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09.07.2009 General News

KNUST Holds 3rd International Design Summit

By GNA - newtimesonline.com
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THE third annual International Development Design Summit (IDDS) 2009 of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Technology Consultancy Centre (TCC) began here yesterday.

The four-day conference which is being held in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the USA is designed to bring together people with diverse technological innovations to produce physical prototypes of appropriate technologies to help the rural poor.

A statement issued to the Ghana News Agency in Kumasi by the TCC said the aim of IDDS is to produce innovative, affordable and scalable technologies to meet the real needs of the 2.6 billion people earning less than two dollars a day.

It said each of the over 70 participants in the Kumasi summit will receive a crash course in developing appropriate technology and then break into small teams, each receiving a different challenge to design a technology able to solve a specific problem faced daily by many people.

The statement said the 2009 IDDS uniquely captures the spirit of co-creation by facilitating visits to a selection of rural villages in northern and Ashanti regions where participants will collaborate on their designs with potential end users.

It said developing such creative capacity within the communities where the work is will enable the community partners themselves to become active creators of technology, rather than merely passive recipients.

The community members will then have the opportunity to attend the final presentations to see the prototypes in action and potentially work with artisans in Suame Magazine to help construct working prototypes for their villages.

The statement said Ghana was chosen to host the summit outside USA due to its political stability and desire to improve the lives of its poorest people.

According to the statement some of the innovations which came out of last year’s conference in the USA, included a device for decreasing the transmission rate of HIV/AIDS from mothers to their babies; a charcoal crushing machine to help make charcoal briquettes from carbonised corn cobs; a device for generating electricity from a treadle pump; and a pearl millet thresher.

It said about 12 participants from Ghana will attend to ensure that the local context, problems and design challenges would not be marginalised.

The statement indicated that an exhibition will also be held at the end of the Summit on August 10, to showcase the innovative prototypes created by the participants during the summit while the final projects will also be demonstrated at the first annual Makers Faire Africa (MFA) in Accra from August 14-16.

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