The conference is collaboratively organized by Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design students and brings together the world’s leading minds in social entrepreneurship and design. At this year’s Expo, Zambikes presented their light-weight bamboo bicycle produced in Zambia. The company has grown exponentially since its founding in 2007 and revenues have been re-invested in local, rural communities. The young company has produced the Zambulance (bicycle ambulance trailer) and Zamcart (cargo trailer). The Zambulance aids in transporting the sick from remote locations to hospitals and the Zamcart was designed for the farming community, marketeers and small businesses and can carry up to 250 kilograms.
Another innovative project with a social conscious is led by the creative think-tank Design Global Change. The University of Hartford based project is led by Natacha Poggio and relies on student involvement in communities worldwide. On display at the Expo was a series of flashcards that form part of the Bringing Girls into Focus project. They are meant to trigger conversation among youth about women’s important roles in rural communities. In conjunction with the Navjyoti India Foundation that serves over 12,000 people in northern India, the cards will be distributed throughout their service network.
Easy Island presented their newly released line of plates and bowls produced from Areca nuts in South India. The material is produced through pressure washing and is then heat-pressed into various shapes. The light-weight, microwave safe products are completely biodegradable. After use they can be washed and re-used, fed to animals or composted along with food scraps. They support up to eight pounds of food and hold water for up to six hours. Already produced and sold in India, Easy Island is hoping to use college markets as an entry point into other United States markets.