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Care kit for Zambian 

new moms

My Role

This is an individual project.


14 weeks



User-centered research



A six-month postpartum* caring kit that allows new moms in Zambia to live and work after giving birth in a more hygienic way to stay away from injections and maternal deaths.

User-centered Research

The problem

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 3.1:

“By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births. “


(currently 211/100,000 according to UN)


Every day about


women died globally during

and following pregnancy and childbirth.



of all maternal deaths occurred in

developing countries.

(WHO 2017. report)

In 2018, Zambia reported


deaths per 100,000 live births. (more than twice the UN's goal.)


Postpartum care in developing areas

is an over-looked method of reducing maternal mortality.

User profile

  • Zambia postpartum moms in rural areas (6 weeks after giving birth)

  • Age 16-22

  • Going out to work within 6 weeks after giving birth

What is it like to live in Zambia rural areas?

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  • Lack of regular access to electricity

  • No tap water

  • Average 5.5 kids per family

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  • Usually public bathrooms and restrooms

  • Limited housing space

  • No designed storage

A-day-in-life of Zambia working postpartum mom

Pain points & insights

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Sustainability matters too.

Methodology - Life cycle analysis

Life cycle analysis (LCA) is a method used to evaluate the environmental impact of a product through its life cycle encompassing extraction and processing of the raw materials, manufacturing, distribution, use, recycling, and final disposal. 

-Journal of Environmental Management, 2010

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Adam Caar

Process tree


Impact Matrix

Assessing impacts of each material from raw material extraction to end-of-life.

Okala Score

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Based on the impact factors listed in "Okala Practitioner", I calculate the Okala impact points of the product, which indicates the environmental impact of the existing postpartum care product from material extraction to end-of-life.

Life Time Impact Points: 48.47

Life time: 336 hours (2 weeks)

Impact per hour: 0.144

Problems & insights from sustainability research

Paper & cotton usage 

As analyzed in impact matrix and Okala calculation, paperboard and cotton have the highest environmental impact before end-of-life scenario.

Product lifespan

Postpartum care products are usually one-time use which leads to high impact per hour.


Transportation makes up another big portion of the okala score. A more efficient way of distribution and recollection is needed.

Design Goal

How might we design a postpartum care product that enables Zambian moms to stay hygienic at different time of a day, without introducing negative impact on local environment and society?

Design Criteria

This is a multi-facet problem to solve.





Making it easier for Zambian postpartum women to carry the care kit to the field as well as to the public bathrooms.





Intuitive and efficient cleaning system as well as items to keep users from dirty surfaces.

Users should be able to use the care kit conveniently even in dark environment without lighting.




Cut down use of cotton & paper

Use impact matrix to evaluate the usage of cotton and paper.




Benefit local employment

Expand product lifespan

Efficient distribution

Short lifespan is one of the problems of the benchmark product. My goal is to expand it from 2 weeks to the entire 6 weeks.

Reduce waste and energy consumption based on transportation.

Providing employment opportunities by localizing material processing and transportation.

Seeking Solutions


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Concept 1 Learning from the local

Zambia has very unique ways of carrying items. Learning from how local people carry stuff gives us opportunity to make the kit easier for the users to adapt to.

Concept 2 Rinsing on the go

This solution aims to provide a way to enable the postpartum moms to have access to rinsing system when ever they need throughout the day in various environment.


-a rinsing system

-cooling pads (alleviation)

-clean panties

-a carrier

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Prototyping & Testing

Concept 1


Figuring out the Layout of the components first.

Going through the wearing process of the product. The will use the product to put her baby on her back like how she normally do.

She puts the other elements into corresponding pockets.

What's not good?

What's good?

  • No need for an additional product or methods to carry the baby.

  • The placement of the components makes it not comfortable for the users.

  • The using process feels hectic because she needs to pay good attention to the baby while trying to do other actions.

  • When she needs to use the rinsing bottle, she needs to take it out and put it back after using it.

Concept 2


Layout components in the

U-shape carrier.


It can be carried like a crossbody bag when the user is walking.


The strap is also the tube of the rinsing bottle.

What's not good?

What's good?

  • The whole process is natural and not hectic.

  • The crossbody style is very intuitive.

  • The carrier stays on the side of her body and will not interfere with the baby on her back.

  • The carrier stays stable on her back when using the rinsing bottle.

  • The tube being the strap makes it uncomfortable on shoulders. 

  • The tube being the strap is not very logical and may cause the tube to break easier.


She can use the rinsing bottle for her genital area in squatting position without taking off the carrier.

Final design

How to use

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  • carry as crossbody bag

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  • use as cushion to keep from dirty surfaces

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  • Refillable rinsing system

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  • Rinse and maintain good hygiene

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What's inside

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Product details

Rinsing pouch system

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Panties & Cooling pads

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Bill of materials & cost analysis


System diagram 

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The careU kit system :

  1. sources local material to lower transportation impact;

  2. cuts down impact caused by long-distance transportation;

  3. leverages local health clinics for distribution;

  4. stimulates local economies by producing employment opportunities;

  5. encourages recycling of materials;

  6. enables feedback from Zambian women to constantly make improvement.






Before & after comparison - Lower environmental impact

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