Motivation’s appropriate and affordable wheelchairs

This study, ‘Supporting disabled people in emergencies: Motivation’s appropriate and affordable wheelchairs’ is one in a series of 15 case studies, undertaken by ALNAP in partnership with ELRHA’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF), exploring the dynamics of successful innovation processes in humanitarian action. They examine what good practice in humanitarian innovation looks like, what approaches and tools organisations have used to innovate in the humanitarian system, what the barriers to innovation are for individual organisations, and how they can be overcome.

Motivation front cover

The Appropriate and Affordable Emergency Wheelchairs case study describes how Motivation, in partnership with Handicap International (HI) and Johanniter International (JUH), developed a wheelchair and training package for use in emergency response contexts.

The aim of the innovation process was to develop a wheelchair that would offer clear improvements over the donated orthopaedic wheelchairs currently used in emergencies. Both Motivation’s and HI’s experience in emergency response and with disabled individuals contributed to a strong understanding of the problem. The final product offers an improvement over current humanitarian practice by providing users with a more appropriate, comfortable, light-weight, durable and adjustable wheelchair that meets international standards. Throughout the project, Motivation sought the input of end users and partners, proactively identifying opportunities for learning, capturing learning on a regular basis and feeding this information back into the design process.

The product and the training package have been utilised in both the Typhoon Haiyan response and the immediate aftermath of the Nepal Earthquake in May 2015.2 At the time of completing this case study, the limited focus on diffusion means a wider audience has yet to adopt the innovation.

Research for this case study was desk-based, drawing on a review of project documents and 9 interviews with key project and partner staff in early 2015.

Elrha is a registered charity in England and Wales (1177110).

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