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Fri Apr 22 (2016)

Crowd Workshopping and how the Green4Equity workshop fits in ...

Version April 14th 2013, presented to CommonBound at April 21, 2016

Thu Apr 21 (2016)

News today April 21st is that I submit an application for a conference organized by the New Economy Coalition. I ran into trouble while writing this submission because I could not enter a file to the submission form. And this file contained all the details neatly lined out of the rather complex structure of Crowd Workshhopping. So now I copy this paper here below. Crowd Workshopping and how the Green for Equity workshop fits in ...

Version April 14th 2013, presented to CommonBound at April 21, 2016

Sustainability Now! We need new tools to change our habits into a sustainable life style. Crowd workshopping is such a tool. A small crew of activists with a mission to teach, can now teach, train, empower many more people than in conventional ways.

It is all about empowerment: that small groups of dedicated activist need to be empowered to be able to give exiting and convincing workshops. Any person that has taken part should be able to use this training tool just as effective in an initiative of their own.

Crowd workshopping offers that empowerment. This paper gives only a general description of the procedures as done in practice. The challenge taken up with crowd workshopping is applicable to many teaching targets. The first one that Demotech did in March 2013 had the title and subject: 'To Green The World Now at No Cost!'

Other workshop theme can be presented in the same way.
(See the motivation for the Green for Equity workshop as written for the website at the end of this paper in red)

1. The why and how of crowd workshopping
2. The Green for Equity workshop as an example of crowed workshopping
2.1. Targets
2.2. Results
2.3 Warming up to the workshop
The Green for Equity workshop, short description of how it works with the Workstations
2.4. How the Green for Equity workshop is embedded in the campaign Green for Equity

1. There is a description and a list of how and what to prepare for the workshop
2. There is a list of instructions given during the workshop to the participants, i.e. the content they learn and learn to do.
3. There is a list of tools and materials that have to available

A 1. List of materials and templates for G4E-workshops
A 2. List of instructions to be given at each work station for an outdoors G4E-workshop

1. The why and how of crowd workshopping

Crowd Workshopping (CW) is done very much in the same way as walking along lovely dishes of food at a grand buffet, while filling up your plate ....

Why crowd workshopping differs from a usual workshop:
- To make it possible for a small crew to give an intensive training for learning sustainable practices to a great many people in a short time.
- To deliver a one-to-one learning process that guarantees covering all aspect of a given process to be learned.
- To avoid waste of time of trainers and participants normal in any other approach of group teaching

Crowd workshopping (CW) is an innovative educational approach, that differs from the normal teaching of a tutor to a class or group in the following aspects:

- CW aims to ascertain that each participant gets all the information handed out, is being trained to use it and is tested on her/his ability to perform it, practice and theory. Aspects of safety and responsibility are taken proper care of.

- CW wants to exclude all distracting social interaction between attendants during the course. It is a one-to-one method of teaching where the normal social interaction that participants like to have in shifted to a follow-up part of the project.

- CW splits up the expertise needed for the course in small units, each easy to learn, theory as well as practice. Each unit could take between three and ten minutes.
In this way it becomes possible to train some of the workshop participants in the role of trainers.

- CW aims at far lower cost for a hands-on course. It will also make the course far easier to organize. It fits in perfectly in the Road Show Approach as envisioned for many Demotech application programs.

- CW in practice: picture a line of work stations as in factories, i.e. tables with tools, materials, teaching aids, each table prepared for one particular task. One teacher in charge of each workstation. Then picture the participants queuing up for these workstations moving on when one particular task is done and so on and so on until everyone performed and learned all tasks.

2. The Green for Equity workshop as an example of crowd workshopping

2.1. Targets
- Green for Equity (short Green4Equity), initiated by some activists to contribute to 'Sustainability Now'. Green4Equity has what it takes to go viral: rich and poor, everybody likes green, everybody can share the fun of doing it. No constrains, not of cost, not of opportunity, not of ability.
There is a website, there is support, there is a campaign in the making.

- Targets: to show sustainability can be fun, can result in joy, can dissolve constrains; to explore method of community based learning; explore individual and group's reaching out to poverty; explore stimulating similar practices in deep poverty.

2.2 Green for Equity aims at the following results:
What participants will learn:

1. the higher target of the project: solidarity in sustainability, while contributing to a greener world, while enjoying local social cooperation
2. how to enjoy and how to promote green for all, green for our cities, green for poverty
3. how to do it in practice with means everybody has available, either rich or poor
4. how to pass on the experience and become a dedicated user and promotor

What participants will make and take home:
An instructive set of parts that they can at any time reproduce in any number they want. It consists of:
- one water container made of tin with the plastic tube inside and the cotton drip
- one or two trays with end filters
- wires with adjustable stops
- one little plant with the soil around its roots tied in a flat disk by cloth as an example for more plants to prepare at home.
2.3 Warming up to the workshop
- Participants stand in line for registration in front of big posters inviting people to the G4E workshop and describing details. While moving along the line people read and chat about it.
- At the registration stand they sign in in teams of two (T/2), one with the task of actual making, the other with the task of writing up what is taught and any special bit of information that they find of interest. They sign for their promise to comply with the rules of the workshop (described later). Important is that they realize work is done at their own risk, that they can not blame the organizers for bad results or injuries.

- T/2 receive the building manual and promise to take good notice of the offered motivation for this workshop. They also receive a name badge with a number that will be announced when it is their turn.

- When called upon, the T/2 (teams of two) go to the registration desk. First to be addressed for an interview. The interview seeks to find out if the participants are serious in their intention to learn to make and to keep using the G4E in its functional and promotional targets. When home they should have or find a wall in or outside their house of a building to mount the G4E-trays. Non-serious participants should offer their place to others.

- The T/2 then pass along a series of workstations. At each workstation the T/2 find a trainer with special tools that will instruct the T/2 how this action is done, what is the motivation behind it and what are the special considerations to note.

- A detailed description of the Work Stations for the G4E-workshop is available
- Arrived at the last Work Station the participant is interviewed.
The participants fill in a questionnaire. We discuss with them how to keep contact and what place they like to have in the community-to-be.
We invite participants to join up with other participants (TakeMyTag) and start planning action together. We offer the prospect to give additional trainings to become certified by Demotech to give workshops themselves.


Equity, what is equity? Equity is what is right, could be justice, is what is reasonable, could be understood as righteousness. Above all: it is just JUST, what in the end we all want.

Green is short for a green world, green for food, green for leisure, green for health.

What about Green for Equity? A green world, food, leisure, health for whom? The people that can get it? The better off?
Of course for the better of there should be a greener world, the sooner the better. Green is niceness, beauty, the good side of life. Let's plant trees, create more nature, care better for the nature there is.
This project Green for Equity is first of all for the better off.

And those in need? Living in dusty townships, dry areas, little rainfall, trees cut down for fuelwood, lowest income? Does it make sense to talk to them about greening their life?
Of course it does! Because it is just and it is right that green is for everybody.

Then what about the practical problem that rich has resources poor do not have? That's exactly where this campaign starts: let's create green with means everybody has plenty. Poor people too? Most poor people, yes!
Plants grow from seeds. Seeds are abundant, that is the nature of seeds.
Plants need light. Daylight everybody has.
Plants need water. Waste water, water with nutrients, everybody has.
No land, but yes the walls of one's house. (Almost) everybody has a home with four walls.
And everybody has ingenuity, creativity, care, perseverance.

The website describes how we all can green our world, much more then we thought possible. Enjoy it!


Picture Gallery available at Facebook page Demotech on our timeline date March 13, 2014

Long ago there was News!

Wed May 18 (2011)

Long ago, actually more then a year I wrote my last News. Too bad as there was plenty to tell. I also wrote plenty in diaries and reports that I could have posted here at this very place.
But doing so was that one extra thing that did not happen. Reason was real complete involvements in two develoments.
First the Hy2U for washing hands. I was dissatisfied with it being not easy enough to make and that it still was incomplete in its functioning. The drain for collection waste water was missing. Being not happy with a design I made sometimes helps. It resluts in constant poking for a better solution. That soluron slowly came of this last year. Shortly I will publish about it at this site and at the site
Second was the work I did together with my colleage Bram de Vries on the rope pump in a small village in Ethiopia. The target was Demotech-like: cost locally affordable with ease and some real innovative improvements to make future users as enthusiastic as people in the Netherlands are about the new iPad or Androit.

Two weeks ago I came back from Guatemala. At last I was kind of satisfied with the results. Cost is as low as it should be. Promise for new and exiting functionality certainly is there. Most important: the quality of the construction is catching up. It was not very robuust, but it is now. And ideas for even better parts are emerging.

Lots to do before I go back to Guatemala around July. I'll give an update of what had been achieved and what further progress should be got. Specially the work on water tanks holds innovative promises. This News is just for catching up and saying sorry for neglect. More is to come soon!

News, plenty news!

Tue Mar 23 (2010)

Too long I neglected this notice board. There was simply too much news, too much going on, but shame on me, I should do better.
From now on? I should!
  • Work in Kenya on the Hy2U. I made three visits to introduce the Hy2U in a poor quarter of Nairobi: Huruma. Great experience, so much fun in such abject environmental conditions. Also a week's work in Kisumi. Perfect interaction with people, bad and halting coordination with local partner organizations. Too little came of it apart from this and this video. Also much is told in the Hy2U-website.
  • Work in Ethiopia. Bram 'discovered' Hawassa, 6 hours by bus south of Addis Ababa. With the help of students and teachers of a technical college we started a H2U project. This story it told in this video. Social innovation as a result: Our 'Messengers' became a reality, still going strong. A followup in May is prepared to tackle the problem of washing hands at schoool latrines where there is no piped water. Read and see al about the HyBoX and this slide show.
  • In Aqua for All we found a partner that really makes a difference with financial support and good understanding of what Demotech's targets are. So we continued work on Rope Pumps in Guatemala. Next to the pumps, work was done on a well lining method and on a big 'egg', a thin walled cement 5 m3 water vessel. This project will be continued in May, and right now we prepare for that in our Lab in Maastricht.
  • Latest news is the YouTube Channel 'DemotechDesign'. that came into being. At last I could properly present video's and slide shows. We find this location attracts more visitors than our our website Glad not to miss them!

    Innovating while knowing next to nothing

    Thu Jun 19 (2008)

    What about introducing a design initiative that lacks background knowledge and probably is not possible? Look at it from a different angle: the "why" of it is well founded: there is full general agreement that deforestation should be halted, better reversed. But the "how" is wishful thinking, better use the word: "perhaps".

    This it what I did with the new design initiative 'Solar Cooking and Baking'. There is an illustration of how it could look, there is a list of assumptions behind this design, there will be a long list of urgent questions that just illustrate how flimsy the "how" is backed up.
    Yet I feel this is the way to do it, this is how it should be done more often. Presenting in reasonable detail a total picture should arouse detailed support. People should address us with bits of conflicting or supportive information. No one will do it without such an incentive. A few will do it no doubt with ideas and data that suddenly will give a boost to this Open Source challenge.
    I personally know nothing about heat pipes or molten salt. But thousands of people do. One day I'll get the missing news from one of them.


    Sun Apr 27 (2008)

    Miracles happen. Mayor Gert Leers of Maastricht is seen in this picture to pin up a decoration on the sweater of an amazed Demotech's initiator. By the act shown on the photograph he became Ridder in de orde van Oranje-Nassau. Reinder's house mates cheered their own new knight, only not to shield behind him when a few weeks later the Kraak Festival, this big LBB event was prohibited by this same generous mayor. Could this new knight have been the secret weapon that would have turned the tide?

    Future new item

    Thu Jul 19 (2007)

    Text will be replaced, as the YouTube movie "Say no to terrorism" waa no longer available

    What is going on in Guatemala today?

    Fri May 04 (2007)

    Contributon from Joel Roszmann
    Bram and Chinto will leave for Guatemala in two weeks. That means that the Demotech Lab is a flurry of activity as we prepare to get everything ready for them to go. A half dozen StorageStools, in various stages of completion, litter the workshop and provide constant reminder of the task at hand, lit by the mid afternoon sunshine which drifts into the room through cracked and dusty windows.
    Bram is working at one of the work benches carving sticks of bamboo for Reinder to test in his latest concept for the base of the bag inside of the stool. Working next to him, the 74 year old man stands over his own bench, quickly picking up Bram's finished pieces and putting them together in the correct shape. With work going on at a steady pace, I sit at a computer and find myself wondering what is going on in Guatemala. What does the world look like that these stools are about to enter into?
    A quick internet search is reveals a few bits of news. There is a general election due in September, and two candidates, one a General and one an ex-rebel have been chosen to represent a party for presidentship. The "hunger season" is coming some time in May or June, and higher than normal maize prices are a concern to poorer inhabitants. There was a murder reported recently near the capital. Coffee and Sugar cane production are normal, but there is worry that the rainy season may come late this year due to climate change. There is a whole country alive there where I have never been.
    But somewhere in that country, and I must admit with a bit of guilt that I still haven't asked bram exactly where, there is a village which will be invited to start producing the stools that Reinder and Bram are working on as I type. Somewhere, I tell myself, there will be people whose lives change because of what we do here.
    I then remember the stool I built a week ago, with a group of children here in Maastricht. It occurs to me that for the moment, somewhere is not so important to me. My stool, sitting in my living room, seems somehow more real than the entire nation of Guatemala. It makes me laugh to think that somewhere people are going to enjoy making and having that stool in exactly the same way that I am enjoying the one that I have and made.
    More. I bet they will enjoy it more.

    Julia Klomfass completes Internship

    Wed Mar 28 (2007)

    A student of Environmental Sciences in Berlin, Julia Klomfass has just recently finished her three week internship at Demotech, where she has been working to bridge the gap between the conceptual understanding of hands-on work and academic life/lifestyle.
    In her report, available here, Julia gives an exciting and heartfelt appeal to reintegrate hands-on work into education at all levels. Learning at Demotech, Julia set out to "find the patterns of hands-on work and a way to teach them to fellow students". her results, summarized in her report , are striking. Julia notes that many of the thinking patterns and practical skills vital to hands-on work are grossly undervalued in modern society, and that learning those would make a strong step towards sustainability by getting people more in touch with their surroundings. Moreover, she points out that the social concept that manual work is simple, or mindless, is false, and maps some of the more evident differences in thinking processes necessary to work successfully with your hands.
    Connected to a publication by Demotech from 1998 "To Make", Julia's reflections build on Demotech's

    Julia Klomfass shows one of her hands on results

    previous experiences with learning in the field, as well as to progress of the current project by Bram in Guatemala. The importance of knowing how people learn outside of an academic environment is of great interest to us, and will be studied further.

    By Joel

    Hydraulic Ram Pump Video for Guatemala

    Sat Feb 10 (2007)

    In the early eighties, I traveled in Maroc with a bulky Polaroid projection screen to Casablanca, coming from a farm near Al Hoseima where I recorded our donkey on Polaroid instant movie film doing its rounds while driving the water pump we had build. With this -at that time- ultra modern equipment I wanted to link experts from the Casablanca university to their own rural reality. Nothing much came out of it.

    This time, preparing for Guatemala Bram and I do it the other way round. What we did in Maastricht, at out lab, has been videod by Bram. He made a short movie, showing out test set-up of the hydraulic ram pump. To see is that the ram pump sprouts water jets and higher up indeed some water stream out. How a ram pumps actually works is almost impossible to explain to laymen. However we want farmers in the mountains to explain precisely this: how and why it works, notwithstanding the language barrier, notwithstanding that they are totally new to this pumping principle. Then how could we create this understanding, how to create curiosity and later enthousiasm?

    Here you can find the video that Bram made.

    Bram takes along to Guatemala a video beamer working on a battery, also a DVD-diskman with a little screen to see the movie. What you, reader can see, these farmers will see also. Having seen that, will they come to the workshops where the hydraulic ram pump will be build together with them?

    If so, we have created a tool to get a complicated technial message accross.
    If not we will do it as we did it up to now: demonstrate, invite pariticipation, show them how to make best use of Appropriate Technology. No doubt the useual way will work, as it has always worked.
    But imagine! imagine that video will speed up the process of learning. Imagine a little DVD-disk will do most of the work of explaining, without us being there too, Image this to happen not on one place only but where ever needed ...

    News Mon Sep 25 (2006) -- Tue Jan 25 (2005)
    News Tue Jan 25 (2005) -- Fri Jan 09 (2004)
    News Tue Dec 16 (2003) -- Wed Aug 27 (2003)
    News Thu Aug 14 (2003) -- Tue Jun 03 (2003)
    News Thu May 22 (2003) -- Mon Mar 17 (2003)
    News Mon Mar 17 (2003) -- Wed Dec 04 (2002)
    News Thu Nov 28 (2002) -- Mon Oct 21 (2002)
    News Fri Oct 11 (2002) -- Tue Aug 27 (2002)
    News Tue Aug 27 (2002) -- Mon Jul 01 (2002)