Posts about charity

Using Drones to Deliver Medical Supplies in Roadless Areas

This is an awesome use of technology to tackle important problems. Engineers are great.

Humanitarian drones to deliver medical supplies to roadless areas

That idea soon became a start-up called Matternet – a network for transporting matter – which aims to help the one billion people who do not have year-round access to roads.

[Andreas] Raptopoulos said the new system would be used to leapfrog the building of infrastructure, in the same way mobile networks have overtaken fixed lines in poorly connected countries.

In sub-Saharan Africa, 85% of roads are inaccessible during the wet season, cutting off huge swaths of the population and hindering the transport of medical supplies, he said.

There are three parts to the system delivering medical goods: the UAVs themselves, landing stations where packages can be dropped off and transferred, and the software that ensures vehicles get securely from point to point. Because of their short battery life, networks of drones are needed to work together, shuttling between ground stations

Approximate costings from Matternet put the price of unmanned aerial vehicles at £6,000 each and ground stations at £3,000 each. A network of five ground stations and 10 UAVs, as well as setup and training, would cost a charity in the region of £90,000, according to Raptopoulos. An eight-propeller drone can carry 2kg and travel 10km in good weather. Batteries need to be replaced every 600 cycles.

They are hiring: software engineer and avionic engineering [the broken link has been removed] right now. They are Palo Alto, California.

Related: Appropriate Technology Health Care Solution Could Save 72,000 Lives a YearCellphone MicroscopePay as You Go Solar in IndiaWater and Electricity for All

Promoting Innovation in Sierra Leone

Another inspirational kid that shows that the potential for human good is much greater than the talking heads and politicians that litter the TV screen so often.

In the video Kelvin says, “That is my aim: to Promote Innovation in Seira Leone, among young people.” See another video as Kelvin explains his homemade battery.

Support these young engineers in Sierra Leone via innovate Salone.

Related: Inspirational Engineer Build Windmill Using TrashSupporting the Natural Curiosity of KidsWhat Kids can Learn If Given a ChanceI was Interviewed About Encouraging Kids to Pursue Engineering

Fun Webcast from WWF: Astonish Me

Made in celebration of the World Wildlife Fund‘s 50th anniversary.

Related: Macropinna Microstoma: Fish with a Transparent Head1,000 Species Discovered in Greater Mekong in Last Decade2,000 Species New to Science from One Remote IslandWorld’s Smallest Snake Found in Barbados

Help Science Education in Tanzania

Students in Tazania using a microscope

Diana Hall, a physics teacher from Bell High School, Ottawa, Canada is spending 6 months in Tanzania helping build a more active science program. This reminds me of my time in Nigeria (while my father taught Chemical Engineering at the University of Ile Ife to help build a strong university program). It is great to see all the good that people are willing to do.

The objective of the Do Science, Tanzania project is to share teaching strategies and equipment with science teachers and students in Moshi, Tanzania. The goal is to facilitate a more active science program and to inspire students to continue studying beyond the secondary level.

The photo shows students at Reginald Mengi Secondary school, Tanzania, getting their first experience with microscopes in the classroom. There are over 210 Form I (freshman in high school, for you USA readiers) students in 4 classes. The 4 classes had an introduction to the microscope by preparing slides and viewing onion cells.

Working with science teachers is a big part of do Do Science is about. Their blog discusses a recent meeting where 50 science teachers from the Moshi area attended a workshop. The teachers at the workshop modeled thinking exercises, conducted sample labs, investigated computer simulations and interfacing equipment, looked at some DVD resources. and networked.

You can help by donating equipment or money. Or if you are a science teacher with workshop and leadership experience who would consider spending some time in Tanzania as a facilitator?

Related: Learning Design of Experiments with Paper HelicoptersFund Teacher’s Science ProjectsScience Education ResourcesWays to Help Make the World Better

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Fixers Collective

Very cool. I like everything about this idea. I like the reuse (very environmentally friendly). I like the humanity and psychology of connecting with others. I like the tinkering/learning/fixing attitude and behavior. I like the very well done use of the internet to help fund such efforts. I like the exploration of the products and object we use. I like the rejection of a disposable attitude (just throw it away). I like the appropriate technology attitude. I made a donation, you can too (see what projects I am funding).

Related: Fund Teacher’s Science ProjectsScience Toys You Can Make With Your Kidscharity related posts

Appropriate Technology: Rats Helping Humans

Giant rats put noses to work on Africa’s land mine epidemic by Eliott C. McLaughlin

Bart Weetjens is the brain and Buddhist monk behind APOPO (a Dutch acronym meaning Anti-Personnel Land Mines Detection Product Development), which trains HeroRats. He said Mushi’s initial repulsion is common.

Prejudice against rats is “deep in our psyche” and has roots in the Middle Ages when the rodents were blamed for the plague, Weetjens said. He quickly cited Black Death’s rightful culprit: fleas.

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines says land mines and related devices were responsible for 73,576 casualties worldwide from 1999 to 2009. Campaign data from 2007 say there were 5,426 recorded casualties, with almost a fifth of them in 24 African countries.

The cost to train a rat is 6,000 euros ($7,700), roughly a third of what it costs to train a dog. Where dogs need expansive kennel facilities and regular veterinary care because of African climates, APOPO’s kennel facilities at Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro, Tanzania, can house up to 300 rats. The rats see a single vet once a week and are much easier to transport than dogs, Weetjens said.

It is very sad what people do to each (setting up land mines to blow each other up for example). Thankfully we also do great things. I particularly like the engineering mindset behind appropriate technology solutions as I have written many times. They are also looking to have rats help detect tb and cancers. You can fund a rat for 5 Euros (about $6.5) a month to help free the world of landmines.

Related: applying the technology wellEngineering a Better World: Bike Corn-ShellerWater Pump Merry-go-RoundHigh School Inventor Teams @ MIT

See a video of a rat at work:
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Electric Wind

photo of William Kamkwamba on his windmillphoto of William Kamkwamba on his windmill from his blog.

I have written about William Kamkwamba before: Inspirational EngineerHome Engineering: Windmill for Electricity. And along with the post, Make the World Better, donated to his cause. His new book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, is quite enjoyable and provides an interesting view of how he persevered. His talk of the famine, not being able to afford school and putting together a windmill using scrape parts and a few books from the library (donated by the American government – much better foreign aid than all the military weapons that are often counted as aid) is inspirational. And should help many sitting in luxury understand the privileged lives they lead.

“I’d become very interested in how things worked, yet never thought of this as science. In addition to radios, I’d also become fascinated by how cards worked, especially how petrol operated an engine. How does this happen? I thought? Well, that’s easy to find out – just ask someone with a car… But no one could tell me… Really how can you drive a truck and not know how it works?” (page 66)

“Using Energy, and this book has since changed my life… All I needed was a windmill, and then I could have lights. No more kerosene lamps that burned out eyes… I could stay awake at night reading instead of going to bed at seven with the rest of Malawi. But most important, a windmill could also rotate a pump for water and irrigation.” (page 158)

William set out to demonstrate his windmill for the first time to a skeptical crowd saying (page 193)

“Let’s see how crazy this boy really is.”… “Look,” someone said. “He’s made light!”… “Electric wind!” I shouted. “I told you I wasn’t mad!”

I like how the story shows how long, hard work, reading, experimenting and learning is what allowed William to success (page 194-5)

For the next month, about thirty people showed up each day to stare at the light. “How did you manage such a thing?” They asked. “Hard work and lots of research,” I’d say, trying not to sound too smug…
[to William’s father] “What an intelligent boy. Where did he get such ideas?”
“He’s been reading lots of books. Maybe from there?”
“They teach this in school?”
“He was forced to drop. He did this on his own.”
The diagram demonstrated twenty-four volts being transformed to two hundred forty. I knew voltage increased with each turn of wire. The diagram showed the primary coil to have two hundred turns, while the secondary had two thousand. A bunch of mathematical equations were below the diagram – I assumed they explained how I could make my own conversions – but instead I just wrapped like mad and hoped it would work. (page 200)
Soon I was attacking every idea with its own experiment. Over the next year, there was hardly a moment when I wasn’t planning or devising some new scheme. And though the windmill and radio transmitter had both been successes, I couldn’t say the same for a few other experiments. (page 215)

William is now attending the African Leadership Academy in South Africa, with an amazing group of classmates. See how you can support the Moving Windmills Projects.

Related: Teen’s DIY Energy Hacking Gives African Village New HopeMake the World BetterWilliam Kamkwamba on the Daily ShowWhat Kids can Learnappropriate technology

Education is Opportunity

Google, Gates, Indian Diaspora Bet on Children by Andy Mukherjee

Yogi Patel, a retired chemical engineer and motel owner from Dallas, was nearing the end of his presentation about the need to tackle illiteracy in India when he put up a slide showing a thumb impression: his dad’s. “I’ve never needed anyone to tell me just how important education is,” Patel said last weekend to a gathering of the Indian diaspora in Singapore. “I’ve seen it in my own life.”

Born into a poor, illiterate family in the western Indian state of Gujarat, Patel was lucky to break free of the poverty trap. Several people from his community had prospered in East Africa. They supported his studies.

at 30 U.S. cents per child per year, the basic math, reading and writing skills required to help young learners retain their interest in education and keep them from dropping out of school are ridiculously cheap. It’s also critical enough to have caught the attention not just of wealthy Indian communities overseas but also of the Menlo Park, California-based William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Together, the two charities offered to help 10 million students for three years by pledging $9 million last year to Read India, an initiative of Pratham, a Mumbai-based not-for- profit organization for which Patel is a fund-raiser., the philanthropic arm of Google Inc., chipped in last month with a $2 million grant to help fund Pratham’s annual survey of the qualitative aspects of primary education in India.

Related: Make the World BetterUsing Capitalism to Help PeopleWhat Kids can Learn

Make the World Better

Three ways to make the world better. First, Kiva is lets you loan money directly to an entrepreneur of your choice. Kiva provides loans through partners (operating in the countries) to the entrepreneurs. Those partners do charge the entrepreneurs interest (to fund the operations of the lending partner). Kiva pays the principle back to you but does not pay interest. And if the entrepreneur defaults then you do not get your capital paid back (in other words you lose the money you loaned). See my post: Helping Capitalism Make the World Better (if you donate to Kiva I have a Curious Cat Kivan – comment to have you link added).

Second, donate using the widget displayed in this post: to William Kamkwamba who built his own windmill in Malawi to get electricity for his home. The donations go to help him with his education and engineering projects. He is a young student and engineer. I have donated $50, I would love to see readers donate – do so and send me a link to your personal blog or personal home page and I will update this post with a link (only to a site obviously associated with you – I reserve the right to link or not link to whoever I want). [the campaign is over so I removed the widget – $943 was raised, the goal was $2,000]. A recent post to his blog: My sisters and cousins with their first books:

Some well-wishers sent many children’s books that are written or take place in countries around Africa in addition to English and American classics such as Where the Wild Things Are. All the children in my neighborhood, most of whom are cousins or sisters share these new books.

Third, create a Kiva like setup for donations that could be used to provide a source for finding remarkable people that have plans for possible donated funds. The potential is huge.

Related: Children’s booksAppropriate TechnologyWhat Kids can LearnLesson on Life$100 Laptop UpdateMillennium Development Goals