Village BICYCLE Project, ghana
Village Bicycle Project aims to empower communities by strengthening bicycle culture. Our programs couple quality subsidized bicycles with hands-on maintenance training for new owners. We give village bike mechanics detailed training along with specialized bike tools and spare parts. This comprehensive, holistic approach ensures that bikes will be dependable, affordable and sustainable transportation. Women and girls, who are frequently marginalized, are specifically targeted for inclusion in programs which begin to address the gender inequalities that limit their access to bicycles.
In Sierra Leone, VBP’s work focuses on bicycles and programs in rural areas as the poverty rate is very high and the opportunity to access bicycles can have a huge positive impact in these rural communities. They specifically target different beneficiary groups but mainly focus on women and girls as much as possible and have three different styles of project that we run:
- One day Workshops where we do training and bike distribution
- Learn to Ride
- Advance Mechanical training where they teach local mechanics and provide them with specialized bicycle tools which would otherwise be unavailable to them.
Village Bicycle Project was established in 1999 and has been working in Sierra Leone since 2009.
Our development projects focus mainly on the prevention and relief of poverty, especially for women and girls. By working in rural areas, they are also focusing on communities that are most in need, who often are not supported by development programs due to the remote locations.
They work closely with local stakeholders and always collect feedback and information from their beneficiaries and the communities where they work. This allows them to better understand the needs and problems of those they are hoping to help and to make adaptations to the project where and when needed, ensuring a positive, long-lasting impact.
Access to, and maintenance of, good quality bikes has many multifactorial benefits to our target beneficiaries and the communities in which they work. Firstly, they allow reduced travel times for children and young people going to school, increasing attendance and the ability of the children to learn. Many rural areas do not have a school, especially JSS and SS (Junior Secondary School, Senior School), meaning distances are far to travel and potentially dangerous, especially for teenage girls. By providing a bicycle, teaching girls to ride and doing community sessions to reduce the stigma of girls cycling we can combat this access and travel issue with our project work and bicycles.
There are other positives of cycling including health benefits and being part of the wider cycling community. VBP have taught some girls to ride who now participate in bicycle clubs and races, empowering them to work and train hard and decreasing their chances of teenage pregnancy and even young teenage marriage.
VBP train those who are selected to receive a bicycle basic maintenance and repair skills and provides extra training to local bike mechanics and/or shops. This improves how the bike is maintained and increases the longevity where it can be useful and beneficial to the recipient.
The Difference We Can Make…
The need for bicycles can be seen throughout rural communities where roads are bad and public transport is not available, dangerous and expensive. Cycling is an attractive choice for entire communities, as improved mobility enables growth in productivity with better access to jobs, schools and healthcare, not to mention the environmental and health benefits of cycling.
Population: 32.83 million
Area: 238,533 km²
Languages: English, plus over 80 languages spoken
Major Religions: Islam, Christianity
Life expectancy: 64.11 years
Re-Cycle has been working in partnership with VBP in Ghana since 2004
Since we started working with Village Bicycle Project we have sent over 29,054 bikes bicycles to Ghana.