The brief
Gaialab/REM, Milo Solutions and their local partner the MALEBI Women’s Association implemented a one-year project to pilot charcoal traceability in Ivory Coast. I was contracted as the project coordinator and lead UX researcher. As part of the project, we investigated the charcoal supply chain to understand the real-world challenges and implications of using a blockchain-based app for traceability. 
The aim of the project was to use REM expertise in tackling illegal activities linked to deforestation combined with Gaialab/REM innovations in traceability and identification of forest products, to help MALEBI guarantee the provenance of their charcoal. The team also worked with MALEBI on defining a legality and sustainability framework to eventually help them distinguish their legal charcoal and take advantage of “green” markets. We used a human-centered approach at each step of the project working in close collaboration with MALEBI and other stakeholders, as well as going in the field to design the app. 
For more info about the project, you can download the final report
1. Research
The research was the most important phase to map the value chain and understand the context, the constraints and the user's needs. We also outlined the user rights (to access to the app) and the framework around legal charcoal.

Mapping the value chain and its actors

Malebi Value Chain

Identifying the traceability and data needs at each step of the chain

Rapid sketch of the traceability process

Consider charcoal legality indicators to integrate into the app

This step was a challenge due to the complexity, the unclearness and the lack of enforcement of the legal framework around charcoal. Moreover the market is highly informal. However, the objective of the project was to prove it is possible to trace legal charcoal with blockchain. So with MALEBI, we produced a set of indicators that can prove the charcoal is legal such as :
    - Proof of origin with GPS coordinates
    - Producer ID
    - Tree species
    - Number of trees cut
    - Volume of wood
    - Number of bags
    - Truck ID
    - Truck receipt
    - Stamps from the administration
    - Proof of delivery
    - Payment receipt
​​​​​​​Define the access and the use rights of the system commands
In order to define the use and access rights we needed to define the traceability units. The chain is divided into units, and each unit corresponds to a change of block, state and ownership and therefore user. We identified 3 traceability units and user types : 
- Plot ID (logging)
- Harvest ID (bagging and sealing)
- Bag ID (loading and transporting)
2. Design
Through our collaboration with Milo Solution, the mobile app Charcoal Trace was designed and prototyped. We used QR codes to identify the charcoal bags and count them.
3. Prototype
4. Field testing
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