Basic Utility Vehicles for Rural Transportation

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Purdue's Cameroon Trip 2011

As a member of the Purdue BUV team, I was able to go to Cameroon in May.  We had spent the past year designing a new BUV that we then took to Cameroon.  We spent 3 weeks building our design from scratch and seeing how it would impacts lives there.  There were about 12 of us on the team including the Professor.  One of the most noticeable culture differences was the fact that it was the women that worked all day not the men, even though it is a male-dominated culture.  We were in a small rural farming town, and quickly found out that harvesting and working in the fields is considered to be women's work.  Therefore in that specific town, the women would work in the fields all day and carry all of the crops to the market on the market days.  Because this is considered women and children's work but driving is considered men's work, the women walk to the market.  Very rarely did the women take a cab because their families have so little money to begin with.  

Since pretty much all of the work in the area is considered to be women's work, there are a lot of men that do not contribute to the families income at all.  Therefore one of the ways that the BUV can be helpful in a community like this one, is that it would put the men to work.  The men would be able to come alongside the women to help contribute money to their family by driving the BUV and would therefore not be spending all day at the bar.  This is just one of the many ways that a BUV can change the lives of entire villages with very little impact by outside countries or even outside villages.

 

The IAT summer intern

Melissa Cole

 

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The Institute for Affordable Transportation is a not-for-profit public charity devoted to improving the lives of the world's poor by providing simple, low-cost vehicles in order to facilitate community transformation.

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