Demotech – design for self-reliance

Rope pump intake.*
Rope pump

I’ve spent the past week visiting Demotech in Maastricht, the Netherlands. Reinder van Tijen is the driving force behind Demotech, often working with his colleague Bram, and with interns. I’ll be posting an interview with Reinder shortly, but first I want to introduce some of his work:

  • Rope pumps have been Reinder’s main work – a tool for providing water with minimal materials and local construction and maintenance. And I can vouch that they’re amazingly easy to operate. Where else but ropepumps.org?
  • DemoUnit carried home after a rally. Reinder at far right.*
    DemoUnit - light and portable
  • Need to display a sign? Mount posters or banners? DemoUnits put democratic free expression into appropriate technology: DemoUnits.net. These frames are not only a boon for activists, but can be used wherever you need a sturdy, lightweight frame. I’ve slept in a large one which was covered and used to create a bedroom within Demotech’s warehouse space.
  • A hand-wash station for environments with limited water – improves hygiene without wasting water:  HY2U.org
  • One of Demotech’s latest projects is a kind of appropriate technology hanging garden: Green4Equity.net. (I was confused by the name until I realized it’s equity as in equality, not equity the finance term. D’oh.)
  • Want to delve deeper? At Demotech.org there are a range of designs, plus publications showing the thinking behind Demotech’s work.

* Image credits: Rope pump intake via Crossroads. Image of DemoUnit taken by me (Chris Watkins), shared under CC-by-sa 3.0.