With an education, a child is far more likely to become an adult with higher skilled, better paid, and more secure employment. Educated children have a greater chance of reaching their potential, breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty, and helping their community prosper.
Our Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Program (BEEP), which first launched in Zambia in 2009, provides bicycles at selected schools to students, teachers, and school volunteers to improve access to education and reduce travel time to improve educational outcomes.
We prioritize 70% of bicycles for girl students, and partner with communities to ensure the long-term sustainability of our bicycle programs
World Bicycle Relief works directly with local communities to empower students with bicycles. Through BEEP, it’s the community that takes charge.
After a school is selected to receive bicycles, World Bicycle Relief works with the community to create a Bicycle Supervisory Committee (BSC). Made up of 10-12 community members – including students – the BSC works together to select bicycle recipients, oversee student contracts and monitor the sustainability elements of the program, such as regular maintenance and availability of spare parts.
Some of the criteria used to determine need:
Selected students sign a study-to-own contract, agreeing to attend class regularly. The bicycle becomes the student’s personal property after completing school.
In the short term, bicycles relieve children’s exhaustion from commuting to school and help them attend regularly. In the long term, bicycles help children complete their education, preparing them for better jobs, reducing the likelihood of extreme poverty.
When the bikes are not being used by students, they are available to the household as a tool for development, which leads to increased economic opportunity for the community.
Through BEEP, students like Aleni, a 16-year-old from Ntchisi, Malawi, receive bicycles to help improve attendance, performance, and retention in school.
With a bicycle, students’ absenteeism decreases 28%.
“Education is good because once I complete my studies, l will get a better job and support myself and my parents,” Aleni says.