Cultural Design

Banda Bag Design Project
Social justice design project for decreased birth mortality rates in Banda, Rwanda

CaptureDesign Brief
Engineers without borders sponsored project. School of Nursing students engaged me with the designing & prototyping a bag that could help reduce the birth mortality rate in the country of Rwanda. The bag would hold birthing supplies for indigenous women. It needed to hold a certain number of objects and be easily fabricated by tribal women.

Project goal – supply the women of Banda with a birthing kit: an easily carried personal pack of supplies that will assist with the birth process and maintain a more sterile environment. The kit includes: a razor blade to cut the umbilical cord, plastic umbilical cord clamps, a sheet to lay on, gloves, a peri bottle to be used to clean the perineum, and perineal pads to catch postpartum bleeding.  The kit will be housed in a cloth bag that can easily be produced & carried by the expectant mothers.

Design Process
I decided to design a bag that could carry the supplies and be made without the use of a sewing machine.  Ideally the bag would be made without handsewing. It needed to hold supplies (samples were provided by the nursing team) and be simple to create without tools.

I was given indigenous material:

The initial prototype was made using similar weight cotton muslin.

Design Solution
The final prototype was created solely through folding and knotting the fabric. I wanted to create something simple & practical for the expectant mothers:


I supplied the Nursing students with a tutorial for making the bag: How To Guide

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