Princely joined World Bicycle Relief full time in 2010, after doing contract work for our Zimbabwe office. He started his journey in the assembly facility and worked his way up the ranks to Bicycle Monitor and Mechanic Trainer, responsible for program training and quality control. At the end of 2022, Princely was again promoted and now works as a Product Specialist across all program countries. In this role, he focuses on the end-user experience and feedback.
“World Bicycle Relief has given me opportunities and trust. I look at where I come from, to what I have achieved … I just keep focusing and pushing forward, trying new things and learning from all the experiences.”
The Buffalo Bicycle mechanics training program that Princeley has helped support is an essential part of our self-sustaining model. Once Buffalo Bicycles are available in a community, they never need to leave that community for repair or maintenance, and local residents with an interest in mechanics can create a new income stream for themselves.
For a number of years, Princely led World Bicycle Relief’s mechanics’ training in Zimbabwe and loved working with the mechanics.
“If you want a good bicycle, you must know how to assemble it properly,” he says.
Princely and the rest of the team take training very seriously.
“If you can’t build a bicycle from the ground up,” Princely says, “you won’t get near a Buffalo Bicycle in the field as a mechanic.”
Trainees at the Harare, Zimbabwe, facility receive four days of training on-site followed by a fifth day where they are put to the test and must build their own Buffalo Bicycle from the ground up. Participants also learn techniques and tricks of the trade from seasoned assemblers.
They are given hand tools to work with, but they assemble the bike without power tools or the benches used in the assembly facility. The workshop is intentionally set up to simulate field conditions. Many of the mechanics will set up their shops with little more than a cardboard mat under a tree.
If they can build a bicycle here without the frills, then they have a much better chance of being successful in the communities where they work. At the end of the day, each trainee has successfully built a Buffalo Bicycle and gives his or her bike a test ride.
Trained mechanics receive a uniform, tools, a bike repair manual, and basic business and marketing training. On average, each of the mechanics trained in Harare will have a built-in market of at least 100 Buffalo Bicycles to service in their area, thanks to the education programming at area schools and health clinics.