With each Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Program (BEEP) that’s implemented, we have the opportunity to learn how our programs can improve. Conversations with end-users, field mechanics, teachers, students and partners all inform the improvements we make to our bicycle design, program design and aftermarket support systems. Funded by our generous donors, each innovation in bicycle infrastructure deepens the impact, improves sustainability and lowers philanthropic program costs. Our latest, most exciting innovations include:
Improvements in Program Rollout
- We’ve strengthened community-based Bicycle Supervisory Committees (BSCs) to include more students, particularly girls. BSCs are made up of 12 members of the local community who work together to select program beneficiaries, enforce beneficiary contracts, and monitor the success of the programs. Including girl students in BSCs helps communities gain a new perspective on the role of women in decision-making, encourages future leadership in young women, and gets more students invested in their own BEEP. Nineteen-year-old Stella, a student at Our Lady of Peace Secondary School in Kenya, is a new mother, a Buffalo Bicycle recipient, and member of her school’s BSC. Stella’s experience as a student representative on the BSC and her newfound sense of mobility have empowered her to dream bigger for herself and her daughter. Stella is determined to become an Embassy Ambassador, promoting Kenyan business and trade around the world. Read more about Stella.
- Buffalo Bicycle recipients now receive expanded training, which builds stronger riding skills and teaches more about preventative maintenance and repairs. Now end-users are more confident riders, with the mechanical knowledge they need to keep their bicycles rolling.
- We extended BEEP’s “study-to-own” student contracts through graduation to encourage retention and academic achievement. The extension helps students maintain the benefits of bicycle ownership for a longer period of time. Results from a previous BEEP engagement in Zambia show that bicycles have a positive impact on students, including improved attendance, stronger performance and better retention.
We recently updated our Buffalo Bicycle design to include a reinforced bicycle fork for durability and front-wheel hand brakes on BEEP bicycles for improved student safety.
Long-Term Support for Riders
- We have expanded our training programs for WBR field mechanics and increased the number of mechanics we train in each community. This innovation has improved bicycle reliability for our end-users while creating new job opportunities for mechanics in the communities where we work. Our WBR field mechanic training program is even challenging cultural notions of who can do mechanic work.
Alice Takoberwa, a 43-year-old widow and mother of two, recently completed her field mechanic training in order to support riders from the Kadama Widows Association. “I can cycle,” Alice said. “Why not make me a bicycle mechanic too?” Read more about Alice’s incredible story of empowerment, or learn more about our field mechanic training program.
- A new “Hub & Spoke” model of Buffalo-branded shops and dealer networks facilitates access to quality spare parts. Our “hubs” of Buffalo-branded retail shops are located in areas with high Buffalo Bicycle ridership. The shops are a direct-to-consumer channel for retail sales of spare parts and bicycles. Overlaid with a network of existing and new dealer distribution channels (the “spokes”), we can reach further into the market. This new model helps increases awareness of our Buffalo Bicycle brand, supports our end-users and riders alike, and allows us to collect direct consumer feedback on product quality and demand.
We rely on our donors to help fund our sustainable programs and innovations. You can help us make a deeper impact in the communities where we work. Donate today to empower more students and strengthen a community’s bicycle infrastructure!