MIT Public Service Center

Testing and designing a multi-crop thresher for scale

Global Cycle Solutions

Arusha, Tanzania
http://www.gcstz.com

Background

Global Cycle Solutions (GSC) creates and distributes technologies to rural villagers in Tanzania. Their products are sold through a network of hardworking micro-entrepreneurs who distribute and maintain technology designed for the rural poor. GCS' technology portfolio includes cost-saving, income-generating products such as solar lanterns and simple post-harvest technologies. Where there's a need and no existing technology, GCS works to develop technologies in its own Innovation Lab.

Today, Global Cycle Solutions is a three-year-old technology start-up based in Arusha, Tanzania, that works closely with MIT D-Lab and local inventors to build new products in Tanzania for Tanzanians. As strong believers in co-creation and collaboration, we work with smallholder farmers to identify and build better products to fill farmers' needs. Some prototypes in development include a multi-crop thresher, drip irrigation kit, and bicycle maize sheller. We need help taking our alpha prototypes to product for global sale.

The Challenge

Despite GCS founder being an MIT Mechanical Engineering alum, GCS faces challenges recruiting experienced engineers to help in the product development. GCS has wonderful inventors in-house and our innovation lab with mill, lathe, and welding machine. However, we need help designing the product for scale for more efficient manufacturing, better pricing, and improved quality for future product misuse. The community has been interacting with our products, but our products have failed to meet their demands. The community is looking for simple agricultural tools that will increase their productivity by at least five times. Currently, we are looking at developing a more effective multi-crop thresher.

We need knowledgeable engineers like those from MIT, as they have skills that have been difficult to recruit in-country and out-of-country as many engineers lack hands-on experience and many technicians lack engineering skills. Most of our staff are Tanzanian, and working with an experienced engineer would offer them an opportunity to learn about the "other" side of design.

In working with GCS, MIT students will learn about the challenges faced by our customers and they will be able to experience, first-hand, the challenges faced by an organization with frequent power outages, limited material and machine resource. This is a tremendous opportunity as the needs of our customers are so vast. We hope that an MIT student would be able to aid with development and dissemination of our first prototypes of the Multi-Crop Thresher while also providing engineering to help our technicians understand why we've designed the product as we have.

Qualifications, Preferences, and Assets

Time Constraints

For us, the sooner it is completed, the better, but we welcome help at any time. However, out needs may change over time.

Contact

Jodie Wu, Managing Director
+255 759 335 543, +255 688 912 559
Jodie.wu@globalcyclesolutions.com
P.O. Box 2722, Arusha, Tanzani

Alternative contact
Daniel Mokrauer-Madden
mokrauer@mit.edu