:: Specific Design Brief
Equipment - further information
PRODUCT DESIGN – TEXTILES KENYA
How do Paravets carry their equipment now?
Most use rucksacks strapped to their backs. These can be purchased locally for
about 500Ksh (about £5). I bought a small version for 300Ksh. They are not
specially made and have no compartments that can be used to separate different
items. They do have pockets on the outside but these again are not purpose built
and are used as best they can e.g. for small tablets, paper and pens, knives
etc. The shopkeeper claims they are waterproof but the paravets wouldn't agree.
Nor is the material very tough.
Inside the rucksack everything is packed haphazardly in a plastic bag and dumped
in the rucksack. Although glass bottles are protected in a cardboard box, they
are not easily held upright and so liquids can easily leak out. Syringes are
kept in plastic bags with the needles kept separately in the plastic box in
which they are bought.
Apparently some carry their equipment in boxes strapped to the back of their
bikes but I didn't see any using that method. They did experiment with trailers
but they didn't prove to be popular because of more punctures, often generated
by children taking them into the fields to play.
The paravets reckon they can carry about 70 kilos on a good, flat road but most
of the time 50 kilos is the maximum (the weight of a bag of cement). Women tend
to carry less, averaging about 25 kilos.
What do they think is wrong with the current method?
They recognise it is completely haphazard. Daniel says, "Sometimes you get to
another farm and look in your bag and think you must have left a vital piece of
equipment behind because it's hidden by something else. There isn't really any
sort of method in the way we pack things and we have to hunt around for whatever
it is we need."
Nothing has been purpose designed or made. There are no separate compartments or
pockets for different materials. There is nothing to protect glass bottles, nor
plastic from being crushed. Falling isn't uncommon and the rucksack quite often
takes the brunt of the weight. Leakage is a common problem. Paul's bag is
stained by leaks from one of the solutions he uses.
The straps dig into the shoulders. There isn't any additional protection to
prevent that. Nor is there anything to cushion the equipment from digging into
the paravet's back. With a weight of 5 kilos, and for some as much as 7-8 kilos,
that can be painful and very uncomfortable over a distance.
There is nothing to lock the drugs away. They may have to leave the rucksack
somewhere whilst they go to treat an animal so there is nothing to stop innocent
children tampering with the drugs.
One thing they often mention is the fact that they tend to combine business with
other jobs. So they may well want to carry other things e.g. products bought
from the market, as well as their equipment. They cannot put the two things
together as they want to keep their equipment as clean as possible. Therefore a
dual-purpose carrier would be advantageous. They sometimes want to carry another
person on the rack of the bike. With a rucksack on their back, that is
The current backpacks are not usually waterproof. They may be made from canvas
and can withstand showers but not heavy rain. Tablets can get wet, cotton wool
soaked. Their records and reference papers also suffer.
What sorts of distance do they have to travel?
They each tend to have their own areas to cover, close to their own farms.
However, sometimes they will travel into another area if they have already
treated that person's animals before and they are trusted. The furthest they are
likely to have to travel is about 10km and an average journey would be about
4-5km. They tend to make two journeys per day, one in the morning and another in
the evening. During the rest of the day the animals are likely to be away from
the farms grazing and the heat is so great that travelling is even more
They learn about animals needing treatment by word of mouth. That is the
traditional means of communication in the area. A child may pass on a message at
school, a neighbour at a market or at a communal water point. Sometimes, a
farmer who wants treatment urgently will ask a child or a neighbour to call on
the paravet to deliver the message.
The number of visits they have to make per day varies from season to season
though at the peak (June-July) they may be asked to make as many as five per
What would their ideal carrier be like?
• cost ideally 700-800 Ksh though they would probably pay up to 1500 for
something designed specifically for them and for which they saw obvious benefits
• demand would be reasonable for something specific but if it was designed as a
multi-purpose carrier it would sell better - there are paravets all over Kenya
but the number is hundreds not thousands
• something that catered for their domestic carrying purposes as well as their
• made from something light but tough - they don't want to add to the weight
• waterproof on both inside for some compartments and outside
• divided into compartments to carry different equipment easily
• equipment should be readily accessible once they reach a farm - something that
opened out to reveal all the contents
• glass bottles should have extra protection in their pockets
• should be capable of being locked
• ideally fixed to the bicycle and balanced
• not at the back so they could still carry a passenger
• should include a space for a puncture repair kit and spare light bulbs
• have a separate compartment for drugs
• removable from bike complete
• tear proof material to resist thorns etc at side of road
• special place for a thermometer
• pocket for record book, reference book, pens
• if a back pack they would like greater comfort to stop straps and equipment