Organic Fertiliser
Name of village:
Location:

Partner: Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi

The trip

The trip began with everyone being nervous and strangers to each other. No one was sure if we could complete the programme well. We had to slowly get used to the new environment, away from friends and family and open up to the Thailand buddies. We can only hope that everything goes smoothly and we could complete the programme with something that can really help the local community.

The Background

Majority of the people in the community relies on farming to make a living. The schools in the community have been producing organic fertilizer using traditional methods. Thus, it is tedious and requires a lot of physical labour.

The making of organic fertilizer is done by mixing lots of ingredients (e.g. Rice husk, leaves of trees, manure etc.) It is done by leaving the mixed pile to decompose and turned once a week using a shovel to speed up the process.

The students and teachers would like us to help them improve their business of making organic fertilizer. Work starts!!!

The Homestay

The homestay is carried out during the empathy stage of our programme which lasted for 4 days 3 nights. Despite the harsh conditions of the homestay, which includes countless mosquitos, sleeping on the floor and poor bathing conditions especially for the guys, we had done many activities which were really fun and enjoyable. We learned and bonded through these activities which make us thankful that we had them. This activities include:

    1.Making of flowers using pandan leaves

    2.Thailand foot message

    3.Making of Thailand dessert

    4.BBQ party

    5.Performances

    The work

    Through research, personal experiences and interviews which were done during the sense & sensibility and empathy stages, we found out that the school faces a lot of problems making organic fertilizer such as lack of manpower, difficult conditions when making organic fertiliser etc. Hence, our needs statements include:

      1.“I need more people to help make organic fertilizer.”

      2.“I need to be more motivated & inspired.”

      3.“I need a more efficient & easy process.”

      We came up with solutions and models from ideation and prototype stages. We also went back to the school to get feedback from the target audience to ask if they like our idea. Through modification from feedback, our solution includes:

        1.Club identity (Facebook page, Club logo, Club T-shirt, Certificates, Poster & Brochures)

        2.Leaves Cutting Machine

        3.Banana Stem Cutter

        4.The Fun Mixer

        5.Watering system

        6.The Hut

      The first solution was made to help solve needs statement 1 and 2, as Posters and Brochures encourage students to join the organic fertilizer club, getting more manpower. Facebook page, Club logo, Club T-shirt and Certificates are further incentives and encouragement for students in the club to do better and feel that they are involved. This would result in them feeling more motivated and inspired.

      Club T-Shirt, Club Logo and Badges

      Posters & Facebook page

      Change of Club T-shirt design after feedback

      Change of logo and badges to certificate after feedback

      Solutions 2 to 6 were to solve need statement 3, to make the process more efficient & easy. Each of these machines can lessen the workload for different steps of making organic fertilizer. By using them, the whole process would be simpler and quicker compared to the original methods.

      Leaves Cutter Machine

      Leaves are small and difficult to cut by manual. Hence, the leaves can be placed into this machine which is connected by gears system to a bicycle. By cycling on the bicycle, the gear system would work, turning the blades in the machine. It would then cut the leaves into smaller pieces. We got feedback that a cover should be introduced hence, the right picture is our new model after modification.

      Banana Stem Cutter:

      Banana steam are thick and heavy. Hence, by chopping it, it would require a lot of effort. Thus, we created this machines such that the students can just put the banana stem through the hole and use the knife to cut it. The effort required would be minimise as the student is only required to lift and push the knife down. The feedback we got is that the cutting should be automatic and something to transport the banana stem into the hole would be best. Hence, we created a conveyor belt for the banana stem.

      The Fun Mixer:

      This mixer is created as the traditional method of using a hoe to mix requires too much effort. The machine is used by placing all the raw materials into the machine, 1 student is to stand at one handle for each of the 3 handle. They will then all move in a direction. Hence, the raw materials will be turned and mixed together. Through feedback, we know that they wanted the machine handle and turner to be made of stainless steel. They also worry about the heavy materials being at the bottom. Thus, we painted the parts that should be made of stainless steel grey and also changed our turner to a bit slant to push the heavy materials so light ones can fall.

      Watering System:

      Watering the fertilizer daily is a boring and tedious process. Sometimes, the students might even forget to water the fertilizer. Hence, with this machine, just putting a water source’s hose to the top hole, the water would then be flow and drip out through the holes in the pipes. The organic fertiliser would be just below the structure, thus directly watering it. We were told that there should be mist sprinklers added to our watering system to allow the organic fertilizer to be watered equally throughout. Hence, we added it to our system and painted our model to show each parts made of different materials such as the pillar made of clement.

      The Hut

      The hut’s shelter is made up of coconut leaves which is good as it is cheap and easy to replace and it shelters from the hot sun. Furthermore, the machines are all placed in the hut. This allows easy accessibility to the materials and little travelling and transporting is required.

      The Challenges

      Many problems occurred along the trip, from language barriers to stress & unmotivation to even illnesses etc. However, we never failed to share love and to encourage each other. We also thought of new ways to communicate such as using of google translate. With the extra care and encouragement given by our care bear, motivator and livewire, no challenge is too hard to be overcome.

      The End

      2 weeks were over in a blink of an eye and it is the time to part. The Thailand people are really friendly throughout the 2 weeks. Despite this programme giving them no rewards, they really tried their best to help. We are really grateful that they are with us and it is really a very enjoyable and fruitful trip. All the tears, sadness, unwillingness to part will be forgotten as time goes by. However, we all know that this shared memory would remain in our hearts forever.