The Bambulance Project
The rickshaw ambulance

The lack of infrastructure in many low-income and remote communities makes it near impossible to get to a hospital quickly in an emergency. Needless to say, this leads to countless prolonged injuries and many avoidable deaths. 

The Bambulance is a low-cost bamboo ‘ambulance’ designed to get people in remote areas to medical facilities easier and faster. The stretcher can be easily attached to bikes and various other modes of transport.

“We’ll adapt it to the most appropriate form of transportation in the given location and set of needs,” explains Niki Dun, part of the four-man design team including Philippa Mennell, Chris Ryan, and Philippe Schlesser. “At the end of the day, the bike seems fastest in the areas we’ve worked in, Kenya in particular. But it can be pulled by a person, bike, or even a donkey.”

Dun’s non-profit Design for Development Society is keenly focused on the sustainability and community-impact aspects of design, as well as just the “invention”related aspects of the work.

“With the Bambulance Project we’re working with two community-based organizations who will manufacture the Bambulances with the question: ‘Is this the route that will bring maximum positive impact?’ she explained.

The two groups, both in Nairobi, are WEEP, a program that assists AIDS widows and women who have tested positive for HIV in learning a trade and becoming self-sufficient; and the Community Transformers - a group of young people in the Mathare slums who provide home-based care and support in their community.

“We are really trying to create a project model that is truly community-focused and collaborative,” Dun says. “We believe this approach is critical in order for the project to be truly sustainable.” 

Designed by
Philippa Mennell, Chris Ryan, Niki Dun, Canada, Philippe Schlesser - Luxembourg