Awards Update - Ranger Lifecycle Project
Since winning the Shell Technology for Development Award in 1999, Ranger Lifecycle has continued to grow in success. As a result of the awareness brought about from the award, Ranger Lifecycle has recently launched a project in the O.R. Tambo District of the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Through a partnership with the local government, 17 Ranger Units have been purchased to serve the project area of 35,000 square kilometres. The launch itself took place at Nelson Mandela’s farm in the Eastern Cape, with over 200 people showing their support, including local and provincial officials, local kings and elders.
In rural areas, access to healthcare is often very difficult, which can result in members of the population becoming marginalized. However, the Ranger Lifecycles provide a real solution to this problem, as the vehicles can transport people to healthcare facilities, or provide necessary first aid on the spot. They are also tough enough to stand up to the South African terrain. As demonstrated with the original project in Zimbabwe, the many different uses of the Ranger Lifecycle will be very beneficial to the district. As well as transporting people to hospital, the Rangers also have roles as mobile water purification units, mobile workshops, and audio-visual education units.
An important part to the continued success of the Ranger project is that it can be sustained in the long-term in South Africa. As a result, local motorcycle engineers carry out servicing and repair of the vehicles in Umtala. As part of the setting up of the project, the workshop was fully equipped with the parts needed for the bikes. Engineers were trained so that the running of the Rangers could be sustained. The riders themselves, both male and female, were also trained how to service the bikes and carry out emergency repairs, in addition to being medically trained. As the project area is quite extensive, it is important that the riders are able to keep in touch with each other, and receive support, therefore the project has taken advantage of the strong cell phone signals in the area and provided each vehicle with a phone.
In the future, it is hoped that the success of the Ranger Lifecycle project continues. Plans include setting up a manufacturing base of the bikes in South Africa, to serve this project, and enable wider use of the Ranger Lifecycles across the continent.