effec-
tiveness, both Chlorine and Iodine
based water treatment techniques
are described. Even less than per-
fect purifying methods are better
than no water treatment at all and
the ubiquity of Chlorine based solu-
tions is a strong reason to explain
its use. Also noteworthy, there is
evidence that long term drinking
of Iodine-treated water can bring
Thyroidal problems, problems to
iodine sensitive persons, pregnant
women and children. In fact, most
references advise for the seeking of
medical advise prior to starting to
consume iodine treated water
8. Chemical Disinfection
Another Contaminant Inactivation
technique, Chemical Disinfection
can be done several ways. For the
context of emergency water pu-
rifcation Iodine and Chlorine are
the suggested disinfectants due to
their effectiveness and availability
for the non-specialist. Chlorine and
Iodine are found diluted in bleach
and frst aid kits, respectively.
There is some confusion on ef-
fectiveness of either method, with
some sources claiming that Chlo-
rine based treatments are more
effective than Iodine based treat-
ments. Most of collected evidence
points otherwise and academic re-
sources indicate that Iodine based
treatments are more effective at
disinfecting water than Chlorine
based treatments
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 103
8.1 Chlorine Treatment (Bleach)
Chlorine (specifcally Hypochlorite)
is the major water disinfectant
used for municipal water treat-
ment and has no know toxicity or
carcinogenic effects when used for
water disinfection
In an Emergency context, Chlorine
can be used to disinfect water with
success rates superior to 99,99%
, if instructions for application,
dosage and timing are followed.
Chlorine is readily found in house-
hold bleach, a cheap and easily
accessible supply. For water dis-
infection purposes, non-scented,
non-colour-fast bleach. Non-Chlo-
rine Bleach is not appropriate for
water purifcation.
Chlorine evaporates easily and
is affected by sunlight, which is
the reason why it is always sold
in opaque containers. Household
Chlorine loses its potency and it
is recommended that open bottles
bleach to be discarded after 30
Murkiness, Cloudiness or extremely
cold water affect treatment effec-
tiveness for all chemical treatments
and in the specifc case of Chlorine,
such water characteristics call for a
doubling of the Chlorine dose
If the Chlorine in bleach concentra-
tion is not known, recommenda-
tions say to use 10 drops of bleach
per liter.
Chlorine Based Water Disinfection is
an acceptable method to inactivate
water borne pathogens. It has an
interesting combination of easy ac-
cess, low impact on human health
and almost 100% effectiveness.
Unfortunately the strong smell of
Chlorinated water often faces rejec-
tion by those who could beneft
from it, although it is expected
that during Post-Disaster situations
people will be more fexible in their
demands on water taste if clear
health advantages are understood.
A known method of improving taste
is to add instant juice powders to
the water. Tea is also an option.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 104
8.2 Iodine Treatment (Iodine)
Iodine is a more effective water
disinfection chemical than Chlorine
and under the right circumstances,
will be effective at killing patho-
gens at rates superior to 99,999%

In an typical household, Iodine can
usually be found in the frst aid
cabinet as a 2% Tincture of Iodine
preparation. Iodine is sensitive to
light and this is why, like bleach, it
also is packaged in opaque contain-
Iodine can have harmful effects
on the Thyroid, and general health
of pregnant women and children.
Even persons not especially sensi-
tive to Iodine might develop health
problems with continued drinking
of Iodated water
General recommendations on
Iodine use point towards a careful
consideration of advantages and
disadvantages of Iodine as a water
disinfectant, the seeking of medical
advise prior to the resort to Iodine
based water treatments and the
limitation of the time such treat-
ments are used.
For 2% Tincture of Iodine, the
recommended disinfection dose
is 4 drops per liter of water to be
treated. Like with Chlorine, Iodine
doses should be doubled if the wa-
ter to be treated is murky, cloudy
or very cold.
Iodine based water treatments
should not be taken lightly, given
their known impact on human
health. Their effectiveness might
outweigh these disadvantages, but
an informed decision is recom-
mended. For the scope of Disaster
Preparedness, simpler, less risky
methods do have an advantage.
The required knowledge to conf-
dently employ a method affects
that method's usability, often con-
nected with method adoption rates.
High complexity of a treatment
leads to poorer usability and hence,
lower adoption rates by target
population, rendering the system
virtually useless.
This method is presented on the
basis that it might be the only ac-
cessible method for populations
at risk and should an absence of
other resources be observed, it
could very well be a lifesaver.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 105
9. Solar Disinfection (SODIS)
Micro Organisms are vulnerable to
heat and Ultra Violet radiation, both
amply provided by the Sun. SODIS
is a method to purify water based
solely on the exposure of water to
sunlight. This method involves the
bottling of water as clear as possi-
ble in PET bottles and the exposure
of theses bottles to sunlight for at
least six hours on a sunny day
SODIS as a water treatment tech-
nique, its simplicity, low cost and
effectiveness can be initially hard
to believe. However, regardless of
innate scepticism one might have,
this method has been developed
by the Swiss Eawag: Swiss Federal
Institute of Aquatic Science and
Technology since 1991. The initial
idea of Solar Water Disinfection had
been presented for the frst time by
Aftim Acra in 1984, through UNICEF.
Laboratory tests by EAWAG took
place and having proved the ef-
fectiveness of the method in killing
all sorts of pathogens, the system
started to be feld tested in 1999.
SODIS works better with clear water,
clear skies and strong sun, but
it can also be tailored for cloudy
days, when instead of 6 hours, it
requires two full days of exposure.
As SODIS involves a continued
exposure of the water flled bottles
to the sun, one of the main con-
cerns when applying the system is
the positioning of the water to be
treated. The perfect medium in a
developing world setting is alumini-
um or corrugated iron sheets, often
used as roofng.
The SODIS project has been exten-
sively researched on several levels
besides mere water treatment,
including application, training of
instructors, cultural adaptation or
geographical distribution of sun-
light. A look into the full offcial
documentation is recommended at:
SODIS advantages are easy to
understand. Its effectiveness and
lack of needed resources is highly
If the logistical hassle of collecting
enough PET bottles is solved, this
method holds great opportunity.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 106
10. Water Storage
Biological contamination of water is
a ongoing process that cannot be
fully stopped. It can be interrupted
and contained, but any compro-
mised water source requires a full
treatment cycle before it can be
regarded as disinfected again.
For this reason, the issue of cross-
contamination is a relevant one
and strategies to avoid it should be
in place.
Household Water Treatment and
Storage, due to its small scale
and context specifcity is better
served with general guidelines that
introduce the dangers of cross-
contamination, rather than specifc
prescriptive measures.
The prepared educational materials
have a too big of a scope to allow
for a extensive description of water
storage methods. Instead, a num-
ber of simple, general advice on
the topic was presented, along with
sources for more specialized infor-
mation. You can fnd this advice on
the Appendix E.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 107
11. Sanitation and
"Major health risks due to inade-
quate excreta disposal after disas-
ters arise in urban areas following
damage to existing systems, or
when parts of a city receive large
numbers of displaced or homeless
people, so putting increased pres-
sure on facilities that may already
be under strain (...)"
As every emergency situation is dif-
ferent (e.g. nature of settlements,
available space, number of users),
what is here suggested is a number
of general guidelines to be followed
at all times, that can be easily
adapted to existing conditions.
These guidelines can be found in
Appendix E.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 108
12. Conclusions
Water being such a necessary
survival resource, it is crucial that
people have ways to get safe drink-
ing water.
This chapter proves that there are
few simple techniques that people
can use, that will disinfect contami-
nated water.
These will be included in the
educational package for Disaster
Preparedness. Even thought they
are not instructions for the making
of a product, they are quite useful
in a Disaster situation.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 109
[E1] World Health Organization, 2003, Domestic Water
Quantity, Service, Level and Health. [Online] Available
[Accessed 19/04/2010]
[E2] World Health Organization, 2007, Combat-
ing waterborne disease at the household level.
[Online] Available at:
[Accessed 19/04/2010]
[E3] Joel Garreau, 2001.” Nature’s Revenge”. The
Washington Post. [Online] Available at: http://www.
[Accessed 20/04/2010]
[E4] United States Geological Survey, 1996. Glossary
of water-use terminology - "Saline Water". [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 20/04/2010]
[E5] United States Environmental Protection Agency,
2009. Ground Water and Drinking Water - Drinking
Water Contaminants. [Online]. Available at http://
[Accessed 20/04/2010]
Home Water Purifers and Filters, 2010. Heavy Metals.
[Online]. Available at http://www.home-water-purif-
[Accessed 20/04/2010]
Home Water Purifers and Filters, 2010. Iron and Man-
ganese. [Online]. Available at http://www.home-water-
[Accessed 20/04/2010][8] United States Environmental
Protection Agency, 2009. Indoor Air Quality - Volatile
Organic Compounds. [Online]. Available at http://
[Accessed 20/04/2010]
[E6] United States Environmental Protection Agency,
2009. Ground Water and Drinking Water - Emergency
Disinfection of Drinking Water. [Online]. Available at
[Accessed 20/04/2010]
[E7] Ongerth, J. E., et al. 1989. Backcountry water
treatment to prevent giardiasis. Am. J. Public Health
[E8] Backer H.Water disinfection for international and
wilderness travelers. Clin Infect Dis 2002; 34:355–364.
[E9]Backer H.Water disinfection for international and
wilderness travelers. Clin Infect Dis 2002; 34:355–364.
[E10]Backer H.Water disinfection for international and
wilderness travelers. Clin Infect Dis 2002; 34:355–364.
[E11] Center for Disease Control & Healthcare
Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee,
2008.Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in
Healthcare Facilities. [Online]. Available at http://
[Accessed 20/04/2010]
[E12] United States Environmental Protection Agency,
2009. Ground Water and Drinking Water - Emergency
Disinfection of Drinking Water. [Online]. Available at
[Accessed 20/04/2010]
[E13] Kahn FH, Visscher, 1975. BR: Water disinfection
in the wilderness-A simple, effective method of iodi-
nation (Information).West J Med 122:450-453
[E14] Pearce EN, Gerber AR, Gootnick DB, et al. Effects
of chronic iodineexcess in a cohort of long-term
American workers in West Africa. J Clin. Endocrinol
Metab 2002;87:5499 –502
[E15] Swiss Federal Institute of Environmental Science
and Technology (EAWAG) & Department of Water and
Sanitation in Developing Countries (SANDEC), 2002.
Solar Water Disinfection - A guide for the application
of SODIS. [Online]. Available at
[Accessed 20/04/2010]
[E16] World Health Organization, 2002, Environmen-
tal health in emergencies and disasters: a practical
guide. [Online] Available at:
[Accessed 11/05/2010]
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 110
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 111
Importance of Food; Approach; Expected Conditions;
Requirements; Coping Strategies; Rocket Stove; Conclusions
More Disaster resilient than water
supplies, food is still object of
concern after a Catastrophe.
If the target for this project were
not so destitute, it could be sug-
gested that people stocked up on
food. However this is not possible.
Instead of focusing on the stocking
up of supplies, I suggest the
making of an effcient stove.
In this chapter you can fnd out
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 112
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 113
1. Importance of Cooking
Physiologically speaking, food
needs come in third after Shelter
and Water. This is refected in its
given emphasis on this project.
Besides this physiological aspect,
food and food preparation also play
a big part in domestic fnances and
social life.
Cooking can occupy a signifcant
part of a family's budget, not only
with ingredients, but also with the
fuel and related products.
Since it is not expected that people
in the BoP can stock up on food
supplies, the selected approach is
suggest faster, more effcient ways
of cooking. This is done through
the suggestion of a special kind of
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 114
2. Approach
Because of the lack of disposable
income and chronic food shortages
faced by the target group, Food
Preparedness cannot hinge on the
stocking of resources.
It is unrealistic to expect that poor
people that often struggle for daily
food, will set reserves aside for a
possible (not certain) upcoming
To address this problem, it was
decided to improve people's food
situation through the providing of
better cooking conditions, instead
of through saving of cooking ingre-
dients or instruments.
The fabrication and use of a "Rock-
et Stove" are proposed.
A "Rocket Stove" consumes less
frewood and can be smokeless,
which allows for healthty indoor
use The stove can be produced by
a household with common supplies
often found in the garbage.
Also, once its operating principles
are understood, it his a simple
technology to reproduce and adapt.
It has ample Off-Disaster applica-
tion potential, leading to possible
branching effects on people's lives.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 115
3. Expected Conditions
Food supplies are more Disaster
Resilient that water supplies. Food
storage typically resists better than
water (e.g. a burst box will keep
some of its contents). This means
that food supplies do not immedi-
ately disappear in a Disaster Occur-
3.1 little available food for
immediate consumption
There is however, a problem. Also
as mentioned before, the target
populations usually have very little
available food and any surviving re-
sources are likely to be consumed
within few days (if more than one).
Stocking up at the household level
is extremely diffcult and external
aid approaches might be necessary.
3.3. Poor cooking conditions
On the other side, for those who
have food, cooking can be a chal-
lenge for other reasons. One of
those is the need for cooking fuel,
that after a Disaster might have low
availability. As an example, in Haiti,
after the 2010 earthquake, a short-
age of cooking fuel was felt.
Fuel is only a problem, assuming
that stoves or ovens are in place.
This is not always the case, as
sometimes families abandon their
previous homes leaving them be-
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 116
4. Requirements
The described approach and con-
ditions for the preparing of food
create a picture of what is expected
from any proposed solution.
The suggested solutions for food
preparation must:
Create cooking capacity after a
Disaster Situation
Allow for scalability and adapta-
Use as least materials and re-
sources as possible
Require little technical knowledge
Have application potential outside
Disaster settings
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 117
5. Coping Strategies
Fabrication of cooking aids after the
onset of Disaster is possible, but
hardly the most effective way of
achieving best results. The urgency
of the situation and the potential
lack of specifc resources hinders
the process. Making the stoves
prior to the Disaster is the recom-
mended strategy.
The presented stove design re-
quires virtually no tools other than
a way to cut tin. This means that
theoretically any family could do it
at home. There is however, a ad-
vantage is working with established
groups (e.g. schools, hospitals,
churches and community sessions).
Not only centralized material gath-
ering can help in getting some sup-
plies, a more effcient way of tool
sharing can be in place.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 118
6. Rocket Stove
The Rocket Stove is a design by Dr.
Larry Winiarski, that started devel-
oping it in 1982 for the Approvecho
Research Center, in Oregon, US.
It was developed from the begin-
ning to be an alternative to inef-
fcient stoves that require logs of
wood to operate. Designed to be
easy to produce and cheap to ob-
tain, it is a perfect ft for develop-
ing countries.
The rocket stove is a characterized
for having an heavily insulated
chimney, and a very focused deliv-
ery of heat.
By keeping the chimney insulated
from the outside, less heat is lost
through the chimney. This heated
chamber heats up the air, com-
pletely burning the fuel. The heated
air is focused on the pot and as it
travels upwards, more fresh air is
sucked in into the stove, fueling
the fre.
The focusing effect of the chimney
is also benefcial for the heating
of pots and pans, meaning that no
heat escapes, as it happens with
an open fre.
The Rocket Stove design takes ad-
vantage of the fact that a low mass
stove will not suck in the heat
generated by the fre (as opposed
as with an heavy, dense stove).
This design allows for more ef-
fcient combustion and therefore,
lower fuel needs. Because the
heated chimney burns away the
smoke, a well made rocket stove
can be used indoors with no nega-
tive health effects.
Source: Aprovecho Research Center
Rocket Stove Functoning
cooking pot
hot air flow
fresh air inlet
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 119
The Rocket stove can be made from
different materials and is eas-
ily adapted. Its size and building
blocks can be changed and once
the general principle is understood,
people can iterate on the design.
The insulation between the chim-
ney and the body of the stove can
be made of several materials. The
only rules to remember is that
trapped air is the best insulator,
this means using less than perfect
insulating materials, such as clay.
In said cases, it helps if the insula-
tion is mixed with hay or hollow
weeds, cane, etc.
Rocket stoves are adaptable and
scalable because changing their
architecture or size, while keeping
the insulated chimney principle will
make the result just as effective.
and materials with a large thermal
mass will absorb a lot of heat.
For this reason, sand or clay are
not good insulators. Chimneys in-
sulated with them will lose a lot of
heat to them. Wood ash is the rec-
ommended insulation, if kept dry.
When making stoves from alterna-
tive materials, sometimes one will
be forced to adapt. In some cases
A good rocket stove will only need
minimal fuel (e.g. twigs, wood
Rocket Stoves have been exten-
sively introduced in developing
countries with success. Because
their innovation does not disrupt
old habits (like a Solar oven does,
for instance), people are quicker to
adopt it.
I made a rocket stove from simple
materials that can be expected
to be found in most developing
countries. This experiment 1s a
benchmark for the teaching of the
technique. My used materials are
described between brackets.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 120
7. Conclusions
It took me roughly one hour to fab-
ricate the stove (which have cost
roughly 7 Euro because I used new
supplies to make it). When testing
it, it took some iterations on the
design (reducing space between
chimney and bottom of pot, bend-
ing top of stove inwards to create
pot support and focusing fame
with the chimney cover).
When everything had been opti-
mized the system was quite ef-
fcient, bringing 1,5l of water to
a rolling boil within 10 minutes.
It required around 0,5kg of wood
pieces to do so.
The Rocket stove is a good cooking
device that can actually be used
outside Disaster circumstances. Its
simple requirements and construc-
tion allow for the teaching of its
fabrication and local production,
both before and after the Disaster.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 121
A1] Survival Topics, 2010. How Long can you live
without food [Online]. Available at http://www.
[Accessed 24/05/2010]
[F1] The Institute for Business & Home Safety, 2009.
Vulnerable Populations [Online]. Available at http://
[Accessed 16/03/2010]
[F2] World Food Program/ Womens Refugee Commis-
sion., 2010. Cooking Fuel Needs in Haiti:A Rapid As-
sessment [Online]. Available at http://www.reliefweb.
[Accessed 24/05/2010]
[F3] Visíon Mundial, 2008. Testimonies - Families from
Villa Victoria Visit their Flooded Community [online].
Available at
[Accessed 24/05/2010]
[F4] Aprovecho Research Center, 2009. ARC's History
[Online]. Available at
[Accessed 24/05/2010]
[F5] Appropriate Technology Encyclopedia, 2009.
CCAT Rocket Stove[Online]. Available at http://www.
[Accessed 24/05/2010]
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 122
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 123
Introduction; Importance of Communications; Radios as means to communicate;
Approach; Type of radio; Institutions; Conclusions
In Post-Disaster situations, having
access to updated information is of
the highest importance.
Unlike other areas contained in this
project, having access to
Communication means does not
hinge on the making of products or
individually applicable techniques,
but on the request for external
In this chapter, the approach to
the acquisition of radio devices is
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 124
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 125
1. Importance of
A common characteristic that
Communications have with the
other presented Disaster Prepared-
ness capabilities, is that they can
be useful even before a Disaster
In fact, access to good and ftting
information can mean more aware-
ness to impending risks and more
knowledge on how to mitigate and
avoid such risks.
In a Disaster situation, three types
of information are often useful:
Description of Disaster
Post-Disaster advice
Assistance information
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 126
It is common that early warnings
are sent out from "traditional"
media outlets (e.g. radio and
television), merging seamlessly
with people's daily routines, where
such means of communication are
already in use.
It goes without saying that when
people do not have access to
updated, meaningful information,
they are much more likely to be
taken by surprise by a Disaster.
This possibility of constant alert-
ness to the hazards of Disaster
merges nicely with the Disaster Pre-
paredness requirement of "staying
informed", as outlined in chapter E
"Disaster Preparedness"
After the Disaster, Communications
gain a more urgent character as
they provide a channel for the com-
munication of still ongoing threats
(e.g. aftershocks of an Earthquake),
characteristics of the past Disaster
and available Assistance.
It is easy to understand that infor-
mation about what sort of Disaster
affected the community and what
problems might still be present,
can help people in making their
own evaluation of the situation.
The availability of accurate infor-
mation empowers people to take
decisions on their future conduct,
with the confdence of being well
The availability of assistance and
plans for future assistance are also
relevant, as they guide people in
selecting the best courses of action
(e.g. stay or evacuate, where to
evacuate, what to take and so on).
In a nutshell, proper communica-
tions allow people to receive useful
information that will let them take
immediate and near-future deci-
sions more confdently.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 127
2. Radios as means to
In emergency situations, radio is a
favorite communication medium.
Virtually all advice in Disaster Pre-
paredness recommends the posses-
sion of a radio to be able to receive
Post-Disaster information.
Radios have a few advantages over
other means of communication:
- Radio devices are relatively
cheap to acquire, operate and
- Radio emissions are relatively
cheap and fast to produce (when
compared with other real-time
means of communication)
- Radio signals can reach a lot of
people at the same time, with no
blocking of signal due to overloads
- Radio information can be trans-
mitted in real-time, allowing for
last minute updates and the
immediate correction of obsolete
- Radios can reach illiterate and
blind people
Unfortunately, when compared
with other techniques/products
described in this project, radios are
the most technically complex, very
likely to be outside the fabrication
capabilities of our target group.
It is also considered that if a per-
son has the means and the knowl-
edge to build a radio, it would be
cheaper and more reliable to actu-
ally buy one.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 128
3. Approach
Due to the increased complexity of
radios, very diffcult to assemble by
our target population, a different
approach is followed in this sec-
The objective is to make sure
people have access to radios and it
is irrelevant if they are or not made
by their future users.
As there are several institutions
that dedicate themselves to the
distribution of radio devices to
populations in need, I suggest their
The suggested way for people go
about acquiring their radios for
Disaster Preparedness is to request
help from local or external institu-
tions that have such capacity,
To this end, in the booklet "Make
Yourself Ready", the section de-
voted to Communications contains
contact information and advice on
how to use such contact informa-
The included contacts are those of
some institutions that work directly
with the provision of radio listening
devices to those in need.
This advice is based on preparation
and serious assessment of needs,
to lend seriousness and trans-
parency to the communities that
request help.
One can say that although people
are not directly responsible for the
assembly of the radios, they are
responsible for the running of the
radio requesting initiative.
Worth of noting is that, because
one radio can be used simultane-
ously by several people and it can
be a signifcant investment, its
sharing is encouraged.
For full details on the suggested
method for the requesting of ra-
dios, please consult Appendix G
Approach to the providing of Radios
Base of the
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 129
4. Type of Radio
This project is directed to the Base
of the Pyramid and acknowledges
its challenges. Some of these
challenges are related to a lack of
stable power supply ( voiding the
use of rechargeable batteries) and
also to the conditions that these
devices are expected to face (e.g.
extreme temperatures, low support
and unexperienced users).
Naturally, radios destined for the
Base of the Pyramid must be
sturdy, reliable and forgiving. Also,
they should be able to pick up a
wide assortment of frequencies in
several spectrums (AM and FM).
Additionally, the power supply of
such radios should allow for off-the
-grid charging and preferably, in
more than one way.
Luckily there are already plenty
of such radios on the market. Not
coincidentally, these are the most
often offered by the institutions
that distribute such products.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 130
5. Suggested Institutions
The institutions that are suggested
as possible providers or radios are
the following:
Lifeline Energy
Send a Radio (from FEBA)
Ears to our world
Farm Radio International
The frst three more directly in-
volved with the physical distribu-
tion of radio devices. The fourth
works mostly with the providing of
radio show scripts to improve edu-
cation of agricultural practices. It
might an useful contact in periods
of recovery or mitigation.
5.3 Ears to our world
Ears to our World is an humanitar-
ian organization that specializes in
the distribution of radio technolo-
gies to individuals, primarily chil-
dren and teachers, in the develop-
ing world.
While its primary focus is on
schools, its reach now encom-
passes other community facilities,
the visually impaired, and, when
required, disaster relief.
5.1 Lifeline Energy
Lifeline Energy is mainly active in
Africa and has been mostly associ-
ated with helping the information
needs for Agriculture, Education,
Emergencies, Enterprise, Environ-
ment, Health and Peacemaking.
In the past, Lifeline Energy was
known as “Freeplay Foundation”.
5.2 Send a Radio
Send a Radio is an initiate where
people can pay for radios to be
offered to those in need. In this
case, it would mean that somebody
would be offering a radio and the
Send a Radio project would make
it reach the people that need it the
5.4 Farm Radio International
Farm Radio International is a differ-
ent type of institutions as it does
not directly provide people with
radios. What it does is to provide
radio content in the form of scripts
and information on agricultural
practices that can help people in
their agricultural work.
Its action is best felt before a Di-
saster, even for so-called “normal
life”. The information it provides
allows people to be more effcient
in planning, growing and harvesting
their agricultural products.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 131
6. Conclusions
A deviation from other ways of
guaranteeing access to the neces-
sary supplies, the requesting of
radios is proposed.
Main advantages of such approach
are the smaller economical burden
and the more reasonable expecta-
tions of future user's behavior.
One can say that if an user is con-
cerned on how can he or she ac-
quire a radio for Disaster Prepared-
ness purposes (and others, during
pre-Disaster times), it means that
in his context, the devices are not
available in enough numbers or at
a competitive price.
These eventual obstacles led me
to provide ways for people to get
Radios in a perhaps more realistic
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 132
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 133
[G1] San Francisco Department of Emergency Manage-
ment. 2008. 72 manual [Online] Available
{Accessed 30/04/2010]
[G2] Lifeline Energy, 2010, Lifeline Radio. [Online] Avail-
able at:
[Accessed 11/05/2010]
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 134
Educational Package
Education Approach Page 137
Designed Manuals Page 157

1. Introduction
The educational nature of this
project is fully explained in this
section. It begins with a descrip-
tion of what is the approach to the
education of the BoP populations
and then presents the resulting
designed manuals.
This approach considers the roles
of a potential educator, recom-
mended methods to implement
education activities and appropriate
design of instruction manuals.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 137
Education Approach
Introduction; Educational Approach; Teaching Disaster Preparedness;
Tools for the Educator; Supporting Theories
The focus this project has on the
transference of knowledge requires
a basic understanding of
educational theory to be pertinent.
In this chapter, the general educa-
tion approach is described, along
with supporting theories.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 138
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 139
can be use to build and procure
the needed Disaster Preparedness
Due to the specifcities of each
possible application cultural con-
text, it also became necessary to
include advice for non specialists
in Disaster Education, to be able to
make arrangements for the teach-
ing of the previously mentioned
that reduces the requirements for
people to prepare for Disaster.
These requirements are of means,
knowledge and motivation. To
increase access to Disaster Pre-
paredness material means, one can
propose simpler, cheaper solutions,
which in turn will work towards an
increase in motivation to prepare
(it stops being acceptable to think
“Disaster Preparedness is outside
my reach”)
To improve people's about Disasters
and Disaster Preparedness knowl-
edge, one can propose the transfer
of useful knowledge to the popula-
In effect, this results in my pro-
posal being an education package
that covers the teaching of basic
Disaster Preparedness theory and
the teaching of techniques that
1. Introduction
From the study of Disasters it was
concluded that there was a need
for Disaster Preparedness solu-
tions for typically neglected and
underprivileged populations. From
the study of these populations, it
became evident that their main
problems in preparing were those
of access to information and re-
sources for Disaster Preparedness.
From the study of Disaster Pre-
paredness solutions, it was clear
that traditional approaches to Di-
saster Preparedness were excluding
neglected populations that are not
being materially supported by the
state and/or external institutions.
To effectively design Disaster Pre-
paredness solutions for these poor
and uneducated populations, it
is necessary to take an approach
Educatonal Approach
Cultural Interface
Base of the
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 140
2. Educational Approach
Based on the previous explanation,
the selected Educational Approach
is two-tiered:
The teaching of product making
techniques instead of design of
specifc product solutions
The teaching of education
techniques for those who will be
responsible for the teaching of the
material solutions.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 141
solutions in the form of informa-
tion. This removes the challenge of
funding, logistical costs and appro-
priateness of an external solution
to a new context. It replaces these
challenges with the obligation that
the people that receive the infor-
mation, must be responsible for the
making of the proposed products.
It is believed that the suggested
techniques, explained in the book-
let "Make Yourself Ready", are sim-
ple and cheap enough to be acces-
sible enough for the people in the
Base of the Pyramid. To reinforce
this belief, there is the empirically
proven improvisation capability of
those who live with very little.
To teach the material making tech-
niques to the people, a visually-rich
technical manual was designed.
2.1 Teaching product making
Specifed product solutions for Di-
saster Preparedness by those in the
Base of the Pyramid pose a prob-
lem of accessibility. Any product so-
lution will need to be acquired by
or given to the people that need it.
This creates logistical problems that
leave out more isolated popula-
tions, but also requires more funds
to be implemented. Any product
design solution will have to be pro-
duced, and this means costs. These
cannot be support by those in the
Base of the Pyramid and also limit
how much governments and other
institutions can help the people in
Teaching product making tech-
niques, on the other hand, allows
for a simpler, cheaper transfer of
Cultural Interface Agent
Base of the
Cultural Interface
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 142
2.2 Teaching educational techniques
Teaching techniques, instead of
suggesting the acquisition of prod-
ucts does ease the access of poor
people to Disaster Preparedness
solutions. However, this teaching of
techniques is usually not straight-
forward between different cultures.
Since the cultural context where
the information was compiled (The
Netherlands, 2010) is different from
the expected contexts where the
information will be consulted (re-
gions in the Base of the Pyramid,
unknown period), one can assume
that it is not enough to present the
information in a static way.
It becomes necessary for the
people who will beneft from these
techniques, to translate (not only
in language terms) into contents
that they can understand. This
translation requires a shared cul-
tural interface between the writing
of the suggested technical manual
(“Make Yourself Ready”) and the
teaching of its contents to the poor,
mostly uneducated and radically
different populations in the Base of
the Pyramid.
Because people in the Base of the
Pyramid are often illiterate or inex-
perienced with technical informa-
tion presented as the written and
a religious leader, a civic leader, a
representative of the government
or another external institution).
This person might not be ex-
perienced in teaching Disaster
Preparedness. In fact, this per-
son might not be experienced in
teaching whatsoever. To allow for
non specialists to teach the prod-
uct making techniques previously
described, an Educator's Guidebook
drawn form (probably being more
used to empirical teaching meth-
ods), the shared cultural interface
cannot be expected to be a stereo-
typical individual from the BoP.
Someone more accustomed to writ-
ten and drawn technical advice,
that at the same time, can com-
municate with people from the BoP,
is necessary. This person can be a
local cultural elite (e.g. a teacher,
was designed. Its name is “Educa-
tor's Guidebook” is a companion to
the technical manual “Make Your-
self Ready”.
Implementaton Method
Organize Research
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 143
3. Teaching Disaster
There is a suggested method for
the using of these educational
resources. It is partly inspired by
existing guidelines for the estab-
lishment of educational activities
The suggested method is:
This method has 5 steps, initiated
by someone responsible for the
education of the community in
terms of Disaster Preparedness.
3.2 Organize
In this frst step, there is a focus
on creating working conditions
for the rest of the duration of the
project. This means the creation
of preliminary objectives (prior to
Research), an assessment of avail-
able resources (in terms of time,
people, funding and material), like
INEE proposes.
This step is purposely left open,
with no prescriptive account of
steps, but with the above sugges-
tions for tasks.
At the end of this step, there is
some information (e.g. some of
the available resources) and some
assumptions (e.g. people in the
community are not prepared for
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 144
3.2 Research
At this stage, the future educator
has some assumptions in regards
to his/her community knowledge
about Preparedness, its educational
level and what are the education
conditions. It is time to assess
these objectively. For this purpose,
the educator can use the “What are
the Education conditions” question-
naire, found at part E5 of the “Edu-
cator's Guidebook”. Also available
and useful at this stage is the “How
is the local culture” questionnaire,
that will allow for a culturally sensi-
tive adaptation of educational strat-
egies. Naturally, it is still necessary
to work on getting the cooperation
of other participants that can help
with their time, infuence, knowl-
edge or resources.
At the end of this step, there is
This is a good moment to involve
the community, via some selected
There is also a possibility for the
need of appropriate educational
material (e.g. rehearsing an educa-
tive play).
At the end of this stage, there are
strategies and outlines of the next
two phases
some confrmed information and
advice on how to use such infor-
mation to plan better educational
3.3 Plan
Armed with the collected informa-
tion, this is the moment where
the educator, preferably working in
a group, will determine what are
the best ways to reach the people
in the community with Disaster
Preparedness advice and the tech-
niques in the booklet “Make Your-
self Ready”.
Such planning should consider
what are the educational starting
points, who will cooperate in the
teaching of people, if there is a
necessity to gather materials and
tools before, what is are the sched-
uled periods for teaching and the
teaching spaces.
3.4 Make
Closer to the end, now it is time
to make the necessary arrange-
ments for the activities planned in
the previous stage. This includes
the reservation of space for the
educational event (e.g. the local
school or even an outside area in
the community). It is also now that
educational material is prepared,
based on what was concluded from
the research phase.
At the end of this step, there are
ready materials for the teaching of
Disaster Preparedness.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 145
3.5 Educate
This is the fnal phase in the pro-
cess. In this phase, the educator
will teach the community on Disas-
ter Preparedness and its associated
techniques. This is the moment
where the educational materials is
used and its effectiveness tested.
Should the previous steps have
been properly followed, there is a
good chance that people will cap-
ture some of the knowledge. As in
traditional schooling, there are ad-
vantages to the repeating of learn-
ing opportunities, with the added
beneft that much of the research
and planning work is already done.
At the end of this phase, people
should be more familiar with Di-
saster Preparedness and the tech-
niques suggested in “Make Yourself
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 146
4. Tools for the Educator
To empower to future educators,
it became necessary to suggest a
way to ensure a ft between the
suggested techniques and the
communities that will be taught
such techniques. The “Educator's
Guidebook” present basic notions
of cultural differences and their
effects on learning. To make this
information useful, two assessment
tools were designed.
The frst assessment tool was a
questionnaire to gauge cultural
dimensions and extract conclusions
on their effect for students' prefer-
ences regarding teaching/learning.
The second assessment tool was
another questionnaire that intend
on shedding light on what are the
Educational Conditions of the com-
Both questionnaires were designed
to be simple and indicative, rather
than extensive and authoritative.
These questionnaires bridge the lo-
cal context and educational theo-
4.1 Cultural Assessment
(“How is the local culture”)
This questionnaire presents the
educator with fve groups of ques-
tions, each group covering a Cultur-
al Dimension that has been associ-
ated with cultural teaching/learning
preferences. Each of the fve groups
contains four simple questions that
the educator must answer based
on his knowledge of observable
customs in the community.
At the end of the questionnaire,
there is a interpretation guide, that
helps the educator to understand
the implications of the results for
structuring of teaching activities.
4.2 Education Conditions
(“How are the education condi-
This second assessment tool has
three groups of questions, focused
on three areas:
What people in the community
think about Disaster Preparedness
What is the educational level of
people in the community
How is the educational system in
the community
Again, this questionnaire is not
an extensive probe into the topic
of education. It is a simple aid to
orient the educator's study of the
educational conditions around him/
The groups are subdivided in
smaller subgroups, according to
the type of question and option for
Like the frst questionnaire, this is
also accompanied by an interpreta-
tion guideline, that nudge the edu-
cator in extracting the most useful
While the frst questionnaire is
more useful to adapt teaching
approaches, this second question-
naire is more appropriate to get a
picture of what are the expected
conditions for hypothetical future
educational efforts (in the topic of
Disaster Preparedness).
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 147
5.1.1 Collectivism
Collectivism is related to how
people of a culture relate to each
other. Its opposite is “Individual-
ism”. A culture might be more
inclined towards “Collectivism” or
“Individualism”. In Collectivistic
Cultures, people tend to belong to
groups (e.g. family, caste, neigh-
bourhood, etc) that are very close.
People in Collectivistic societies will
consider their groups as a major
factor of their personal identity.
In individualistic societies, the op-
posite happens. People are more
independent and while they also
belong to groups, groups are not
their main identity. In individual-
istic societies, people look after
themselves (and immediate family)
and expect others to do the same.
attention to specifc areas where
cultures are known to diverge
and it also allows the educator to
“evaluate” his/her current cultural
The used dimensions are not those
of Gert Hofstede
, but those of
Globe Study, by Sage. These
dimensions are:
Power Distance
Future Orientation
Gender Egalitarianism
Humane Orientation
Uncertainty Avoidance
Performance Orientation
5. Supporting theories
Due to the breadth of the goals
for this project, it was necessary
to resort to supporting theories to
inform the educational suggestions
that were made in the "Educator's
These were:
Cultural Dimensions
A model for learning
Experiential Learning Theory
Learning Styles
5.1 Cultural Dimensions
The notion of Cultural Dimensions
as culture characterizing assets
was introduced in the “Educator's
Guidebook”. It is presented for two
reasons: It draws the educator's
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 148
and will not have much of an active
voice in community decision mak-
5.1.5 Humane Orientation
Humane Orientation has to do with
a culture’s appreciation of benevo-
lence, kindness and generosity.
Putting others above oneself is
considered to be a good and noble
thing to do and a valued character-
istic in people.
At the same time, in highly humane
oriented cultures, self-enhance-
ment can sometimes be consid-
ered merely self serving and self
gratifying and hence, little humane
Competition, personal success and
ambition are on the natural oppo-
site of Humane Orientation.
life. Instead of setting goals and
plans, people are more likely to be
infexible and do things the same
way, regardless of changing circum-
5.1.4 Gender Egalitarianism
Gender Egalitarianism can be
understood as how equal are Men
and Women in a society, regarding
their rights and obligations. Natu-
rally, cultures that are more gen-
der egalitarian will allow women a
greater freedom and equal access
to education and work.
On the opposite side are cultures
that have a low Gender Egalitarian-
ism score. In these, Women and
Men do not do the same work and
there are divisions on what is con-
sidered to be appropriate for either
sex. Women are usually limited to
taking care of the home and family
5.1.3 Future Orientation
Future Orientation is how much
people in a certain culture encour-
age behavior that is focused on
the future and not on the present
situation, like planning or sav-
ing money. Cultures with a strong
Future Orientation will promote
the delaying of instant gratifca-
tion versus impulsive action (e.g.
saving for a better house, instead
of spending money on immediate
pleasure). Also, cultures that score
high in Future Orientation usually
see material success (e.g. getting
rich or having plenty of posses-
sions ) on the same level of spiri-
tual realization (e.g. being happy
and fulflled).
On the opposite, where Future Ori-
entation is low, people do not save
as much and have a less planned
5.1.2 Power Distance
Power Distance is related to how
much people of a Culture will ac-
cept an unbalanced distribution of
power among its people. While in
some Cultures, everybody is seen
as equal to the others, with similar
rights and duties; in other Cultures,
different people have different priv-
ileges and responsibilities. One can
say that the “Power Distance” is
lower in the frst example (because
everybody has the same “Power”);
and higher in the second example
(because there is a difference in
how much power people have).
A simple indicator of an high
Power Distance in a culture is when
people of that culture occupy the
same social position during all their
lives because their are not allowed
to achieve a greater status.
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5.1.8 Performance Orientation
Performance Orientation refects
how much a culture cherishes and
rewards innovation, high quality of
work and constant improvement.
Cultures that have a high score
for Performance Orientation have
a preference for demanding objec-
tives that will take one out of his/
her comfort zone and accomplish
better results. Time is seen as
linear, mono chronic and a sense or
urgency is also common
Where Performance Orientation
is low, the opposite is observed.
People tend to prefer a pleasurable
take on life, less competitive and
more collectivistic.
people are more important that
achieved results.
5.1.7 Uncertainty Avoidance
Uncertainty Avoidance involves
the extent to which, in a culture,
vagueness is tolerated. Cultures
with an high Uncertainty Avoid-
ance, try to reduce the amount
of ambiguity and undefned situ-
ations. This happens through the
implementation of formalities and
procedures. These cultures usually
resist change and take risks only
after some moderate thinking.
Cultures with a low Uncertainty
Avoidance are much more open
to new, unfamiliar situations and
are more keen on taking risks.
Work and private life may not be
as “scripted” as in the uncertainty
avoiding cultures and people en-
courage a more risk-taking attitude.
5.1.6 Assertiveness
Assertiveness is the measure of
how much a culture supports the
belief that people should be tough,
aggressive and persistent in their
efforts to achieve success. Cultures
where assertiveness is high, people
have respect for the strong and
successful and competition is seen
in a good way, as it forces people
to achieve and fght for their objec-
tives. In these societies, there is a
belief that one can control his/her
reality and results are more impor-
tant than relationships.
There is, obviously, the other side
of the scale, where people prefer
to avoid confrontation and accept
life as it is presented to them. For
people that are not very assertive,
persistence in the face of adversity
is sometimes seen as pointless and
A model for learning
Inputs Outputs Transfer Conditon
Source: adapted from Baldwin and Ford, 1988
Capability to learn
Belief in own capability
Principles of learning
Training Content
Training Delivery
Cognitve Style
and Retenton
Educaton Context
Support from teachers
Support from colleagues
Opportunity to apply
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 150
5.2 A model for learning
To inform the educator in what fac-
tors infuence learning and reten-
tion, a model from Baldwin and
, focused on the transfer of
training was used. This model hold
that there are three types of factors
that infuence learning and reten-
tion of knowledge. These are:
Student Characteristics
Education Characteristics
Education Context Characteristics
This model is included so that the
educator can have a reference for
what areas he/she can work on, to
ensure effective transfer of knowl-
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 151
5.2.3 Education Context
Teaching/Learning are part of a
process, which why so many fac-
tors infuence it. The Environment
where these take place also has
an importance. This environment
is not just the physical place (e.g.
class room), but the more general
social ambient that surrounds peo-
ple when they are being educated.
There are a few factors that infu-
ence the education environment:
Support from teachers
Support from colleagues
Opportunity to use knowledge
5.2.2 Education Characteristics
It is easy to understand that the
way you teach something will infu-
ence how well people will learn it.
This is why people teach different
things in different ways. A father
will teach a son how to fsh, by
taking him with him and showing
the child how it is done. A teacher
teaches mathematics with lessons
and exercises. You can see exam-
ples of this all around you.
The following list shows what
things affect the Educational meth-
ods the most:
Principles of Learning
Training Content
Training Delivery
Cognitive Style
5.2.1 Students Characteristics
Teaching something to a student
that is motivated, curious and posi-
tive is much different than teaching
a student that does not want to
learn, is indifferent to what is being
taught and does not believe in his
ability to learn or extract anything
useful from what is being present-
ed. The following characteristics are
important to ensure in a student:
Minimum level of capability to
Belief in own capability for learn-
Motivation and interest in learning
Involvement with the education
Experiental Learning Theory
Ass|m||anng Converging
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 152
Experiencing modes:
Abstract Conceptualization
Concrete Experience
Conversion modes:
Refective Observation
Active Experimentation
According to this theory, learning
happens in a cycle, where expe-
riencing and conversion modes
alternate between each other. There
is not one possible “entry point”
or “exit point” in the cycle. Rather
than this, learning can start at any
of the experiencing modes and
complete a cycle (going through the
remaining conversion modes and
experiencing mode).
5.3 Experiential Learning Theory
David Kolb
has identifed Learn-
ing style preferences, listed in his
Kolb's Learning Style Inventory
. These learnings styles have
been associated with personal and
cultural characteristics. This means
that it possible to suggest a teach-
ing approach that is more adequate
to a certain cultural context, pro-
vided that one characterizes such
context (done with the assessment
To understand Learning Styles, it is
necessary to understand the under-
laying Experiential Learning Theory,
also advanced by Kolb. This theory
holds that all learning is in fact,
the conversion of experiences into
knowledge. The theory advances
that there are two experiencing
modes and two conversion modes.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 153
5.4.1 Assimilating
People that like to learn in this
way, prefer a concise, logical ap-
proach. Ideas and concepts are
more important than people. These
people require good clear explana-
tion rather than practical opportu-
They are very good at understand-
ing very varied information and
organizing it a clear logical format.
People with an Assimilating learn-
ing style are less focused on people
and more interested in ideas and
abstract concepts. The fnd abstract
topics more interesting than practi-
cal knowledge.
5.4.2 Converging
People that prefer this approach
to learning like to solve new prob-
lems. They like to think about solu-
5.4.4 Accommodating
People with a preference for this
learning style like to use other
people’s analysis, and prefer to
take a practical, experiential ap-
proach. They are attracted to new
challenges and experiences, and to
carrying out plans. They commonly
act on ‘gut’ instinct rather than
logical analysis.
People with an Accommodating
learning style will tend to rely on
others for information than carry
out their own analysis. This learn-
ing style is prevalent and useful
in roles requiring action and initia-
tive. People with an Accommodat-
ing learning style prefer to work
in teams to complete tasks. They
set targets and actively work in
the feld trying different ways to
achieve an objective.
5.4 Kolb's Learning Styles
Personality and cultural character-
istics defne what experiencing and
conversion modes are preferred.
There are four possible combina-
Abstract Conceptualization +
Refective Observation
= Assimilating
Abstract Conceptualization +
Active Experimentation
= Converging
Concrete Experience +
Refective Observation
= Diverging
Concrete Experience +
Active Experimentation
= Accommodating
tions and then try those solutions.
These people fnd technical issues
more important than human issues
(e.g. the need to solve the problem
is more important that saving face)
and are best at fnding practical
use for ideas and theories.
These people like the idea of spe-
cialization and the opportunity to
test real-life situations.
5.4.3 Diverging
People with a Diverging learning
style have plenty of cultural inter-
ests and like to gather information.
They are interested in people, tend
to be imaginative and emotional,
and tend to be strong in the arts.
People with the Diverging style
prefer to work in groups, to listen
with an open mind and to receive
personal feedback.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 154
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 155
[H1] Royer, James M. (1979) Theories of the transfer of
learning. Educational Psychologist, 14, 53-69.
[H2] World Health Organization. 2007.How to improve
the us of medicines by consumers [Online] Avail-
able at:
{Accessed 15/07/2010]
[H3] Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergen-
cies. 2010. Minimum Standards for Education [Online]
Available at:
{Accessed 12/07/2010]
[H4] Geert Hofstede, Cultural differences in teaching
and learning, International Journal of Intercultural Re-
lations, Volume 10, Issue 3, 1986, Pages 301-320, ISSN
[H5] Robert J. House, Paul J. Hanges, Mansour Javidan,
Peter W. Dorfman, and Vipin Gupta. Culture, Leader-
ship and Organizations: The GLOBE Study of 62 Societ-
ies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2004
[H6] Baldwin, T.T., & Ford, K.J. (1988). Transfer of
training: A review and directions for future research.
Personnel Psychology, 41, 63-105.
[H7] Boyatzis, R. E. & Kolb, D. A., 1991, Educational
Psychology 11(3,4), 279-295.
[H8] Kolb, D. A., 1984, Chapter 2. In D. Kolb, The expe-
riential learning: Experience as the source of learning
and development. NJ: Prentice-Hall.
[H9] see [H7]
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 156
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 157
Designed Manuals
Introduction; Make Yourself Ready; Educator's Guidebook; Information Accessibility
This project resulted in two written
and illustrated manuals that
contain information on how to
make Disaster Preparedness
products and how to teach the
making of those products .
These booklets are designed for
easy distribution and maximum
accessibility, regardless of reader's
cultural context
In this chapter, these documents
are described, along with the
principles that were followed to
ensure their appropriateness.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 158
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 159
1. Introduction
As previously introduced, the
physical result of this project is an
educational package, comprised of
two booklets. One booklet (“Make
Yourself Ready”) contains visual
and textual descriptions of the
necessary steps to make Disaster
Preparedness supplies. The other
booklet (“Educator's Guidebook”) is
a more textual document, that con-
tains guidelines and suggestions for
a person interested in teaching the
contents of “Make Yourself Ready”.
In “Make Yourself Ready”, clearly a
simpler document, theoretic infor-
mation on Disaster Preparedness
or active principles behind some
techniques (such as UV killing of
germs) were avoided altogether.
In the “Educator's Guidebook”,
more abstract notions had to be
presented (such as Cultural Dimen-
sions and Experiential Learning
Theory) but still, their sometimes
obscure terms were presented side-
by-side with more casual, natural-
sounding names.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 160
2.1 Section 1, Introduction
What is this booklet?
What does it want to teach?
How is this booklet made?
The frst section of “Make Yourself
Ready” is divided in 3 parts. It in-
forms the reader for what to expect
throughout the rest of the booklet.
The second part (“What does it
want to teach?”) describes the type
of products in book, lists the tech-
niques and mentions the focus on
adaptability of them. It also makes
a reference to the “Educator's
Guidebook” as a source of informa-
tion on teaching techniques.
2. Make Yourself Ready
Make yourself ready is divided in
5 sections. Each part can be taken
independently and each technique
is also possible to be removed from
the rest of the manual without
losing necessary information or
The 5 sections are:
How to make a cooking stove
How to make shelter
How to treat water
How to get a Radio
This order of the parts was chosen
on the basis of keeping product
making techniques before less
concrete instructions (such as wa-
ter treatment methods and advice
on how to request radio devices).
The expected effect of this order
is that people can start with the
more product-oriented techniques
and see, frst-hand the results of
their work. This can be motivating
for people to learn the latter skills,
that do not result in new, usable
Its frst part (“What is this book-
let?” explains the nature of “Make
Yourself Ready” as an instructions
manual for the making of Disas-
ter Preparedness products. I also
informs the reader on what is the
use of the book, its target audi-
ence, who should make the prod-
ucts, if these are only requirements
for Disaster Preparedness and if it
is allowed to copy the book.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 161
The last part of this section (“How
is this booklet made?”) further
hints at the adaptability of used
materials, what kind of measure-
ments are used and where extra
information can be found.
2.2 Section 2, How to make a
cooking stove
Cooking Stove
This section is divided in 2 parts,
one of them being an introduction
and the other being the instruc-
tions themselves.
The frst part (“Introduction”) ex-
plains what kind of stove is being
suggested, what kind of materials
can be used, what is the expected
cost of a stove and other uses for
This section has 6 parts and be-
sides the introduction, there are
two techniques to produce shelter
material and three techniques to
make unions to use this material.
The frst part (“Introduction”) ex-
plains what kind of shelter material
will be made, what possible uses
will it have, what materials are
required and an estimation of cost
per square meter.
The second part (“Shelter material
(using Electricity)”), explains how
to use a clothes iron to produce
shelter material from plastic bags.
The third part (“Shelter material
(using Fire)”), shows how to use a
variation of the previous technique
to produce shelter material, with a
cooking pan with hot coals inside.
This require no electricity.
it. It also explains that there a ben-
eft in making more than one and
lists simple modifcations that can
be made.
The second part (“Cooking Stove”)
contains the visual description of
the needed to produce a stove.
It also includes a list of tools and
2.3. Section 3. How to make shelter
Shelter material (using Electricity)
Shelter material (using Fire)
Union (tarp to line)
Union (tarp to tarp, fxed)
Union (tarp to tarp, movable)
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 162
The fourth part (“Union (tarp to
line)”) describes how make con-
nections between the produced
shelter material and rope, without
damaging or puncturing the shelter
material. This allows for the reuse
of the material.
The ffth part (“Union (tarp to tarp,
fxed)”) includes the instructions to
attach several tarps to each other,
making a larger piece of shelter
material. This technique does dam-
age the shelter material with little
holes, one per connection.
The sixth part (“Union (tarp to tarp,
movable)”) has the fnal technique
regarding shelter. This technique is
an adaptation of the “Union (tarp
to line)” technique and is useful for
making of temporary and adjust-
able connections, such as shelter
cost of treating water, depending
on the technique and , while pro-
viding extra sources of information,
lays out some cares that should
be taken on the topic of sanitation
and hygiene.
The second part (“Boiling water”),
describes the needed steps to boil
water to treat it. It is pictured as
using the previously described
cooking stove.
The third part (“Bleach”), suggests
ways to treat water with the Chlo-
rine found in household bleach.
Since this method requires some-
how precise dosing of chemicals,
it also suggests an easy way to
calculate how much a liter is.
2.4 Section 4, How to treat water
Boiling water
SODIS (also known as Solar Disin-
Tincture of Iodine
This section has 5 parts, including
the mandatory introduction.
The frst part (“Introduction”)
serves to clarify what kind of water
treatment techniques are suggest-
ed. It also provides simple advice
of potential water sources and
how to select a technique from the
booklet. It provides an estimate of
needed water for each person and
gives advice on the proper storage
of water. It alludes to the variable
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 163
2.5 Section 5, How to get a radio
Which institutions can I contact?
Request a Radio
The fnal section in “Make Your-
self Ready” contains three parts
and is slightly different from the
other sections due to its particular
approach to the issue of acquiring
The frst part (“Introduction”) pres-
ents the importance of information
before and after a Disaster, it also
lists the advantages of shortwave
radio as a source of information
and explains that this chapter
is not about buying or making a
radio. In this part, it is mentioned
that there is no need for one indi-
The fourth part (“SODIS (also known
as Solar Disinfection)”), contains
the instructions to treat water by
exposing it to the sun. It also in-
cludes advice on how to select the
proper water bottles to do it and a
simple turbidity tester that can say
if the water to be treated is clear
The last part (“Tincture of Iodine”),
explains how to use the Iodine
found in the anti-septic Tincture
of Iodine to treat water. Because
Iodine has some adverse health
effects for pregnant women, it also
alerts to this fact.
vidual radio for each family and it
further describes what kind of radio
device is people need.
The second part (“Which institu-
tions can I contact?”) has the
contact information and a short de-
scription of four institutions that do
humanitarian work by distributing
radios to the populations in need.
The last part of the last section of
this book (“Request a Radio”) has
a six step guide to request radio
devices from the previously listed
organizations. It places its focus on
more administrative steps, rather
than technical prescription.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 164
3. Educator's guidebook
The “Educator's Guidebook” is also
divided in 5 sections, but not cor-
responding to the same 5 sections
of “Make Yourself Ready”. Due to
the complexity of its contents, the
“Educator's Guidebook” is better
used if kept together.
The 5 sections of the Educator's
Guidebook are:
Disaster Preparedness
How is your Community
The order of the parts refects a
structure of an initial explanation of
the purpose and methodology sur-
rounding the book (“Introduction”
and “Method”), followed by neces-
sary theoretical background (“Di-
saster Preparedness” and “Educa-
tion”) and fnally a more operative
chapter (“How is your community”)
that contains tools to assess com-
munity and use such knowledge to
empower the use of the previously
introduced theory (Disaster Pre-
paredness and Education)
3.1 Section A, Introduction
What is this Booklet?
What is Disaster Preparedness?
What things will I teach?
The frst section of the “Educator's
Guidebook” has three parts that
lay a foundation for what the book
will be. The frst part (“What is this
This Educator's is much less visual
than “Make Yourself Ready” be-
cause of its more abstract contents
and the more educated nature of
its expected reader.
booklet?”) presents the document
as resource for people that want
to teach the contents in “Make
Yourself Ready”, it also advances
that the book was made for “non-
specialists”. It presents the book
as simple, accessible companion to
the more pragmatic “Make Yourself
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 165
The second part (“What is Disaster
Preparedness?”) introduces the
concept of Disaster Preparedness
as something that people in a com-
munity can do and hence, become
more ready to face Disaster, should
it happen.
The last part (“What things will I
teach?”), refers to “Make Yourself
Ready” as the source of technical
knowledge. It also explains that
more information about Disaster
Preparedness can be found in the
“Educators Guidebook”.
3.2 Section B, Method
What will be my roles?
What method should I follow?
What are the conditions for a good
The second section of the “Educa-
tor's Guidebook” also has three
parts. In the frst ("What will be my
roles?”) , it is explained that some-
one interested in starting Disaster
Preparedness teaching activities
should expect to have several
roles in a project, depending on its
The second part (“What method
should I follow?”) describes the
overall method to apply the knowl-
edge in “Make Yourself Ready”
and in the “Educator's Guidebook”
to teach Disaster Preparedness to
a community. This method is also
explained in the current report sec-
tion, ahead.
The fnal part (“What are the condi-
tions for a good project?”) gives
some simple, valuable advice about
running a project of this kind.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 166
3.3 Section C, Disaster Preparedness
How can families prepare for
What products to get?
What plans to make?
How to stay informed?
How to convince people to prepare
for Disaster?
This chapter has more parts than
the previous chapters, but has
roughly the same size. Because it
is has more concrete information, it
was assumed that it could be more
easily passed on to students, so
it was divided in more sections to
ease browsing.
The frst part (“Introduction”) is
used to explain the concept of the
Disaster Management Cycle and its
four phases, explaining each phase
and justifying Disaster Prepared-
ness as the best phase for families
to work on.
The second part (“How can families
prepared for Disaster?”) explains
simple rules for Disaster Prepared-
ness efforts (e.g. the whole fam-
ily must participate, it should be
a continuous effort) and explains
the three principles of Disaster
Preparedness (“Get Equipment”,
“Make plans” and “Stay in-
formed”). It also lists the products
in “Make Yourself Ready” as the
basic things to have.
The third part, (“What products to
get?”) presents the reader with a
more complete list of Disaster Pre-
paredness supplies, based on rec-
ommendations from the Red Cross.
It should be interpreted as a guide
to upgrade one's Disaster Prepared-
ness Kit, should he/she be able.
The fourth part (“What plans to
make?”) lists the basic necessary
plans for emergencies, namely of
communication and family reunif-
The ffth part (“How to stay pre-
pared?”) suggests how people
should stay informed about Disas-
ter risks and ways to avoid them.
The fnal part (“How to convince
people to prepare for Disaster?”)
is directed towards the potential
educator and mentions what are
the basic conditions for people to
invest in Disaster Preparedness
(“Awareness”, “Information” and
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 167
the learning process. This is based
on the work of Baldwin and Ford
and is used here to bring atten-
tion to the fact learning depends
on more than the student and the
The third part (“How do people
learn?”) introduces Kolb's Experien-
tial Learning Theory
and Learn-
ing Styles
to suggest that some
teaching methods are more ad-
equate than others, depending on
the people who are being taught.
This will also be used later on, to
interpret the cultural assessment
suggested in the last section.
3.4 Part D, Education
What matters in teaching/learning?
How do people learn?
This section is one of the most
abstract, dealing with teaching and
learning. It is divided in three parts
that guide the educator in acquiring
a new point of view on education
and how learning happens.
The frst part (“Introduction”)
serves to clear some initial no-
tions (e.g. one does not need to be
a teacher to teach and it is pos-
sible to teach children, women and
The second part (“What matters
in teaching/learning?) presents a
model of what factors infuence
3.5 Part E, Your Community
How to study my community?
How is my local Culture?
What are the local Education Con-
What tools do I use?
This last section has 5 parts and,
like the previous section, has a
somehow abstract content related
with cultural assessment.
The frst part (“Introduction”),
initiates the topic by explaining
what is important to characterize a
community, mentioning its culture
and educational conditions (for the
scope of this project). It also says
why it is important to do such a
task (to ensure ftness between
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 168
community and teaching approach-
es) and what needs to be adapted
to the community (“what is taught”
and “how it is taught”
The second part (“How to study my
community”) regards methods and
goals of the study and how will the
results be used to adapt the teach-
ing of Disaster Preparedness.
The third part (“How is my local
Culture?”) is an important one,
where the notion of “Culture” is
described in simple terms, along
with an overview of 8 Cultural
Dimensions. More information on
the previous chapter, "Education
The fourth part (“What are the lo-
cal Education Conditions?”) starts
by explaining what are “Education
Conditions” in this project and pro-
ceeds by explaining how to gauge
them and interpret the results.
The ffth part (“What tools do I
use?”) contains two questionnaires
and respective result interpretation
guidelines. This part starts with
a simple introduction to say how
precise are the questionnaires, who
should answer the questionnaires
and how long should they take to
fll in.
Such questionnaire is a simple
tool, complete with an interpreta-
tion guide that helps to understand
what are the needs for Disaster
Preparedness education and level
of education of people. It also
includes questions to gauge the
availability of teaching support (e.g.
schools ) in the area.
All questions are phrased in simple
ways, and the possible answers are
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 169
4. Information Accessibility
These resources were designed
to be used by people that are not
specialists in Education or Disaster
Preparedness. Further more, they
might be from a different cultural
context, with different conven-
tions on written and visual com-
munication. This project takes the
approach of using an intermediate
cultural interface that can take
There were 4 main areas of con-
the information from the designed
manuals and make it accessible
people that do not share the de-
signer's cultural background.
However, this solves the problem
only partially and great care was
taken to design the two documents
in a way that minimizes confusion
and misunderstanding.
4.1 Language
In both produced documents
(“Make Yourself Ready” and “Edu-
cator's Guidebook”), the chosen
tone was a simple, direct way.
Topics were often titled in the form
of questions to which the text
answers and jargon was avoided.
When topics required the use of
more obscure vocabulary (to en-
able a further study by the readers,
should they desire it), the original
terms were presented side-by-side
with more mundane names.
4.2 Layout
Both books follow a similar layout,
with adaptations for the more text
dense “Educator's Guidebook”. The
layout is in the common A4 interna-
tional paper and uses only shades
of black and hints of blue that
translate well into greyscale. The
documents were made easy to pho-
tocopy, with strong contrasts and
block colors. Another feature of the
layout is the careful division of sec-
tions, clearly labeled. This allows
for a clear division of topics and
eases the browsing of the books for
the search of specifc contents. This
search is eased by the inclusion
of side bars, titled after the docu-
ments' sections they belong to.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 170
4.3 Visuals
The visuals, besides following the
simple color scheme of the rest of
the documents', followed rules of
clarity to communicate to illiterate
Graphic elements were hand
drawn, to ease the interaction with
them and negate a possible “too
designed look” that could be inter-
preted as dry or daunting.
In the visuals, care was also taken
to include pictures of people, often
families, making the products
or using them afterwards (each
section in “Make Yourself Ready”
starts with such a picture).
To ease interpretation of drawn
objects, scale was maintained as
much as possible, for the same
repeating objects. Scale references,
such as hands or familiar objects
In the drawn images, multiple
similar objects were drawn multiple
times, instead of a single time with
indication of repetition (e.g. using
Finally, measurements are indicated
using familiar body sizes such as
inches or hands, and liquid mea-
surements were displayed by using
familiar containers of known capac-
ity (e.g. 0,33cl Soda cans).
are also common. To indicate sat-
isfactory or unsatisfactory actions,
smiling or frowning faces, respec-
tively, were used. Also to make
obvious the visual fow within
illustrations, arrows were added
when necessary. Arrows were also
used to display the displacement of
parts, but using a different visual
style from the “visual fow indicat-
ing arrows”.
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 171
4.4 Questionnaire Design
To ease comprehension, question-
naires were accompanied with
instructions to fll in and interpret
and grouped in ways that simplify
rules of interpretation. Also, the
type of possible answers were se-
lected to force an answer from the
person flling them in (e.g. 4 point
scale or “what is missing?” type of
In as much as possible, the pro-
posed questions were phrased in
an evident way, that suggests how
should they be interpreted (e.g.
“what is missing?” type of ques-
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 172
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 173
[I1] Baldwin, T.T., & Ford, K.J. (1988). Transfer of
training: A review and directions for future research.
Personnel Psychology, 41, 63-105.
[I2] Kolb, D. A., 1984, Chapter 2. In D. Kolb, The expe-
riential learning: Experience as the source of learning
and development. NJ: Prentice-Hall.
[I3] Boyatzis, R. E. & Kolb, D. A., 1991, Educational
Psychology 11(3,4), 279-295.
[I4] World Health Organization. 2007.How to improve
the us of medicines by consumers [IOnline] Available
{Accessed 15/07/2010]
[I5] Philip Gendall. 1998. Marketing Bulletin,, 9, 28-39,
Article 3
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 174
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 175
Project Evaluation
Future Recommendations; Result; Process; Refection.
Taking a look back at my graduation
project, for which I have been working
since January 2010, I see a clarity that
was not present in the beginning.
This allows a refection on this proj-
ect's process, its results and
recommendations for future work.
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 176
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 177
1. future recommendations
Because a design project is never over,
there is always a little more that one
can put into it. Especially in a project
like this, that evolved a lot from its ini-
tial challenge (“Design Technical Cloth-
ing for Urban Search and Rescue”),
there are many surprises along the
way. Often, these surprises become
opportunities for further refnement.
These are things I think could beneft
further work on this project.
1.1 Further Testing of Techniques
and Presentation
It was admitted in the beginning of
the report, that this project suffers
from not having been tested on the
feld. Although I am quite confdent
and proud of my work, I understand
that reality can be quite different from
research or academia. In this project
I tried to tackle this by consulting the
best sources I could, by talking with
tion. I am very confdent that the end
result is easily distributed as a product
or digital fle, but I'd like to have a
more grounded distribution strategy.
Such strategy could specify partners,
contexts, and even possible redesigns.
I believe this is still possible to do, but
the lack of interest from the contacted
institutions and the limited time con-
tributed against this.
1.3 Open-source and Crowd-sourced
As a product of knowledge, a compila-
tion of techniques for impoverished
populations , “Make Yourself Ready”
makes more sense as two open docu-
ments. The educational package even
has a focus on adaptation of educa-
tional activities, so it is quite reason-
able to consider the release of the
documents into the public domain.
Better than this would be to create an
open platform (such as a wiki website)
teachers and friends with experience
and by taking a critic look at available
data. In addition, I also experimented
my self some of the presented tech-
It is however, undeniable, that this
project could really beneft from a
frst hand experienced application.
This would be useful to confrm or
debunk all sorts of informed assump-
tions, such as BoP living conditions or
exposure to Disaster. Such experience
would give me a much more solid
confdence in the appropriateness of
this project.
I tried to contact a few organizations
that do humanitarian work but these
efforts produced no fruits.
1.2 Strategies for Distribution of
The reason why I gave this project
such a grassroots, low-tech approach,
was to increase its possible applica-
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 178
where everybody could participate.
For better results, it would be neces-
sary to have some platform manage-
ment in place, to pose challenges and
guide people's contributions. There
are plenty of opportunities to make
this project live longer and evolve with
time. I do not have all the sugges-
tions right now, but I am sure that the
a continuation of this effort relies on
more people, cooperating with their
particular experience. This could mean
a new take at Disaster Preparedness
education, one based on the bridging
of several distinct areas of knowledge.
A cross-pollination of sorts
2. Result
At the end of this project, two booklets
were produced. Although part of the
same package, these documents have
very different contents that drew upon
different areas of knowledge. Rather
than highly specialized publications
that could offer nothing that had not
been offered by traditional Disaster
Preparedness sources, I preferred a
broader approach that equips a poten-
tial user with a minimum knowledge.
I believe this allows for greater acces-
sibility of contents.
I'm very happy with the results of
this project, as I feel that they have
brought something new on the table.
My only possible gripe with the
designed contents was the quality of
the drawings, that sometimes, despite
my efforts, did not reach the levels I
though it could/should reach.
Naturally, I'd be more satisfed if the
previously introduced recommenda-
tion had actually been reached during
the project. But considering all factors,
I think the result is good, is relevant
and has potential for real-world
3. Process
Because of the organic feel of this
project, with new areas arising and
old ideas abandoned, I was forced to
adapt my working style. I did so by
trying to increase the independence
of each project area. This means that
someone interested in educational the-
ory, coming across my project, would
not need to read the report to extract
something useful. The challenge was
to keep the independent areas some-
how related. I think I achieved this by
virtue of the main architecture of the
project with the three defned areas
of Context, Techniques and resulting
Educational Package.
This project was a departure from
other project I have had in the past,
and not only because it did not result
in a physical, commercial product. The
whole process involved much more re-
search that other projects I have done.
This is because of the large number of
different areas that were studied, but
it was defnitely an interesting experi-
ence, that I doubt I will have again in
a professional context.
One thing I learned in this project,
process-wise, was the need to increase
communication with stakeholders dur-
ing execution. I sometimes felt that
it was necessary to complete whole
sections of the project, before submit-
ting them for evaluation and comment.
In hindsight, this appears to have
decreased my communication with the
Client and the Professors, while I was
holding back to perfect content before
Graduation Project: Design of a Disaster Preparedness Solution for the Base of the Pyramid Page 179
4. Refection
Because it was different from what
I am used to do, this project forced
outside my comfort zone. It was a bit
daunting, but refreshing anyway. Many
were the times that I was researching
for this project, completely fascinated
by the things I was learning. In fact,
it made think about future academic
This project was also very personal.
Not only it started through my initia-
tive, it was also a very free assign-
ment. This freedom and its consequent
responsibility, made me more aware of
all the little details in a project and the
importance of clear results.
This personal feel was no doubt only
possible because of the trust every-
body has put into me. Whenever I sug-
gested a change that was approved, I
always felt that people were convinced
about its benefts. This has, naturally,
increased my confdence in my work.
A fnal note is that this assignment,
dealing with the worst type of events,
happening to the most fragile people,
made me more aware of the huge
opportunities to make a difference
through design.
It might be the naivete of the young,
but I would say that it has changed
João Rocha | TU Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, IPD 180
For more information, please do not forget to consult the Appendix section.
João Rocha, 2010

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