Individuals, groups and organizations can use their right for freedom of speech. Even with limited means and a tight budget you should still be able to transmit your message to the public in an eye-catching and attractive way. That's where the DemoUnits come in!

DemoUnit

A DemoUnit is clever tool to make your message visible high up above the heads of a crowd, for all to see and to read. Our modular exhibit system can be used free-standing, for the use on for example stands and fairs, but it is also light and sturdy enough to carry along, in for example a demonstration.

But there is more! You can assemble DemoUnits yourself, give them the shape that is appropriate for your situation. When disassembled it takes little space and becomes easy to carry and take along on a bicycle or public transport. And you can make all this yourself, with only very little costs.

To learn more about the DemoUnits you can visit our Background section, see images and video's in our Media gallery, or check out our Blog.

If you have something to contribute, small or big, we encourage you to join us.

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Sunday, August 16

  • 7:36pm
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    Hello, Reddit people, welcome and I look forward to what comes from interaction!
     
    Hello, Reddit people, welcome and I look forward to what comes from interaction!
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    Look at this two minutes video (link is external) [1] then you know what we are after. Who is 'we"? Demotech is a design unit, some networking friends and one man (link is external) [2] full time, me! The message system as you can see in the video needs promotion, Too few people use it, while there is an enormous scope for it and need too. So the big help you can give is to contact activists that could need this messaging system. The other big help is to give me clues where to ask around for people who need it and can be reached by me.
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    Look at this two minutes video [1] then you know what we are after. Who is 'we"? Demotech is a design unit, some networking friends and one man [2] full time, me! The message system as you can see in the video needs promotion, Too few people use it, while there is an enormous scope for it and need too. So the big help you can give is to contact activists that could need this messaging system. The other big help is to give me clues where to ask around for people who need it and can be reached by me.
     
    I am completely new to this Reddit platform. Please forward the link of this blog to people to whom it may concern!
     
    I am completely new to this Reddit platform. Please forward the link of this blog to people to whom it may concern!
     
    Thank you!
     
    Thank you!
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  • Your profile picture
    7:35pm

    Hello, Reddit people, welcome and I look forward to what comes from interaction!

    Look at this two minutes video then you know what we are after. Who is 'we"? Demotech is a design unit, some networking friends and one man full time, me! The message system as you can see in the video needs promotion, Too few people use it, while there is an enormous scope for it and need too. So the big help you can give is to contact activists that could need this messaging system. The other big help is to give me clues where to ask around for people who need it and can be reached by me.

    I am completely new to this Reddit platform. Please forward the link of this blog to people to whom it may concern!

    Thank you!

    Reinder / Demotech

  • 7:34pm
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  • Your profile picture
    7:34pm

    We've almost finished our little kitchen!! 
    The last few weeks we spent our weekly meetings helping to build the last demo-units and fixing them up with bubble wrap (for the isolation of the room)! Last meeting we started with the final steps! After putting the bubble wrap on the units, to have even more isolation, we  wrapped each unit with cling film. After all the units were done, we started putting them together. Since our kitchen also has demounits as a roof, and it is hard to put them up last once the walls are standing, we first attached one roof-unit to the left and right wall-units so it became an arch on the floor. 

    With a metal string we tied all of them together and then lifted up the arch. 

    This we did several times. Afterwards we tied all the walls together and now the kitchen is almost standing! 

    For the next sessions we still have to do some final arrangements such as adjusting the doors and finalize the roof, but one can see that our project is taking shape now! We are all very happy and excited :-)    Your Love Foundation team

     PS: Special thanks go to Hanky and Reinder, since they did most of the work for our kitchen, provided us with all the material and instructions!

    Without them it would not have been possible to manage this project! We are very greatful for your support! Thank you for making the kitchen a success!!

  • 7:31pm
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    7:31pm

    We have now made a lot of progress with our kitchen, thanks to Reinder and his amazing friend. Many of the Demo-unit towers are ready now and this thursday we could start on the insulation of the Love-Inn. To keep warmth inside of the "room" the demo-units will be wrapped in bubble-wrap. Reinder provided us with templates, that he cut out for us, so we can cut the bubble-wrap according to the exact measurements of every tower. We are now a group of around 5 people meeting thursday afternoon and building together!

    Slowly our kitchen is taking shape! :-)
     

    Marieke and Viktoria

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  • Your profile picture
    6:58pm

    Where some people think high-tech seems to be the solution for sustainability problems, Demotech believes that low-tech is more efficient on the long run. People are able to rely on themselves and can be creative with the things that are available everywhere.

    Demotech provides us the opportunity to learn building skills by relying more on ourselves, since it is learning by doing. Building the units in a group increases the level of awesomeness. Working in a group makes it a lot more fun. It is a creative way to engage deeper in a more sustainable way of living and it is fantastic to achieve something together. Since sustainability is also one of the love foundation's most important aspects, working together with Demotech is built on mutual understanding and enhancement.

    A month ago, the Love-foundation started with a new project in collaboration with Demotech: the building of the Love-Inn. The Love-Inn is a kitchen in progress which we are building as a group on the second floor of the Landbouwbelang.

    We are meeting almost every thursday with Reinder, the founder of Demotech, and our project is slowly taking shape. We measured out dimensions (height end lenght) of the kitchen which will be placed in one of the big floors of the factory. Now we have started to build the walls. The walls consist of an invention of Demotech, the Demo-units, simple pillars made out of thin bamboo sticks and sustainable and/or recycled material. Since can be cold in the factory of the LBB, we will also have to wrap isolation around those pillars later, so that it is nice and warm inside of the space.

    Currently we are building the pillars. Reinder provides us with guidance and the tools, to cut and shape the material we need for the Demo-units. With a saw we cut the bamboo sticks to the appropriate size (for one unit we need 5 longer and 4 shorter sticks), drilled the inside so that the sticks are hollow on the inside. Then we wrapped duct tape around the ends of the stick to prevent the bamboo from cracking. 

    Since it is a natural material it can have cracks; by taping them at the end, it makes them more stable and prevents them from cracking. The st

    icks provide the structural rib of the unit. They are arranged to a 3 dimensional, roof-shaped triangle.
    For keeping the bamboo sticks together, we also made hooks and wires. Those are then attached to the hooks and which create tension and stability, so that the Demo-unit can stand upright.

    The hooks are made out of thick wire. We cut it into small pieces (maybe 20-30 cm) and with Reinder's special tool we bent them and twisted them around so that a hoop is created in the middle and the two ends of the wire constitute a 90 degree angle. The two ends are stuck into the hollow bamboo sticks, so that only the loop is visible between two bamboo sticks.

    The wires we made out of old wires. Since they...

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  • Your profile picture
    6:55pm

    Friday today, two days to go for the big NYC clmate march on so many places in the world. The central event is in New York, the place where the the UN-climate conference will be held. The big day is 9/21. World leaders will attend.

    Thanks to lucky contacts and working hard we managed to bring a lot of bamboo sticks, cross wires and plastic sheet to the place where we got the opportunity to make the many banners we need to make, for the three marching towers and for the the info stand.

    On our way to Berlin we made a stop over in Munster. Britta organized some friends to help her with making banners first, then the workshop we gave to assemble demonits and finally, all today, to get a real good result from actually carrying and dancing with the DemoUnits on the local Clima demonstration in Munster. Britta, will write about this in a blog here herself.

    Now we arrived in Berlin. Found a welcome place in the Green Peace guest house, Here, tomorrow Saturday we will make the banners we promised AVAAZ for the climate march here in Berlin. The march will be a special event. Our three towers will walk and dance in it. At the Alexander Platz there will be an Climate Info area. For this place we do the main preparations tomorrow, a lot of painted sheets and strips. More tomorrow plus some pictures!

  • Your profile picture
    6:54pm

    Hello people!

    It's Lukasz here! After 3 week long break from service in Demotech I am back again! Last week we spent time on doing more flower bags for our nice green wall hanged on the window. But today I would like to share my statement about social entrepreneurship in Demotech. What is exactly social entrepreneurship? It's pursuing an innovative idea with big potential to solve a community problem. People who are passionate about taking risk and effort to make some positive changes in our society. To create new solution, or service, or a new approach for the problem. It's powered only by determination do achieve to make that happen. 

    Demotech is a very good example for an organization with social entrepreneurship. We have got ideas which are designed to help people, touched by poverty, or catastrophe, or even political problems (eg. recent demonstration in Ukraine) for no self-profit. But for better live of those people whose got worse conditions than we do. 

    I'm looking forward for more students from my school - UWC in Maastricht. It would be fantastic to make with them our own social entrepreneurship in Demotech! Especially when our school greatly supports this kind of social activity! We are going to make Demounits. "What are this Demounits?" you would ask. Demounits are an unusual way to express ourselves, to let people read our message that we want to send, even in a big crowd during parade or demonstration. 

    I think that would be really cool to make some of them for school ad beyond! I've heard from Reinder that Amnesty International is also working with Demotech, so why don't we cooperate in the name of the same achievement! We've got some bigger and smaller events and Demounits would suit us perfectly! They can be shaped in any possible shape. They can be short, or very long. And we can place there our mottos, posters, text, and many more! It would be our great little-big engagement in social entrepreneurship with assistance of Demotech!

    Of course I need people to do this. It's impossible to make such a big project as this alone (as I was concerned before). I'm going to inform the school with a real plan, so it's more convincing to take part in this project.

    Well, this whole idea of making Demounits makes me more excited and more passionate to make this REAL! It will be surely a great fun, but also mutual responsibility of ensuring that the project is moving forward. And my first step to achieve that is to "hire" some friends from school! I know that we've got some students doing their services in Amnesty International so if it's possible, we will create one big service project to engage all the members of services. To serve the World (and even beyond! :D).

    I think that's...

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  • 6:53pm
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    DemoUnits in Tihange, Belgium
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    DemoUnits in Tihange
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    First there was a demonstration in Maastricht mobilizing awareness for the leaking nuclear reactor just over the border with Belgium in Tihange. Spillage of radioactive waste in ground water would certainly affect the area of Maastricht.
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    We posted a nice video from our experiance in Belguim, check it out!
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    The girls from Cultural Center Mandril borrowed two towers from Demotech and organized support to carry these around Maastricht. People from Tihange became enthusiastic and wanted also to use the DemoUnit towers in a demonstration in Tihange itself.
      
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    This video is made by Bert Janssen at that occasion, also see the pictures he made of this and other use of DemoUnits.
      
     
     
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  • Your profile picture
    6:52pm
    We posted a nice video from our experiance in Belguim, check it out!
  • Your profile picture
    6:49pm

    Demotech really tried hard! 350.org is a real big and powerful organization fighting back against climate change. They do that world wide. I offered to join them in Istanbul for training their members how to make and use DemoUnits. Maddening that I could not even contact them! They did not reply.

    Here is their own call for action, I wish them so much success, they are good, they could do better!

    Join us this Sunday for a planning meeting for the United Climate Justice Action campaign in Connecticut!

    We are entering a new stage in the struggle against climate change.  Heat waves, hurricanes, floods, autumnal nor’easters, and other forms of extreme weather are everywhere hammering the reality home that countless groups and individuals have patiently driven into the public mind for decades: Fossil fuel use is rapidly altering earth’s climate, and the consequences will be nothing less than disastrous.  
     
    Meanwhile fossil fuel extraction grows ever more violent, and the destruction - whether from fracking, mountaintop removal, pipelines, or otherwise - is affecting more people in the U.S. than ever before.

    Growing consciousness and anger is preparing people from all backgrounds to take action for the first time in their lives.  The 35,000 who marched against the Keystone XL pipeline on February 17 gave us a glimpse of the mass movement waiting in the wings.

    Now more than ever before united action by all organizations and individuals fighting for climate justice has the potential to draw wide new forces into the streets.  Such broad mobilization can not only demonstrate opposition to fossil fuel extraction, but also manifest mass support for the solution: a full transition to renewable energy.  

    Among many others, Stanford Professor Mark Jacobson has shown that a global, national, and/or local transition to 100% renewable energy (based on wind, water, and the sun) not only can be done quickly (Jacobson projects completion by 2030), but could create more jobs, and reduce costs to consumers. It would dramatically reduce pollution that kills millions worldwide every year. The technical ability exists. The expression of political will is needed.  That will is not going to be summoned by one single group or another.  It is going to require the united efforts of the largest possible number of organizations.

    We believe that such united action in Connecticut at this time is possible.  We invite all those interested to a meeting on July 28th at the Gary Brooks Center in Bridgeport that will begin organizing a summit in the fall or spring where all interested groups and individuals will be able to meet, discuss, and finalize a...

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  • Your profile picture
    6:46pm

    Demonstrations in Turkey started about trees in a park to be chopped down for a shopping mall. A demonstration to counter that, developed into a movement that spread all over Turkey. Did the protesters make it clear what it was that raised their anger? They did so on Facebook, yes, but did the 'other half' of the Turkish population learn about those opinions in Facebook? Probably not.
    It is true that television did not cover the protest very well, certainly not in its early stage. Yet the demonstrators could have done more to clarify their ideas to a wider public. Imagine that DemoUnits where used in the Turkish demonstrations, similar as in Tihange anti-nuclear energy protest. More non-engaged people would have been informed.

    Imagine the the protest camp in the square would have used the sheets on tents to write up in big scripting their grieves and demands. A lot of videos were made with cell phones, that later were published. That message that needed to be brought out with more force was: we want to be heard, our opinion should be considered!

    In Brazil the same public mood  develops right nowhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-22980894 In the BBC-video one protestor is cited as: We want to be respected. Should these protestors not have made their opinion clear to a million fold larger public watching TV in Brazil? If the DemoUnit towers were uses as done in London in this video, that could easily have been the result.

    Big question is: as the protestors did NOT know about DemoUnits, then what action should Demotech take to inform the protestors about DemoUnits? Any suggestions? Kindly write them up in the comments under this blog.

  • 6:45pm

    Doing the workshops on Friday generated many ideas and many ideas that already existed got a better fit.

    In fact, next year we want to organize a lot of workshops, some in our workplace, and some in other places. These workshops will be done for different purposes.

    First, there is the important purpose of earning money. In fact, if Demotech wants to develop, it needs some money to organize projects, to hire qualified and to train new participants. Lack of man power really impede the development of Demotech. When I now see how things have been improved since we are two to work instead of Reinder alone, I think that with few more people, the association will really have a new turn.

    Then we want to teach people how to make some of the Demotech inventions, like storage rack, made from tiny pieces of bamboos, also the beautiful storage stools, tables and even beds.

    These ideas inspired how to create more space to accommodate these new initiatives. There is a ‘ forgotten corner’ where a lot of metal material is stored around a big machine part, belonging to the factory that this space was 20 years ago. We found that, with hard work we could remove this frame to make space for a second Bubble Box. The Bubble Box is a guest room made with DemoUnits big size.

    The idea is to settle in this new room furniture that Demotech has designed and that can be built by anybody. It will be a kind of prototype of how to construct these furniture and to show what is possible to do just with some recuperation material and some Demotech tricks.

    So this new Bubble Box would become a comfortable second guestroom equipped with the different things that could be realized during our workshops, and so function as a showroom.

    Then, workshops can be a way to earn money, because we will ask people to pay for participate at least for the material, because people will keep the stuff they build, but also for the service and the learning. And if people really can’t pay, they can build more products and these products will be sell.
    In fact, there is also a project of creating a webshop. This website will be used to sell designed product that Demotech create, specially bags for girl designed in a particular way. People who will buy products will thus contribute to help Demotech and help to improve lives.

    But workshops are not only a way to earn money. In fact, Demotech wants to improve lives and give “more joy per person” and that’s why we work in design for helping people in third-word countries. But I also think that because of the consumption society, people are also frustrated and don’t have enough joy in western countries, as in Maastricht. Thus, the purpose of these workshops is also learn people...

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  • 6:44pm

    This week, we have organized a Demotech workshop with the Student Workforce. It is a student organization with students for the university of Maastricht, and it organizes activities for sustainability and development. This association was some years ago very involved with Demotech, helping Reinder and developing concepts with him, but now it is different. This workshop was an occasion to show its members what can be achieve and to discuss about the link that could be between Demotech and the Student Workforce.

    The workshop started with an introduction of Demotech, its principles and its targets. We did so by presentating of the Hy2u, a hand-washing device for countries with water scarcity. During this introduction, to show to people that every inventions designed by Demotech can be realized with local tools, the participants have been given a feel how it is to use a machete to cut wood.

    The presentation was very professional and the small workshop of cutting wood very nice for the 15 or so participants. Then a video has been shown of the implementation of the Hy2u in Ethiopia. In that video exactly the same method is used as just had been practised. I think that it really showed people that Demotech is really concrete and efficient.

    In fact, I think we have to improve the image that people have from Demotech, and show that it is a professional and serious association, that really work hard to help people. Indeed, I have heard some people talking about Demotech as “it is an old men working with bamboos...”. It is more then that: it is people involving in solving poverty, doing research to improve lives. I hope that all I did and all that will be done will give a better image of Demotech.

    We are working on reorganizing the workplace for a long time now, and it will still take a long time because a lot of things has to be done, and we are only two people. But the workplace is really getting better, more pleasant to go through and visit, prettier, and above all more professional.

    Well, for the workshop of Friday we organized three different workshops : Philip did the welding plastic, it is about how to joint plastic with a hot iron, to make a watertight bag... Reinder learned to participants how to make a three diameters wood-drill bit from a bicycle spoke. And of course I did the DemoUnits workshop!

    So after the presentation, we split the participants in three groups and each of us gave them the D-tour, a tour around the Demotech place to present the workshop and the different inventions. It was the first time that I had to present a tour, I was not very at ease, because of my english speaking that misses the correct technical words and also because I don’t really master the...

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  • 6:43pm

    I just had three days of work this week. I was supposed to be the entire week in holidays, but I just went back in France for two days. In fact, I really wanted to help for the “Stop de culturele uitsluiting!”(Stop the cultural exclusion). This demonstration has bring together people from the municipality and students and activist people to discuss about the curb they put to cultural events.

    Then, people organizing this event asked me to provide them with some DemoUnits, and I did it. It was not a hard task, because almost all the material was already prepared. We built three towers of the one half size (one with two triangles, one with three, and one with four), and people painted some banners.

    I just had the problem of strong wind and how to fix the DemoUnits to make sure that it won’t collapse. I was about to hold it in the ground with some hooks fixing bamboo sticks on the floor ; and also to attach rope to the DemoUnits and to the ground. But we discuss that with Reinder and he explained me that shoring up with rope is tthe wrong way to stabilize DemoUnits. This because people should be able to stand close to the tower to read the announcements and would trip over ropes close to the ground. It is a display for information and a lot of people walk around it and don’t watch carefully. Then, according to the tricks we tried with the big arch, we put metal pins in the ground and tied with rubber strips the lower sticks to these pins. It really worked well and I think it is one of the best way to make the DemoUnits stand up in strong wind.

    Well, I have two weeks more now, but I really want to do more. I have the feeling that I am just starting doing good work, and that Demotech develops well, thanks to the involvement of new people, as Virginie who make such wonderful posters to promote Demotech.

    I don’t want to stop now. I want to organize a real project, not necessarily with DemoUnits. I can make workshops to learn people some useful Demotech tricks, or try to expand one the concept in Africa, as the Hy2u (http://www.hy2u.org), the irrigation tripod (http://www.demotech.org/d-design/designA.php?d=23)...

    But I have a lot of other things to think about if I want to do this, and there is also a lot of work that has to be done first!

  • 6:39pm

    This week was another very busy week. After all the work we had to do for the Kunst Tour, work this week was on behalf of Reinder’s Birthday. In fact, this Saturday 2nd of June was the 80th of Reinder, and also the 40th of Demotech. On this occasion, a lot of people that has been involved in Demotech, or just had some contact with it were invited to come here. A mini-conference was planned to talk about the work of Demotech and what the invitees did themselves. Later invitees could do small workshops and give advise about the future of Demotech.

    Well, for this event, the workplace had to be well-organized, the designs ready to be introduced. The Hy2u space had to be settle correctly. So I had to work on Hy2u, and it was really interesting to work on this new task. First, because techniques to build it are different from DemoUnits, and also because I was now really specialized on DemoUnits and did not know much about the others Demotech concepts, specially the Hy2u is such amazing design!

    It is an hand-washing device just made from wood and plastic. I worked on sealing plastic to build the tube to flush the waste water. Reinder showed me how to do this. Then together we improved how the water would run off the sheet that collects the water that drips from your hands during washing. First water did not run off well, so we had to find out how to solve that. Finally we decided to attach a weight on the tube to make the water flow to the drain pipe.

    It was interesting to work on technical improvements, it made me understand better how Reinder actually works : experimenting with new ideas to improve his designs when something goes wrong. But I think the problem is that we have to put a limit to improvement, as things can always be improved. A designer may always want to make it better before introduce it to the market. When will this process of improvement stop and can the product be regarded as ready for marketing? I think it’s time that each invention is regarded ready and that we can prepare for actual marketing, all the work to be done to introduce, to instruct or to sell.

    We also work with Reinder to organize the workplace, to clean and store stuffs, but also to think about how to make it practical for tour and for work. We were very efficient, because we didn’t have a lot of time, and I think also because Reinder was stressed about his birthday, and it was a  very very good work. I really felt that we worked as a team. We made kind of plan for the day and after we worked efficiently according to this plan. It was so much better to work like this. In fact, when you don’t have a plan, or when you don’t really know what will bring the task you are doing, this task can seem useless. For example,...

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