CHICAGO, IL (BRAIN)—World Bicycle Relief has passed a major milestone in its “Project Zambia” healthcare initiative: More than 15,000 new, locally assembled bicycles have been distributed to volunteer health caregivers in a work-to-own partnership.
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,” according to 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.”
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 $109 (USD), 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 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.
World Bicycle Relief was founded by SRAM Corporation in 2005 and is supported by many leaders in the bicycle industry. The organization specializes in large-scale, comprehensive bicycle programs by providing supply chain management, technical knowledge and logistics expertise to poverty relief and disaster assistance initiatives. More information is available at www.worldbicyclerelief.org.