World Bicycle Relief distributes 15,000 bikes to Zambia caregivers

Nearly 50,000 bikes distributed since 2005

World Bicycle Relief (WBR) has distributed more than 15,000 new, locally assembled bicycles to volunteer health caregivers in a work-to-own partnership as part of its  “Project Zambia” healthcare initiative.

According to WBR, this represents two-thirds of the total 23,000 bicycles planned for the program, and means that in the three years since its inception, the organization has distributed nearly 50,000 new bicycles in support of healthcare, education and economic development opportunities in poverty relief and disaster assistance situations.

“A bicycle multiplies a person’s productivity when you compare it to walking,” said Dave Neiswander, head of Africa operations for World Bicycle Relief. “We’ve already seen the enormous impact of the bicycles in the day-to-day lives of the caregivers, and we’re excited to get the next round of bicycles into the field.”

Founder FK Day (C) overseeing assembly

The “Project Zambia” initiative is focused on providing culturally appropriate bicycles to volunteer, community-based HIV/AIDS caregivers, disease prevention educators and vulnerable households in the African nation. In addition, the program includes training for field mechanics throughout the country, with more than 375 trained so far.

Each bicycle is granted to a caregiver on a two-year, work-to-own basis. The new bicycles, which cost US$109, are funded through contributions from around the world. The organization utilizes its ties to the industry to improve the bicycles while ensuring they are compatible with the existing base of spare parts.

In order to measure the effectiveness of the program, and apply its learnings to new opportunities, World Bicycle Relief, established in early 2005 by SRAM Corporation, has engaged Boston University’s Center for International Health and Development to design and execute a measurement and evaluation study of Project Zambia. The study is currently in its baseline phase, with initial results expected in early 2009.

For more information, visit www.worldbicyclerelief.org.

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