FIELD RESEARCH IN NEPAL : INFOGRAPHICS !
The visit to Burunchuli is an hour from Kathmandu, the capital. Since it is situated on top of a hill, farmers do not have space for farming. Some of their fields are situated two hours away from their homes and many have to walk steep roads for those two hours to reach their fields. Moreover, carrying their yield in times of harvest causes a lot of backache. Most of the famers are women and often bring their children along with them to the fields. All these information from the field research gave us a better understanding of our users needs and wants. The major problem for the farmers in Burunchuli is that of space and irrigation, both which can be addressed by our product!
After introducing the product, I received a lot of questions: How can such a small looking product sustain a whole family? How do we take the crop out from the farm? Can we grow food from the seed itself or do we need the plant itself? How many times do we need to clean the water for the fishes? How many times do we need to water the plants? Through these questions, they were able to understand the product better. One of the farmers asked if I could leave the prototype so that he could start experimenting with the farm! Thus, the response was positive and we are looking forward to developing the product according to their needs.
FIELD WORK AND INTERVIEWS !
See Chameli testing the product in the video!
The second field trip had several goals but the most important ones were: 1. To interview people in order to know their needs in terms of food security, 2. To check how informative our manual is, and lastly was to observe how many people would be interested in our product.
Below are short glimpses from the interview done with one of our potential users:
Marital status: Married, 1 daughter
Address: Burunchuli, Mannegaun
Experience: “I was in the field when the earthquake came, everything started shaking and I ran towards my children who were in the field with me as well. Their father is a driver so he was in Kathmandu. I could not contact him. We stayed in the field for some time. I could see our house shaking, the whole hill was shaking, I thought everything was over then.”
Aid: “We received 15,000 from the government. But after the earthquake, all the prices increased, it took 2000 just to fit a small window”
Daily life and Struggles:
Life before and after earthquake:
“Of course its harder now, before we had a house, now we don’t have any. We are still living in temporary houses even after 8 months." Due to the blockade, my husband does not have any work because there is no petrol."
Monetary or non- monetary aid: “I would prefer to learn skills than receive monetary aid, money only lasts for some time but skills lasts for all your life”
Product: “I need to walk two – hours to get to my field, with this I can set it up just outside my house. Also my expenses for buying vegetable might be saved. I would definitely use it if I received one."
(Chameli was also asked to set up the farm using the manual, on the photograph)
FAQ or what is imPACKt all about
We thought it would be a good idea to have a recap of our project in one place- sweet and short questions answered.
In order to develop our technology, we had to create our own DIY aquaponic system. For the prototype, we had several questions to answer:
How many plants can we fit into a greenhouse and fish needed for the system to work? What is the minimum size of an aquaponic system? What are the types of plants we can grow in our climate and how much harvest we will have?
After going through numerous youtube videos and reading all of the FAO's PDF on small aquaponic systems, we created the first prototype. The conclusion for the first equation was that the size of the fish tank we had determined how many fish we will need and this limited the number of plants we can have. Although, this was a constraint, it is always possible to add more fish and connect it to the system.
For the next, iterated prototype we need to test:
Assembly and disassembly in one go (in a set time-frame) after analysing and improving the product
Analysis of the components to figure out which ones can be or should be replaced for better efficiency
For the purpose of sending a prototype of an aquaponic system, we created a smaller version of the tower, that can be taken by Tsering with her to Nepal. It was pretty simple for her to transport the system, as well as set it up in a new location. Meanwhile, we improved the prototype, by creating flat packed lid for the tower, and different designs of cups for the plants.
Live Prototype Testing
During our field research in Nepal, we asked a potential user, an owner of a restaurant to test our product. We gave him the manual, and all of the necessary details (except for the fish tank and plants). From the testing, we saw that the tower has to be fixed to easier to build, the manual has to be structured differently and there are some mistakes in it. But in general, the feedback was very positive, as the user was able to set the system very quickly even without text instructions!