Design a Bog Day

Posted by Suzanne Rodrigues Editorial Assistant in Oxfam's Digital Communications Team

3rd Jul 2013

We need designers, manufacturers and inventors to create the emergency sanitation kit of the future. Join us on 13 September 2013 and design latrines and taps which could save lives in disaster situations across the world.

When disasters hit, toilets and taps can save lives, fast. That's why Oxfam needs simple sanitation structures which can be flat-packed and flown across the world quickly and easily. But right now there's a real shortage of this functional, low-cost equipment. And that's where you come in.

Oxfam needs your brilliant ideas and industry expertise for our Design a Bog Day in Oxford on 13 September 2013. You'll work alongside an inspirational mix of product designers, manufacturers, inventors and students to help us imagine the sanitation hardware of the future. What's more, grants totalling £80,000 will be available to develop your ideas after the day. Ultimately, you'll be helping to keep people alive when disasters hit around the world.

Who we need

You don't need to know anything about sanitation or have any intention of applying for a grant, but you do need to bring something to the table. Maybe you have an in-depth knowledge of manufacturing (plastics, wood or metal), an understanding of building or packaging stuff, or the capability to put ideas into production. Perhaps you're a product designer who could help with CAD modelling, or a student keen to prototype an idea for a thesis. Or maybe you're a handy man or woman with great ideas and an open, creative mind. Whatever your area of specialism, we'd love to hear from you.


What we need

We're looking for innovative designs of new kit in four areas:

1. Latrine super-structures

A flat-pack or folding enclosure that can be easily erected to give people privacy and dignity in the early stages of an emergency.

2. Raised latrines
When it's not possible to dig pit latrines (eg because of floods or rocky ground), it's necessary to build upwards. We need raised latrine structures which can be air freighted and installed quickly when disaster hits.

3. Trench support
A cheap, lightweight lining for latrine trenches, to help protect against soil collapse.

4. Handwashing facilities
A hygienic tap that will fit on family water containers, to help prevent the spread of disease.

On the day

On the day itself, you'll be given a crash course on the challenges of providing sanitation in emergency situations. After that, you'll work in multi-disciplinary teams on specific design briefs and scenarios. You'll brainstorm ideas, draw up storyboards, build basic prototypes and present back using set criteria including durability, functionality, cost, and user experience. Throughout the day, industry leaders and humanitarian experts will be on hand to provide guidance and inspiration.

How to apply

Places are limited - if you're interested, please email the following details to amcbride@oxfam.org.uk by 12 August 2013:

  • Name
  • Job title or degree discipline
  • Company name or university
  • Contact details
  • Area of specialism (e.g. flat pack manufacturing or plastic injection moulding)
  • A couple of sentences on why you'd like to join Oxfam Design a Bog Day


More about Design a Bog Day

Design a Bog Day is part of the Emergency Sanitation Project, a collaboration between Oxfam, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and WASTE (advisers on urban environment and development).

If you have any queries about Design a Bog Day contact Angus McBride, Oxfam's emergency sanitation researcher, at amcbride@oxfam.org.uk

Blog post written by Suzanne Rodrigues

Editorial Assistant in Oxfam's Digital Communications Team

More by Suzanne Rodrigues