Load-Carrying Assistive Aid Designed For Rural Women

Dunda village, located in the state of Uttarakhand, is nestled steep in hilly Himalayan terrain, making many areas in the village inaccessible for vehicles. Therefore, all goods must be physically carried to reach desired locations. The women of Dunda tread long distances daily, carrying heavy loads, weighing up to 50 kilograms, in bulky baskets with hand-made thin cloth straps to tie around their shoulders. This practice causes major long-term health issues including lower back pain and spinal problems. Researchers designed a simple, low-cost, sustainable load-carrying aid made of locally-sourced materials. The prototype was designed and manufactured in the lab and subsequently successfully tested in the village. Women reported an increase in carrying comfort and a decrease in back pain. This project has been up-scaled with 30 new devices distributed and more to follow.