Thursday, June 18, 2015

Hello from Arusha!

the bicycle-powered maize sheller

Hi everybody!

I’m Adriana, and for the next three months, I’ll be posting updates on my work at Twende AISE ( in Arusha Tanzania. AISE—short for “Accelerating Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship”—is an innovation center that serves as a workspace, product design firm, and educational resource here in Tanzania. The goal here is to develop locally-designed, locally-manufactured, affordable, appropriate products that improve lives.
There are a whole slew of projects in action here, but for this summer, I’m focusing on a bicycle-powered maize sheller. Maize, or mahindi, is a staple crop, and removing the dried kernels from the cob is a laborious, time-consuming process. The bicycle-powered sheller was developed by folks from Global Cycle Solutions, right next door to AISE. We’ve assumed responsibility for the development and are eager to get these shellers out to market and onto bicycles.

So, how does that happen?

Thanks to the hard work of past teams, I arrived here to find a functioning sheller that mounts on most models of bicycle found in local villages. For the next five weeks, our team will make weekly trips around the Arusha area to field test with farmers and refine the design. By August, we plan to have 50 maize shellers fabricated. These 50 units will serve as a medium-scale test for manufacturing, distributing, and of course using the bicycle-powered maize sheller. We’ll sell them to farmers and spend the month watching them in action, fixing any problems that pop up, learning, and planning for the future.

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