(Images: Design for Development)
The Index Award claims to be the largest design prize out there. Funded by the Danish government, Index shells out 500,000 Euros each year to the winning designers who have creatively demonstrated "Design to Improve Life." One of this year's finalists is the Bambulance, a human (or animal) propelled gurney meant to transfer the sick or injured across rural terrain.
The Bambulance (which we first saw back in 2007) is made mostly from bamboo polls, meaning it can be made by hand with locally grown stock, and can be pulled by a person on foot, on bicycle, or even by a donkey. The design is currently being produced in Nairobi by two organizations, one that employs widows affected by AIDS, the other that employs at-risk slum youth. An offshoot has already begun in Namibia and word seems to be getting around. Vancouver designer Niki Dun of the Design for Development Society says that the Bambulance is "locally manufactured and distributed," and that it "also seeks to develop skills and provide economic opportunities within the communities it serves." The Bambulance's other three designers, Philippa Mennell and Chris Ryan of Canada, and Philippe Schlesser of Luxembourg, can be seen tinkering with and demonstrating the design in the video below. Keep your eyes peeled at the end of this month when the winners are announced.