“70% of the African continent lives in the rural setup and have no access to mobility. It is that group of people that we feel have been left behind,” says Maureen Kolenyo, East Africa Regional Director at World Bicycle Relief. “We want more bicycles in the hands of the people who so need them.”
“With a Buffalo Bicycle, students are safe. They can get home on time. They can improve their quality of life. They can perform better. You find that the school has an enrollment of 500. And all of a sudden it’s moved to 1,400 because they’re able to get a bicycle. They can change the whole rhetoric of their family.”
Through World Bicycle Relief’s social enterprise model, we don’t just donate bicycles, says Maureen. The community also has access to Buffalo Bicycles and spare parts through the shops, and specially trained mechanics support the bicycles in the community. This effective bicycle ecosystem helps us ensure we’re achieving greater impact.
In Uganda, our newest program country, we’re mirroring the same model we’ve used in Colombia, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
“With how vast Uganda is,” says Maureen, “the health volunteers cover distances of over 10-15 kilometers. And when there is an emergency, the timeline is shorter. The Buffalo needs to be there.
The Red Cross in Uganda has 500,000 community health volunteers who respond to food shortages and medical emergencies. With World Bicycle Relief’s support, they now have 1,250 bicycles to help them reach more people in less time.
“We all need to move from one point to the other. When I look back, I think I was called to do community work, but I didn’t know. How is the world going to be a better place by me doing what I’m expected to do?”