World Bicycle Relief expands its Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Program into Kenya

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Proven program will reduce students’ travel time to school helping to increase attendance and improve academic performance

Chicago, IL – World Bicycle Relief announces the expansion of its Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Program (BEEP) into Kenya with the first bicycle distribution ceremony taking place today. World Bicycle Relief has identified a significant need in Kenya for reliable transportation for students and has made BEEP Kenya a critical priority for 2015.

World Bicycle Relief’s program addresses the challenge of distance experienced by school-going children in rural, developing areas by supplying strong, quality bicycles to students in order to address this area of need. During the first year of BEEP in Kenya, World Bicycle Relief plans to distribute over 3,000 bicycles at approximately 15 schools in Nyanza and/or Western Province.

The goal of BEEP in Kenya is to improve the quality of life for targeted children, households and communities through The Power of Bicycles. The key objectives focus on increasing school attendance and improving academic performance of vulnerable school children, improving retention of girls in junior secondary school and improving teacher attendance and access to professional development activities. Other key benefits include the improved livelihood of bicycle beneficiaries and their families plus, improved safety and security for school children traveling to and from school.

Having successfully implemented BEEP in eight countries, World Bicycle Relief brings this program to Kenya with the expectation that it will have a similarly positive effect on students in Kenya,’ says F.K. Day, Founder and President of World Bicycle Relief. Data from the World Bank shows that 75% of Kenyan students live in rural areas and attendance rates for Kenyan students are below the world average. As part of our program, students receive a bicycle and sign a two-year study-to-own contract. Along with monitoring from local school officials and community leaders, these tools ensure that students stay motivated and stay in school.

In rural areas in Africa, children travel extensive distances to reach school, often departing more than two hours before the start of school in order to arrive on time. This distance results in increased tardiness, absenteeism, exhaustion, and for many, particularly girls, the complete withdrawal from the educational system. Research shows that education is an essential element in the fight to end the cycle of disease and poverty in developing countries. While the scope of this problem is broad, one way to immediately increase school attendance and children’s well-being is to provide access to safe, reliable transportation.

Building upon the success of the first BEEP program in Zambia in 2009, World Bicycle Relief has expanded BEEP to seven other countries, distributing over 60,000 bicycles through the program. World Bicycle Relief initially developed BEEP in Zambia along with the Zambian Ministry of Education to address the challenge of distance experienced by school-going children in rural areas. World Bicycle Relief will use the same comprehensive approach in similar rural communities in Kenya.

World Bicycle Relief is raising funds through the month of July to help launch BEEP in Kenya with an initial distribution of 3,000 bicycles for students and teachers. All donations will be matched dollar for dollar thanks to a generous gift from the Saks Kavanaugh Foundation. To learn more and support the campaign, visit the Wheels in the Field website.

About World Bicycle Relief: Founded in 2005, World Bicycle Relief mobilizes people through The Power of Bicycleså¨. World Bicycle Relief accomplishes its mission by designing, manufacturing and distributing high quality bicycles that withstand the challenging terrain and conditions in rural, developing areas. Entrepreneurs use the bike to increase productivity and profits. Students attend class more regularly and their academic performances improve. And, health care workers visit more patients in less time, providing better, more consistent care. World Bicycle Relief also promotes local economies and long-term sustainability by assembling bicycles locally and training over 1,000 field mechanics. To date, World Bicycle Relief has delivered over 225,000 bicycles.

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World Bicycle Relief Media Contact:

Brooke Slezak

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