Q&A English

Who we are?

The maggie program mobilises innovation and technology to improve the situation of displaced people in the world.

The maggie program manages public private partnerships and synchronise the various research and development partners towards established needs.

What is our added value?

The capacity to synchronise and optimise the collaboration of the various partners towards solutions.

We bring people and organisations together. We discuss solutions and identify the missing links. We than concentrate on the missing links and putting te pieces of the puzzle together.

What is our main achievement?

We developed a low cost, high-quality and multi-functional maggie (18m x 6 m) tailored to the needs of camps (displaced people) using local free available materials in order to address the need for better, adequate schools, community and training-centers, medical wards, civil protection and temperature controlled warehousing (medication, food).

The maggie is adaptable, intelligent and addresses the shortcomings of tents. It looks like a large tent but has the virtues of a modern building. In total, 30 different criteria has been addressed.

What’s in the pipeline?

  • Near zero energy maggie: fuel is the major cost for shelters over time. Fuel dependency is a risk factor. Fuel autonomy is more reliable. Our quest is to deliver a near-zero energy shelter. Extra renewable sources using sunlight, wind or geothermal solutions are used for heating or cooling in harsh climates, instead of electricity.
  • light-weight, surface-levelling floors that prevents life threatening diseases and hypothermia is still one of the main challenges that has not been solved. 40% of the heat is lost without a proper floor in cold climates.
  • Growing crops in semi-arid and arid areas. Many refugees never see a fresh vegetable. Often, the refugee’s diet is monotonous and does not meet the full needs for nutrients of the population. Intelligent gardens could complement the basic food ration but the challenge is to avoidn the toll on the limited water resources. We can address this by combining existing technics into a new approach.

 

Why we need maggies?

We developed a solution for larger shelters where fixed buidings is not allowed, practical or desired. The reason is that countries hosting the camps do not allow permanent settlements. That explains why tents are mainly used in emergencies. But experts are clear; tents are no solution when it comes to schools or training centres, medical facilities, warehousing or civil protection.

Displaced people remain on average 12 years in a camp. Many camps exist for several generations. The focus should swift from emergency to longer term solutions.

Who we focus on?

There are nearly 60 million displaced people in the world. About 2/3 are internal displaced people and 1/3 are refugees. Half of the forcibly displaced people are kids.

Maggies are used for what?

1. Schools, training centres & community centres: Education is often the only hope and ticket for change refugee children have. Vocational training is key to providing a new beginning for displaced people. Community centres have multiple purposes. Our focus is on learning adults skills so displaced people can become self-reliant, earn a living and make marketable products. Skills and knowledge also give displaced people an extra asset when they return to their home country and rebuild their lives. Special focus is on women empowerment and capacity building of micro-economical projects.

3. Medical wards & Health posts: Refugees have a high rate of disease and mortality. Many refugee camps are located in regions with extreme temperatures. Both heat and cold affects the health of patients and increase the mortality rates. The need for safe, clean and temperature controlled recovery areas are vital.

4. Temperature controlled warehouses: Food and drugs deteriorate due to exposure to sun and heat. The challenge is to have an unbroken logistical chain. High insulated, energy efficient warehouses are the solution. Additional challenges are safety against intruders, preventing mould and repelling dust, insects and rodents.

Unique selling proposition maggie shelter?

  • The Maggie outlives a tent many times, bringing the cost of ownership well below the cost of a tent.
  • The Maggie conforms to the requirements of modern schools.
  • The maggie provides good protection against storm, intruders, dust, insects and rodents.
  • The Maggie delivers a high comfort (smart temperature control, ventilation, daylight, ..) and is energy efficient using free available materials (the maggie can reach the passive-house criteria and rebuke heat)
  • The Maggie is addressing the shortcomings of tents while remaining a temporary construction.
  • The shelter is designed to be erected and dismantled within 2 days (emergency response).
  • The maggie is very compact (1800 kg, 8 m2. We get about 10 maggies in a 40′ container which delivers about 200 meters x 6 quality shelter.

maggie-program; focus on solutions

The maggie-program is part of a wider approach where we work with other organizations to provide education and skills to help displaced people to get back on their feet and develop competences that allow them to return and built a better future.

Experts are clear; the number of displaced people will rise drastically the following years & decennia due to the impact of climate changes.

But there is hope. Experience has shown that displaced people that receive education, vocational training and some help:

1. Are getting on their feet again quickly

2. Often prove capable of developing some sort of sustainability within a reasonable short time.

3. Gradually gain perspective

4. Are the community leaders of tomorrow when they return home

5. Are less likely to become recruits for fanatics

Public-private partnership is key to success

More than 30 experts from leading aid organisations, private companies and researchers have contributed to the maggie innovation. The government of Belgian have partly sponsored this development. Most contributions of knowhow, materials or capacity has been voluntary and free of charge.

The role and commitment of DMOA engineers & architects

DMOA is the principle developer of the maggie. DMOA is a Belgian Architect and Engineering company specialized in distinguished housing and constructions, combining the use of innovative materials with traditional craftsmanship. The quest for innovation is in line with DMOA strengths and day-to-day business; combining and project-coordinating various disciplines into a thoughtful and efficient durable construction. Benjamin Denef, co-founder and technical lead; “the Maggie program is close to our hearts. We are fathers too and we feel strongly that we have a duty to transmit our knowledge and expertise to those organizations that are dedicated to the most unfortunate. The development was quite a challenge. We had to comply with 30 different criteria that we gathered through the input of various shelter experts.”

HEALTH ISSUES DUE TO EXPOSURE TO A HARSH CLIMATE

Forced displaced people have a disproportionately high rate of mortality, diseases and mental illness. From the nearly 60 million displaced people, almost half are in a state of extreme vulnerability. A number of the causes for diseases amongst refugees are preventable when providing comfort for those at risk.The maggie shelter addresses the shortcomings of tents and is a solution against the elements of a harsh climate.

HEALTH ISSUES DUE TO COLD

A World Health Organisation Report in 1985 established that there is a link between poor health and low indoor temperatures. Further research has strengthened this finding. Cold can affect the health of people. Many refugee camps are located in regions with a harsh climate. At temperatures below 12°C, blood tends to thicken and cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, circulatory and respiratory diseases rise sharply. Temperatures drop drastically at night in high-altitude re- gions. Frost, snow and storms are reality, even in arid and semi-arid areas . Tents provide little protection against the brutal elements of nature. Refugees rarely have access to energy sources. They burn rubbish and any organic materials they can find in the proximity of camps. It inflicts respiratory diseases, which are prominent among refugees. The scramble for organic materials has an important ecological impact on the area and often causes conflict with the local residents. Research shows that refugees spend much of their modest income or savings on buying fuel or coal to warm their tent in winter.Tents are cheap to procure but have a short life span (need to be replaced at regular), little insulation and a high cost of ownership.

HEALTH ISSUES DUE TO HEAT

Heat causes cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and respiratory diseases. Heat-related illness occurs when our bodies can no longer transfer enough heat to keep us cool. Excess heat causes rashes, swelling, dehydration, exhaustion and heart-stroke. Pregnant mothers, newborn babies and elders are particularly at risk. Women in refugee camps experience worse pregnancy outcomes, including increased foetal mortality, low birth weight, premature labour, post natal complications and infections.

SAFETY ISSUES AMONGST REFUGEES

The refugee population is a mosaic of individuals, each with a personal history. They reconstitute their complex societies in the refugee camps and take with them the ethnic, cultural and religious rituals and convictions of their home country. The scarce resources and challenges for survival further exacerbate the divisional tension amongst refugees. Creating safe refuges within a camp for those at risk is a demanding task given the fact that countries hosting the refugees only allow for temporary settlements. Still today, tents make up the vast majority of the shelters. Tents provide little protection against intruders.

THE NEED FOR EDUCATION AND SKILLS FOR REFUGEES

In the midst of conflict or sustained poverty, education for the victims and displaced people is often seen secondary to the struggle for food, aid and shelter. Providing education (children) and skills (adults) helps refugees to get back on their feet and develop competences that allow them to return and build a better future. Yet experience has shown that small refugee populations receiving little support, often prove capable of developing some sort of sustainability within a reasonably short time. Equally, the UN reports that refugees with an education often provide the leadership during the rebuilding of communities. Self-reliance is key. Educated refugees also contribute greatly to the sustainable peaceful coexistence between factions and the economical development of a region after conflict.