A Fonio husking machine
was invented by Sanoussi Diakité, a Senegalese mechanical engineer
. Diakité was awarded the Rolex Award
for the invention. Fonio
is a staple crop
in western Africa
. Because the fonio grains
are so small, it is difficult to remove the brittle outer shell. "For hundreds of years, African women have carried out the painstaking task of preparing fonio by pounding and threshing a grain and sand mixture with a pestle and mortar. After one hour of this tedious work, only two kilograms of fonio are available for consumption and fifteen liters of water are needed to remove the sand.The Whole process has been reduced from a 1 hour job to a 6 minute job.
Diakité's solution was a 50kg device that gently abrades the surface of the seed before passing through a rotating mechanism, which removes the husks.
This device is an example of appropriate technology, because of its ability to solve a significant problem in developing countries and the ease with which it can be manufactured.