Community training in Malawi

With your generous funding, World Bicycle Relief is able to work directly with local communities to empower students with bicycles. And through our Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Program (BEEP), it’s the community that takes charge.

World Bicycle Relief’s Bicycle Supervisory Committees (BSCs) are made up of 10-12 community members – including students – where our education programs are being implemented. The BSC works together to select bicycle recipients, enforce beneficiary contracts and monitor the sustainability elements of the program, such as regular maintenance and availability of spare parts for students and their families.

As part of the program, we host training sessions for individuals from the chosen communities to equip members with tools and hear from them what is working and what needs help.

Capacity building and training

Recently, World Bicycle Relief hosted trainings for Bicycle Supervisory Committee members in Liwonde, Malawi.

FHI 360, a nonprofit human development partner organization, invited three people from each of the nine BSCs in the Zomba and Machinga districts to attend. The goal: to train the trainers on how to facilitate our Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Program (BEEP) at their local schools.

During the five-day training, participants learned how to use and teach the provided modules, or steps, to develop local BEEP policy and programs. The modules include direction on mechanic selection, beneficiary selection based on distance from schools, age and gender, as well as monthly management of spare parts inventory and bookkeeping.

BSC members model the formation of local BEEP policy on spare parts management. Among the questions addressed: Who manages spares at the school? How much should be paid from each beneficiary toward a spare starter kit? What happens if they cannot pay? Where is the money kept safely?

 

Module 5 addressed roles and responsibilities. BSC members assigned expected responsibilities to various roles of the BSC members. For example, preparing the monthly reports may be assigned to the secretary, engaging local leaders around the security of the bicycles often goes to the chairperson and paying the mechanic is assigned to the treasurer.

 

In Module 6, BSC members complete a financial ledger to keep track of the community contributions toward maintenance and payments for mechanics and spare parts.

 

Participants learn how to use the Preventative Maintenance Checklist with their mechanics.

 

A team uses the “BSC Growth Chart.” The chart helps plan when they will train their other BSC members, select the beneficiaries and mechanic, set up a bank account, purchase the Spares Starter Kit from Buffalo Malawi, and distribute the bicycles at their school.

 

A total of 29 people participated in this training, with a visit from the Educational District Manager.

These participants take the knowledge and experience they’ve acquired back to their local communities to help implement the Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Program (BEEP). Their experiences also benefit future infrastructure for our programs. For each BEEP program that’s implemented, we have the opportunity to learn how our programs can improve. Conversations with riders, field mechanics, teachers and partners all inform the improvements we make to our bicycle design, program design and spare parts support systems.

You can continue to make a deeper impact in the communities where we work. Donate today to empower more students and strengthen a community’s bicycle infrastructure!
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