083 454 1620






All news Interior & Decor News Design News Landscape News Property News Build News
Sunday, 04 August 2013 12:30

Imagination For People - Social Innovation for the Bottom of the Pyramid

Written by 
Rate this item
(37 votes)
New tools for new problems| New tools for new problems| moladi|

About the project

The aim of empowering people at the Bottom of the Pyramid is to identify appropriate technical solutions in order to tackle basic needs in developing countries. But what are basic needs exactly?

In 1943, Abraham Maslow presented his well-known “hierarchy of needs”. According to his theory, people need food, water, sleep and warmth the most. These are considered to be basic needs and it is only when these basic physical requirements are met that individuals can progress to the next level, that of safety and security. Once these needs are fulfilled, interpersonal needs such as love and friendship, as well as the need for self-esteem and respect from others, can gain importance. Self-fulfilment and the realization of one’s own potential represent the top of the hierarchy.

What does Maslow tell us? Food, sanitation and shelter are not only mandatory preconditions for survival – they also lay the foundations for the personal development of an individual. People can only grow and develop if they don’t suffer from basic supply problems: Children in school simply cannot learn on an empty stomach and the social and economic development of communities depends on access to safe water and sanitation services.

Today, the basic needs approach has become an integral part of theories about human motivation, social and economic development, particularly in the context of development in low income countries. It has become one of the major approaches to the measurement of what is believed to be an eradicable level of poverty and it also forms the center of people-focused development strategies. The “basic needs strategy in development planning” by the ILO (1976), for instance, calls for giving priority to meeting minimum human needs, providing certain essential public services, and also stresses the importance of citizen participation in the determination and tackling of needs. Citizen participation, economic growth, globalization and technology are all intertwined in these development approaches.

The definition of basic needs within the framework of empowering people therefore also encompasses food, water, shelter (moladi), sanitation, education and healthcare. The use of technology in concert with social entrepreneurship to improve the quality of life and social structures.

In what ways is this project unique and creative?


The Moladi system consists of a reusable and recyclable plastic formwork mould, which is filled with stone-less concrete and a special chemical additive. This additive ensures that, once the mortar is set, the framework can be removed – and reused up to 50 times. According to the founder Hennie Botes, the brickless walls can withstand all types of weather. The formwork is lightweight allowing easy transportation. Due to the simplicity in design and the repetitive application scheme, construction costs can be reduced significantly. The Moladi model is not only cost-effective but fast, too. The wall structure of a house can be completed within one day. A further plus point, especially in remote areas, is that the construction does not require heavy machinery or electricity. (Construction Process)

 What is the social value of this project?

Decent quality housing is one of the key factors in the fight against poverty and social exclusion. It is not just about putting a roof over someone’s head. Academic research proves that access to a clean and stable home implicates an improvement in security, health and education. Moladi, a South African based company established in 1986, makes housing accessible to low-income people through innovative and eco-friendly technology.

Moladi combines construction with economic development. With the motto “Train the unemployed to build for the homeless” The company offers training locally for the unemployed thereby creating jobs and empowering the community as a whole. Due to the simplicity of the approach, construction techniques and skills can be transferred in a short time. In this way, the communities benefit from affordable shelter and skilled entrepreneurs (in the area of low-cost housing) at the same time. Moladi’s success in over 20 countries shows that affordable housing is an important key in finding solutions to promoting security and alleviating poverty.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop?

It was Dr. Ernst Friedrich Schumacher who coined this term. The economist and philosopher wanted to stress that small-scale technologies are the ones needed in the fight against poverty. These solutions have great advantages: they can be implemented with local resources and skills and they are affordable – which makes them tools that empower people to help themselves.

The impact of appropriate technology becomes particularly noticeable when innovative solutions are used and promoted by social entrepreneurs who put social impact at the heart of their business. The combination of low-cost technology and social entrepreneurship can have far-reaching implications for thousands of lives. Creating jobs, stimulating ownership confidence and the spirit of innovation – this is what social businesses are looking for. Appropriate technical solutions improve life quality and can give the initial push for development.  A reports on how to bring decent housing to poor communities (Moladi) by using simple and, at the same time, genius technologies, proves that small is beautiful!

What was the triggering factor of this project?

How can simple and low-cost technologies tackle the most pressing problems in the developing world?
How to bring decent housing to poor communities?
How to use technology to fight poverty producing product creating jobs food and shelter?
How to reduce unemployment?
How to address the huge demand for affordable housing?
How to build remote classrooms cost effective?
How to skill people at the base of the pyramid?

What is the business model of this project?

Maslow Model - Create enterprise at the base of the pyramid for the base of the pyramid



  • ConcreteTV Video - Link
  • Innovative Construction Technology - moladi
  • A community of imaginative citizens to detect and develop socially innovative projects - Imagination for People
  • Invention Creates - Innovation Solves - Link

moladi-Invention Creates Innovation Solves




'Traditional (building) is not the way to go'

Additional Info

  • Source: moladi
  • Name: moladi
  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Website:
  • Article Image: moladi
Read 64788 times Last modified on Saturday, 14 February 2015 17:48

moladi - Plastic Formwork -low cost housing affordable Housing building construction

Related items

  • Frugal Innovation - moladi

    Frugal Innovation

    Frugal innovation or frugal engineering is the process of reducing the complexity and cost of a product and its production Link

    moladi innovative building technology

    Frugal Innovation

    “Frugal Innovation” proposes a breakthrough approach to solving some of
    the most pressing issues of our global economy as it empowers human
    beings to use their creativity to generate economic and social value
    while preserving the environment.

    "Frugal innovation is a critical business strategy for companies to
    prosper in a world where customers are both value-conscious and
    values-oriented. It challenges companies to create high quality
    products that are affordable and sustainable as well as desirable and
    meaningful for end-users."- Carol L. Cone

    Housing the base of the pyramid

    Housing the "base of the Pyramid" - Link

    For more information on moladi and its approach to Frugal principals - moladi - A "TOOL" to empower people to help themselves Read more

    Keywords - Frugal Innovation, moladi, Jugaad Innovation, frugal, jugaad, innovation, game-changer, circular economy, business, solve, market, people, BOP, basic needs, affordable housing, employment, jobs, food, housing, building system, formwork, construction, reduce cost

  • 3D printing the solution to affordable housing?

    3D printing - The solution to affordable housing?

    3D Printing A housing solution

     3D Printing - Is it viable printing houses? Is it sustainable?

    3D printing can now produce what man built hundreds of years ago... but not for less..

    Housing - the tool used to create employment for people to earn money to purchase food and shelter... "circular economy".

     A machine designed to do what man has done hundreds of years ago...We need to provide not only shelter for the "have not's", but more importantly "income" so people are able to support and sustain themselves (food). Therefore job creation is key to sustainable human settlements. For a moment, think about the logistics of getting this printer to a village in Africa. Cost to purchase? Shipping? Training? Then the setting up of the printer (time/cost)...then the peripheral needs of the printer - skill to operate and maintain - spare parts -power...generator...diesel...then a particular soil..mud..cement..etc. - then print a rondavel. Then dismantle the printer and move to the next site - Re-erect - Align - Calibrate - Level... watch while the wall for the second rondave is printed...Then the do we fix the windows? The doors? The roof? 

    A wattle and daub hut or rondavel is how local rural people build vernacular structures for hundreds of years...Therefore the question - is it viable? Does it benefit society or the "have not's"? What about "circular economy"?

    Seems to be a case of "Reinventing the wheel"...

    Keywords - #3dprinting #lowcosthousing #affordablehousing #moladi #sustainable #circularEconomy #bop 3D Printing, lowcosthousing, affordablehousing, moladi, sustainable, circularEconomy, bop, base of the pyramid

  • "MODEL T" of HOUSING - moladi

    THE "MODEL T" of HOUSING - moladi

    The mass production techniques Henry Ford championed in the automotive industry, lean production and lean assembly, is what our CEO, Hennie Botes is focused on implementing in affordable mass housing in order to eliminate waste, speed up production resulting in cost reduction

    Low cost housing

    Mr Hennie Botes, CEO of moladi. talks about solving the housing problem in developing countries and helping relieving poverty, through the use of a reusable and lightweight plastic formwork mold - Read more 

    Affordable housing

    Link to the article - moladi building system 

  • Modular Building System

    Modular Building System

    Modular Building System

    Modular Building System - moladi

    Established in 1986, moladi has developed modular building system addressing the basic need for durable quality housing which is a viable affordable alternative to traditional building methods.
    Representing the most advanced technology and innovations in industrial construction of affordable low-cost housing, schools clinics and other structures, with years of experience in the industry our knowledge has inspired subsequent ulterior solutions for development.

    Lack of resources, insufficient funds, skills shortage, time constraints, work flow control and waste are key challenges embodied in affordable housing shortages. Our technology addresses these issues and this is why individuals and organisations recognise moladi as the solution to housing needs throughout the world.

    For more information - Visit Modular Building System

  • Hennie Botes - Invest in Namibia

    Hennie Botes - Invest in Namibia

    Hennie Botes CEO and Inventor was invited to present moladi at the recently held "Invest in Namibia" conference hosted by President of Namibai The Honourable Hage Geingob and his cabinet in Windhoek. Hennie presented to both the Minister of Urban and Rural Development Sophia Shaningwa and her Deputy Minister Sylvia Makgone

    Hennie Botes Panel Namibia

    Hennie Botes - Speaker and Panelist - Invest in Namibia

    Property in Namibia has shown tremendous growth owing to the backlog of housing demand. Real estate prices have increased sharply since independence and this has attracted many local and international investors. Government strives to mobilize domestic savings and affordable credit to finance housing and property development. Public Private Partnerships are further sought to support social housing programmes, using alternative building materials and techniques to provide affordable housing.

    Hennie Botes HE Hage Geingob

    Hennie Botes CEO of moladi - HE President Hage Geingob of Namibia - Gauteng Premier Mr David Makhura 


    moladi building process

    For more moladi information - Visit 

    Keywords - moladi, Hennie Botes, affordable Housing, Namibia, Building system, President Hage Geingob, Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Sophia Shaningwa, Deputy Minister Sylvia Makgone, Gauteng Premier David Makhura 

Leave a comment