Design Impact announced today that two of their social design projects were named as finalists in the Social Design Category of IDSA’s 2012 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) competition. As contributors to both projects, we’re excited and honored to receive this recognition.

The Erikoodu (“burning nest”) Smokeless Charcoal Briquette Cooking System offers a clean-burning, affordable cooking fuel for low-income families in India. The system is comprised of a mixer, press and drying rack which is used to transform scraps of unusable charcoal into a briquette. Pressed from sustainably-produced charcoal, the briquette does not release smoke during cooking, which reduces indoor air pollution. The manufacture of the system generates a new source of income and raises the standard of living for women and the Tamil Nadu, India, community.

Paruva Kaalam Fair Trade Soap is a handmade soap produced by women in Tamil Nadu, India. It is made of glycerin, a natural co-product of the local small-scale biofuel refining process. The design team shared business and branding expertise to help design and internationally market the handmade soap, while also embedding skills into the local community. The enterprise offers a community-driven income opportunity for local women while utilizing existing resources.

For both projects, the team lived on site and worked with the community during development. The team collaborated with the Organization of Development, Action and Maintenance (ODAM), which improves quality of living through female empowerment and rural community development.

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