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AfriCart News

2008 Trials of Handcarts by Millennium Villages Project/UNDP, Plan Malawi, and the Malawi Rural Travel and Transport Programme
Handcart Ceremony
Above, Ellaton Mkwate, Executive Associate, Malawi Handcart Project, at handcart handover ceremony, Mnkhumbwe Model Village, Plan-Malawi 2008.

Handcarts are now being used at Mnkhumbwe Model Village through Plan-Malawi.

For a full update on this project and others, view the 2008 Malawi Handcart Project Upldate

Handcarts ready for distributionHandcarts ready for distribution at Mnkhumbwe Model Village, Plan-Malawi 2008

Malawi Rural Travel and Transport Programme (MRTTP)
The MRTTP held its second ‘Stakeholder Meeting’ on the AfriCart in Lilongwe on July 7, 2006. It was chaired by Jepthah Chagunda (seated at left) the MRTTP’s Programme Coordinator, and was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, Bunda College of Agriculture, the Malawi Transportation Technology Transfer Centre, the United Nation’s Millennium Villages Project, and the Malawi Handcart Project.

Read the minutes from the meeting

Malawi Transportation Technology Transfer Centre, (MTTTC) Malawi Polytechnic

The Malawi Handcart Project team (Chika Mughogho, Ellaton Mkwate) met with Dr. Ignasio Ngoma, Manager of the MTTTC (wearing necktie) and his colleague in the mechanical engineering department, Willie Maruwo in Blantyre on July 12, 2006. We presented them with samples of the recently imported Chinese 26” spoked handcart wheels and axle, as well as with sets of smaller pressed steel 13” and 10” handcart wheels which I brought from the USA although they are also manufactured in China.

Millennium Village Project: Mwandama Village

The Malawi Handcart Project has funded the construction of some 50 handcarts of three types at Mwandama Village. This effort was coordinated by the MHP’s Ellaton Mkwate, who trained four carpenters and a bicycle repairman to build the carts at Mwandama. They built a mix of conventional AfriCart handcarts and ambulances, and five heavy-duty conventional handcarts using the newly imported Chinese wheel-axle sets having a rated capacity of some 1,000 kilograms per wheel! Mr. Mkwate organized a maintenance and repair programme which allows the handcart users to bring their carts to artisans who built the carts for free maintenance and repair. Records are being kept of the nature of the problem, and the cost of the repairs, which are charged to the Malawi Handcart Project. This work is being done in coordination with Dr. Rebbie Harawa, the MVP Science Coordinator, and an assessment is being made of the impact the handcarts are making on development.

Rebbie Harawa, Ph.D., Science Coordinator, Millennium Village Project, Mwandama  [Photo by SUV]
Prototype welded steel AfriCart-style ambulance at Mwandama Village.
Most of these bush ambulances were built of wood at Mwandama, and they are much appreciated by the villagers, as the nearest clinic is distant.
An AfriCart handcart being used to carry bags of maize on the road to Mwandama.
The AfriCarts initially built at Mwandama, and depicted in this series of photos are variant’s of the ‘official’ design, and were built under the aegis of Ellaton Mkwate.  Although they incorporate several novel and sometimes useful features, they have proven to be heavier and weaker than the original design, and are being converted to that design as time and resources permit.
Conventional handcart with heavy-duty Chinese wheels and axle being tested at Mwandama Market.
The woman is pushing ~100 kilograms of maize with no lifting and minimal effort, as the load is balanced over the axle and the pneumatic tyres have anti-friction ball bearings. This simple, rugged and relatively inexpensive transport technology needs to be adopted by Millennium Village Projects around Africa.  Currently their transport intervention is the provision of a single pick-up truck for a village group of ~5,000 people.  The cost of such a truck together with its fuel and maintenance is very great, and it in no way assists the average farm family with its daily transport needs.  An equivalent investment in handcarts would be a better, and more sustainable investment.

Chambwe and Mzungu HIV/AIDS Model Villages / Malawi Ministry of Agriculture

In 2004 the Malawi Handcart Project met with Dr. Grace Malindi of the Ministry of Agriculture, and donated several AfriCarts for assessment as labour-saving technologies at Chambwe Model Village, west of Chitedze.  The Ministry was to supervise the use of these carts and to assess their utility.  Unfortunately this did not happen, and on inspection of the carts in 2006, they were found to be in disrepair, and no assessment had been made. We refurbished the AfriCarts, and donated two wheelbarrows, to enable a comparison of their “goodness and badness” relative to the AfriCart.

We also met with the HIV/AIDS Committee of nearby Mzungu Village, adjacent to Chitedze Agricultural Research Station, and have donated several AfriCarts there for assessment.
The photo was of our initial meeting with the Committee, where we arranged for the donation of several AfriCarts for assessment as a labour-saving technology to assist families impacted by HIV/AIDS.  Interestingly, Plan Malawi had donated an ox-cart to the village, on the proviso that they would find the oxen.  The cart was standing idly by a house, as three months after its donation, no funds had been raised to purchase the requisite oxen.  The money might have been better invested in handcarts!




AfriCart References

*also see the "Links" page for further research*

The following documents are in PDF format and require Adobe Acrobat Reader

Evaluation of Handcart for Use by Smallhlder Irrigation Farming Families in Dowa, Lilongwe and Kasungu Districts of Malawi
Darwin Dodoma Singa, University of Malawi, June 2009

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Improved Water and Sanitation for Women and Girls in Sub-Saharan Africa
Paper by Sarah Malloy-Good and Kristie Smith with comments by A. P. Wendroff

Letters from Handcart Users at Mwandama Millennium Research Village, Malawi
20 letters of support, April 2008

2008 Malawi Handcart Project Upldate
A. P. Wendroff

Handcarts: The Most Appropriate Transportation Technology for Transfer to Malawi
A. P. Wendroff Malawi T2 Newsletter: Technology Transfer for Better Transportation 2006

The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time
Jeffrey D. Sachs The Penguin Press, New York, 2005 (Excerpts and comments by A. P. Wendroff)

Application for Handcarts to UNDP Programes in Malawi, and Elsewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa
A.P. Wendroff (written at request of UNDP)

The AfriCart: A Novel Handcart Design for Sub-Sahara Africa (for the World Bank)
A. P. Wendroff Malawi 2003

Report on the Gender and Rural Transport Initiative (GRTI) project funded by the World Bank
Malawi Rural Travel and Transport Programm (MRTTP) with comments from A. P. Wendroff 2003

Republic of Malawi - HIV/AIDS in the Agricultural Sector: Policy and Strategy, 2003-2008
(Excerpts and Comments by A.P. Wendroff)

Handcarts, Women, and HIV/AIDS in Malawi
A.P. Wendroff, 2006

The AfriCart’s Role in Malawi’s Agricultural Economy
Business Voice, 2004 A. P. Wendroff

Rural Accessibility and Mobility in Ntchisi District, Malawi
Adam Andreski, Charles Kaira,  Jephthah Chagunda  November 2005

The AfriCart: A Practical Intermediate Form of Transport for Malawi's Farm Families
A.P. Wendroff 2004

Rural Accessibility and Mobility in Ntchisi District, Malawi
2005 Andreski, Kaira, Chagunda (Excerpts and comments by A. P. Wendroff)

Report on Visit to Malawi, June 2006
A. P. Wendroff

Request from the National Assembly of People Living with AIDS in Malawi for AfriCarts to be used as ambulance Carts

Malawi Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper
(Simplified Version) 2004 (Comments by A. P. Wendroff)

Transporting the yield: appropriate transport for agricultural production and marketing in Sub-Saharan Africa
1999, Transport Reviews, Niklas Seiber 

VSO Subsidized Community Trial AfriCart Application Form

Report on Maintenance of AfriCarts

Letter from the Prospect Park Alliance, September 2003

Mzuzu City Assembly letter

Article appearing in Anthropology News
January 2003

"The Malawi Cart: An Affordable Bicycle-Wheel Wood-Frame Handcart for Agricultural, Rural and Urban Transport Applications in Africa"
paper presented at the ATNESA workshop on modernizing agriculture, Jinja, Uganda-May 20-24, 2002

Human Powered Garden Carts
Appropriate Farm Transportation

Human and Animal Powered Transport in Rural Communities in Sub-Saharan Africa
by R.A. Dennis-I.T. Transport Ltd.,UK

Human and Draught Animal Power In Crop Production
Experiences, Present Status and Research Priorities - Proceedings of the Harare Workshop, Zimbabwe, 18-22 January 1993

A Bicycle-Wheel Handcart
Applications, Development, Testing, and Dissemination in Sub-Sahara Africa

The Nation
Profile 21, August 25, 2000

Re-inventing the wheel in Western Kenya

Hand cart to ease workload
July 24, 2000

Wells Kumwend'a Report to the Malawian Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation
May 19, 1998

Design Features
Livingstonia cart

Livingstonia Cart vs. Wheelbarrow

Letter from MPOPI Trading Center

Factors allowing for rapid dissemination of the wood-framed bicycle-wheel handcart in SSA