Ecological Living Module: Sustainable Developing Goals start at home

UN Environment and Yale Center for Ecosystems in Architecture with the support of UN-Habitat, have teamed up to develop an eco-housing module, to highlight the need for innovation and spark public discussion and new ideas on how sustainable design can provide decent, affordable housing while limiting the overuse of natural resources and climate change. Around one billion people worldwide currently live in informal settlements, while millions more live in buildings that are not environmentally friendly. Rapid urbanization and economic growth challenge communities to sustainably expand capacity, heightening the need for innovation in building systems and infrastructure. Engineered to operate independently, the module’s built-in systems include solar energy generation using less than 1 percent of toxic semiconductor materials, on-site water collection, micro agricultural infrastructure, natural day lighting, plant-based air purification, passive cross-ventilation, and a range of flexible, adaptable components for living and working. The first module has been set up at the High-Level Political Forum in New York in July to show people something which is real, which is concrete and brings home the message that affordable and adequate housing can be done with all environmental features being respected as well. People usually think that environmental features add some cost and therefore cannot be affordable, this project wants to prove this is not true. The second phase of this project includes the design and building of an eco-housing module adapted to the East Africa socio-economic and climatic context. In December, UN Environment and UN-Habitat have again joined hands to organize a participatory workshop under the lead of Yale Center for Ecosystems in Architecture with representatives from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania Architecture Universities to explore needs and opportunities. Outcomes of this workshop will be presented at the Fourth UN Environment Assembly. It will include an exhibit with real life structures as a way to engage people, and brand it as a ‘collective design’ opportunity as well as a first modelization of the East African Ecological Living Module.

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February 17, 2022

Bike Ambulances to improve Emergency Obstetric Care in Rural Areas

Maternal mortality and morbidity rates remain high in Cote d’Ivoire. It is estimated that more than six women out of a thousand are dying while delivering birth, while 0.7% of the women of childbearing age have fistula in the country (MICS, 2016). While the strengthening of the health system is taking place, women in the country, especially in the rural area, stay vulnerable to the high risk of maternal death and morbidity. From behavioral perspectives, the barriers that leads to the three delays–(1) deciding to seek care; (2) identifying and reaching a medical facility; (3) receiving adequate and appropriate treatment may include the following (Cichowitz et al., 2018): Factors related to the first delay: social norms (community prefers to deliver at home), limited transportation and health care services at night, and negative experience in hospitals in the past (lack of trust). Factors related to the second delay of reaching a medical facility: a lack of available transportation, long travel times, and perception of high medical costs (walking 36.5%, car 34.6%, bus 13.5%, and motorcycle 13.5% in case of a study in Tanzania). In this context, this rapid prototyping initiative seeks to develop a new low-cost, safe transportation for women to prevent maternal mortality and morbidity in rural areas, by tackling the barriers that often lead to delay of emergency obstetric care (EmOC). It also aims to collect and utilize the GPS data/information of the bike ambulances to enable regional hospitals and the government to make better decisions in providing care, utilize hospital ambulances efficiently, and enhance communication between the care-seeker and care-provider.
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