Postobón is one of Colombia’s largest beverage companies. In 2015, the company saw the need for better transportation in rural areas of the country. As part of its social corporate responsibility initiative, Postobón teamed up with World Bicycle Relief to mobilize students with the Power of Bicycles.
Postobón’s project was WBR’s first foray into Latin America. WBR instituted similar programs in Africa through the Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Programs (BEEP). Postobón branded the bicycles and program as “Mi Bici,” or “my bicycle” in Spanish. They utilized the Buffalo Bicycle, built for rough terrain and compatible with locally available parts for easy repairs.
As of July, Postobón has distributed 5,297 bicycles to schools in rural Colombia through its Mi Bici program.
Mi Bici field report
Postobón recently conducted an evaluation of Mi Bici to monitor the use and care of the bicycles, academic performance and effect on the community. The review highlighted the achievements of the program, as well as the challenges.
Overall, caregivers and teachers reported improvement in academic performance of students in the Mi Bici program.
A Student’s Commute Is Shortened
Before receiving her bicycle, 15-year-old Paula Andrea Becerra Garcés walked through pastures and crossed a river to shorten her long walk to school. Paula often slipped and dirtied her uniform. In the winter, she ran the risk of being dragged by the river. But opting for the road greatly increased the length of her walk.
Today, Paula’s trip to school is considerably shorter, and she arrives clear and with enough energy to learn.
In some cases, both the student and his or her family have been mobilized by the bicycle.
When 13-year-old Julian Andrés Jimenez Ruiz isn’t using his bicycle, his parents utilize it for errands. Julian, who hopes to one day become a teacher, now rides just 30 minutes to school. And he has the energy to help with household chores in his free time.
Postobón’s project has not been developed exactly according to guidelines in some areas. But the field report notes success as the bicycles have empowered families to improve their lives.
Building on this success, the company has a new goal: to distribute 2,000 bicycles a year.
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