Last year, SocialBusiness.org covered Red Button Design’s Midomo Bracelet, which was designed by Alex Monroe in order to fund delivering a Midomo water purifier to an African community. Well, after developing the project for three years, Red Button Design has written on their blog that the Midomo Launch in Mwinga, Kenya was a success.
Located in the Eastern province of Kenya, Mwingi is a district of about 304, 000 people -- 79 percent of whom don’t have access to potable water. The majority of the population source drinking water from surface water, which is an unsafe source that can cause water-related illnesses.
In order to address this problem, this is where Red Button Design’s Midomo comes in to help produce safe drinking water as well as make the trip to the dam and back less physically grueling for the women who often walk for at least an hour to get to the source. One of the philosophies behind Red Button Design is “Design Against Dependency,” which, for this particular project meant not pushing any unneeded people, products and/or materials on the Mwingi community. Indeed, this is an approach that many development initiatives could benefit from taking into consideration, as there have been numerous failures when it comes to innovations not fit for local people.
The successful Midomo launch in Mwingi, Kenya goes to show that humanitarian product design coupled with grassroots initiatives can have buoyant results without disrupting a community's livelihood and way of life.