Thank you for your interest in the webinar release of “Wheels of Change,” the ground-breaking randomized control trial conducted by Innovations for Poverty Action assessing the effectiveness of bicycles on girls’ education and empowerment in rural Zambia, with implications for scaling to reach millions of students across the developing regions of the world.
We’ve got the answers to some of your most frequently asked questions.
World Bicycle Relief’s approach is based on supporting a sustainable bicycle ecosystem. Our network of social enterprise retail shops supports Buffalo Bicycle users with spare parts, community-based trained mechanics. In WBR-funded programs, a community structure we call a Bicycle Supervisory Committee manages a pool of funds to support preventive maintenance, and families pay for repairs by the community-based mechanic. The program is set up at the start to be managed locally by the communities, from targeting who receives the Buffalo Bicycles, to monitoring and evaluation, to trouble shooting any issues that may arise. You can learn more here.
Our data shows that 5 people on average use the bicycle per household. Parents use the bicycle when the child is not in school to access markets, healthcare, etc. Children transport other children to school on the back carrier, which holds up to 100kg.
While we are keen to measure these broader household impacts, and have other studies that measure livelihood changes, we were not able to include these questions in the methodology. Impacts on the lives of Zambian smallholder dairy farmers were captured in a separate study. They include a 25% increase in milk deliveries, 23% increase in milk volumes delivered, and a 23% increase in farmer income. The study is available here.
The bicycle will be critically important in getting children back to schools when they reopen. Girls are particularly vulnerable. When they are not in school, they experience higher risks of child marriage, pregnancy, HIV, and sexual assault. The longer girls are home from school, the greater likelihood they may not return. Outside of education, the bicycles provide a safe alternative to public transport (if it exists) for access to markets, food, water, and healthcare.
Working with and through governments is key to scaling, with community-managed local programs. Large scale partnerships with governments is the most sustainable strategy for scale, with the funders who support them. Locally managed programs ensure they are target those who face distance barriers, and the local bicycle supervisory committee that manages and monitors the effort is key to long-term results. You can learn more here.