Reducing Community Health Burden

Design Challenge: 

How might we improve the health conditions for kebele community members of Dembecha District through disease prevention and treatment so that the burden of podoconiosis in this community is reduced 


The experimentation aimed to co-create a solution towards increasing access to hygiene supplies through the participation of a user community that is endemic to podoconiosis and trachoma diseases. The prototype testing was done with the user community. The experiment underwent the phases of; setting the scene; ideation; prototype creation and testing; and handover to user community. Each state utilized different tools and approaches. Ideation phase of a critical phase during which the user community identified a couple of challenges in controlling and managing the two hygiene-related sicknesses. These were further narrowed down to the most pressing health-related issue –poor hygiene. This was attributed to lack of affordable soap, an essential hygiene supply, which was substituted with use of firewood ash.  ‘User Journey’ and ‘Bright Stars’ tools were used in narrowing down to one user owned solution – affordable soap making. This solution was prototyped and tested in this experiment.   


The experiment developed tested a sustainable solution to increase affordable soap making by Yeworeda community/kebele of Dembecha District, a District that is endemic to both podoconiosis and trachoma, patients in this community have access to local made good quality soap at an affordable price. Liquid soap making is also a source of revenue to the community groups.  


Post-experiment, user community group members have plans to increase production of the affordable community-made soap and breaded their target market beyond the experiment scope by setting a shop at the nearby market. To facilitate this in a structured system, post-experiment the group has been registered with the local government to produce and sell the soap.  

FILANTROPIA-Orthodox Church Aid Missions: Reducing Community Health Burden (PDF)