Feb 15, 2011

HTI and Eastman Conduct Disaster Relief Demonstration in Kenya

Pilot project measured reaction to HydroPack product

Hydration Technology Innovations (HTI) and the Kenya Water for Health Organization (KWAHO) conducted the HydroPack demonstration project Jan. 18 to 28.

Eastman Chemical Co. cellulose acetate is the heart of the membrane that enables the HydroPack–a paper-thin, 4-by-6-in. pouch–to transform dirty and brackish water into 12 oz of clean drinking water.

Eastman also helped fund the project, which set out to validate the efficacy of the HydroPack as a default hydration solution for the first phase of an emergency relief situation. HTI distributed approximately 27,000 HydroPacks to 90 households in the village of Mudimbia, Kenya.

When HTI requested design assistance to ensure the HydroPack is as user-friendly as possible, Eastman recommended Modern Edge, located in Portland, Ore., near HTI's production facility in Albany, Ore.

Austen Angell, president of Modern Edge, is a leading expert in materials and manufacturing processes and has participated in numerous humanitarian projects similar to the HydroPack demonstration. Modern Edge designed the packaging components and graphics for the pilot in Kenya.

In addition to an in-depth study of 11 Mudimbi households, the Modern Edge team traveled to the Turkana region of northern Kenya to assess reactions to the HydroPack.

The nomadic Turkanas are suffering from a sustained drought compounded by the redirection of historical rivers for agriculture and power, costing them much of their livestock and livelihood.

The design firm conducted 10 separate interviews, including 37 respondents, in order to collect baseline data on graphics, symbol and icon recognition, usage data and HydroPack acceptance from people with minimal exposure to modern branding, packaging and communications.

Combined with the extensive research in Mudimbia, Modern Edge is helping HTI gain valuable insights from the people who are likely to use the HydroPack in a disaster situation.