The Shell Technology for Development Award
Winner: Ranger Production Company
Life for villagers in Marowa, 60 miles from Harare, Zimbabwe, has been transformed by a motorcycle with a light but sturdy Ranger sidecar built by Mike Norman, who runs a motocycle shop in Borehamwood. Marowa families used to make a subsistence livelihood from irrigated gardens in which they grow maize and vegetables. They had little to sell over and above what they ate, and so little income and therefore little chance to buy machinery and escape poverty. One family, also called Marowa, had two gardens, one watered by a Chinese-made pump, the other by hand. Women worked all day every day fetching water for the garden.
The power take-off on the Ranger, however, can drive a pump to pour the same amount of water into irrigation channels in half an hour. The family, free of water carrying, now cultivates three gardens and sells surplus produce in the nearby town of Morondera or in Harare, Zimbabwe's capital. Other families have prospered in a similar fashion. The villages potential income has risen by £3,000 a year, making it look feasible to borrow £3,500 for a village motorcycle with Ranger and trailer.
The present Ranger is a prototype on loan. It is maintained by the Zimbabwean branch of Riders for Health which provides motorcycle training and servicing for health and other fieldworkers.
Apart from pumping water, Marowa's Ranger takes people to hospital, and water to the school. It can also charge batteries to power 12-volt electrical equipment, including a light and tape player. This makes it possible to run children's parties after dark. The village is full of children, many of whom have lost their parents through Aids.
At present there is no new Ranger for Marowa to buy. However Mike Norman and his colleagues are exploring the possibilities for producing Rangers in Zimbabwe, encouraged by a £25,000 order from a firm called Colcom. The firm makes meat products including pork pies and distributes them in Harare and elsewhere by lorry. There are many shops that the lorries cannot reach because the roadways are too narrow. The two directors who run Colcom saw the Ranger at a Riders for Health demonstration. They were round at seven next morning to enquire about it. To keep Colcom's meat products cool, the Ranger can carry a refrigerator. adapted by Mike Norman to run from the heat of the motorcycle exhaust. Colcom has ordered 25 Rangers and has offered the £25,000 up front to get production moving. It plans that the drivers of the Rangers will be self employed and will buy them with credits supplied to local banks by the World Bank.
LyonsMaid is also interested in using Rangers-plus-refrigerators to sell icecream at present taken out by bicycle. And, out of the blue, Riders for Health received an aid-agency inquiry for 83 motorcycles and sidecars for veterinary services in Iraq.
The Ranger has many possibilities, both commercial and for public services: market stalls, grain milling, water purifying, a chair for dental treatment, an ambulance both cheaper than conventional ambulances and likelier to survive on rough roads.
The Ranger Production Company, 38a Lanchester Way, Royal Oak Industrial Estate, Daventry, Northants, NN11 5PH.
Tel: 01327 300813 Fax: 01327 300814