106,000 donated used bikes shipped to Africa since 1999.
18,000 new bike owners taught bike repair skills in Ghana and Sierra Leone.
60,000 bike tools distributed in 14 African countries.
3500 (mostly female) students learned to ride a bike in Ghana and Sierra Leone.
Since 1999 VBP has been delivering used bicycles and maintenance skills to rural villages, allowing new bike riders to get where they need to go quickly and economically. People are riding to increase farm yields, improve school attendance and grades, and increase incomes. We know bicyclists arrive 4 times faster than walkers, saving precious time and energy. People riding a bike can carry four times the weight of someone walking. Farmers, merchants, and people carrying water home are thrilled that life is so much easier. Barriers are reduced and opportunities increased. The village neighbors watch, and a change in cycling culture begins.
Village Bicycle Project is looking for more bikes to keep our programs in Ghana and Sierra Leone thriving. We have already relocated more than 60,000 bikes since 2000.
In September, 2013, The City of Amsterdam donated 400 bicycles to help capacity build our programs in Sierra Leone. We plan to ship the bikes to Freetown in May, 2014:
Fietsproject, May 13-14, 2014, is a joint venture between The Village Bicycle Project, Fietsdepot (Amsterdam) and What the Fiets (Utrecht).
A team of volunteers from the UK and Utrecht will load a shipping container with 400 bikes on-site at Fietsdepot (Amsterdam) for shipping direct to Freetown.
The University of Amsterdam MBA program will evaluate the project effectiveness through an in-company research opportunity for one of its students.
The bikes will be distributed through our program of bike maintenance workshops in Sierra Leone. We teach basic bicycle repair as a prerequisite to receiving a bike at half the market price. No-one is excluded from owning a bike through lack of income and we prioritize girls and women into bike ownership. Proceeds from the sale of bikes pay for shipping costs from Amsterdam.
If we can help make bicycling more affordable and more reliable for the lower income majority population, they will choose bicycles for their basic transportation, and soon their leaders may come to choose to promote bicycles with infrastructure and other incentives.
We are working from the bottom to accomplish what Denmark and the Netherlands have accomplished by government action, the transformation to sensible transport, Bicycles !
Watch these (very) short clips produced by our partner Cadbury Chocolate. We help deliver their bikes in Africa to new owners, and teach them the repair and maintenance skills they need to keep their bike rolling.
August was a busy month for VBP in Ghana. We ran two teams simultaneously across three locations, visited two regions and hosted programs in 9 different villages. We were on the road for 24 days, delivered 300 bicycles and met 8 local bicycle mechanics… phew!
And none of this could have happened without Sammy Tuffour, aka Akapo, who began training with the Ghana team back in June. Akapo previously hosted a VBP workshop in his home village before joining the team a couple of weeks later.
Akapo boasts he can “fix anything”, and we don’t doubt him. During his training in the Upper West Region we temporarily lost him only to find him an hour later servicing a sewing machine by torchlight. The next day he had his hand in the back of an amplifier… he’s also an excellent bicycle mechanic, and an aspiring instructor.
We were in Ghana’s Upper West Region for 3 weeks in June, where we hosted 15 One Day Workshops and delivered 300 bicycles to participants from Piina and another 10 of its surrounding outlying villages. This is the third time we’ve been in Piina, bringing our total bike count in the region close to 600.
Out of the 300 participants in June, more than half were women, and at the close of programs one group surprised the team by dancing – to say thanks, or “barrku”.
Watch out for Madame Esther Konsi from Koro, who is dressed in green and chooses a track-pump for a dance partner…
We’ve also uploaded some photos from the workshops to our flickr page here.