Building A ‘Better’ Shack For South African Slum Dwellers

Building A ‘Better’ Shack For South African Slum Dwellers

From Food Processing Africa.

A Stellenbosch University professor and a master’s student in the Sustainability Institute have developed a short-term solution for urban energy poverty and for slums, so prevalent in the South African landscape. They built a better shack.

Professor Mark Swilling, student Andreas Keller and a team of intellectuals developed iShack, an improved shack with renewable energy solutions designed to improve living conditions, according to an article in Food Processing Africa.

Sixty-two percent of sub-Saharan Africa lives in slums, according to the U.N. Habitat State of the World’s Cities 2012-2013 report, the article says. Slum homes typically have poor living conditions and inadequate access to infrastructure such as basic energy, sanitation and water.

The iShack includes a photovoltaic solar panel capable of producing enough electricity to power three lights, a mobile phone charger and an outdoor motion detector spotlight, according to Food Processing Africa.

Keller says he researched the iShack concept for his master’s degree thesis. “(Swilling) suggested I look at how to upgrade a current shack through cheap, readily available materials. From this emerged the idea that if one had the possibility to build a new structure, how would one do this better?”

The first iShack was built in 2011. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation kicked in funding for a pilot project.

An iShack costs about $578.11, almost double that of a typical shack.

Read more at Food Processing Africa.