Bikes for the World

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Giving Life To Your Old Bike

The last edition of our three part series on our beneficiaries in Kenya will focus on mechanics. Wheels of Africa teamed up with BfW partner BEN Namibia (BENN) to borrow their very successful BEC (Bicycle Empowerment Centre) model to set up shops that are accessible to everyone.

When bikes arrive in the container, they are in various stages of disrepair. They may merely need the pedals reattached, they will likely need a derailleur adjustment, but they might require a lot more maintenance, which is why they were donated in the first place.
In order for a bike organization to be sustainable and ultimately be chosen as a Bikes for the World partner, there has to be a plan in place for not only repairing the bicycles donated by us, but a method for maintaining them in the future.

BENN's BEC model is ideal because it trains and employs skilled local talent to become successful bike shop owners and mechanics. It also makes use of the bikes and parts donated by groups like Bikes for the World.

BEC owner Michael Otieno
BENN sent their most skilled mechanics to Kenya to help Wheels of Africa get this program started. Michael Otieno was trained in the Wheels of Africa program modeled after the original BECs of Namibia.

Mike receives bikes and spare parts through WOA. He will not only reassemble your old bikes but he will make sure they keep running for years to come. He also underwent specific entrepreneurial business training through the program to ensure his bike shop business remains successful.

Ousman Okoth
Ousman Okoth is a recent 'graduate' of the program and just established his own BEC. Both Mike and Ousman are training other youths to be mechanics and as well as successful BEC owners.

The BECs are situated in the suburbs of Nairobi. They are able to reach more remote villagers who are in need of affordable transportation to get to and from the city center for work, school, or health services. Mike and Ousman will not only get bikes into deserving hands but make sure those bikes keep working. They have apprenticeships that will help turn more Kenyans into skilled mechanics serving the communities where they live.

Bikes for the World is making an effort to increase the amount of spare parts we collect so that we are able to increase the value of our bike shipments by adding parts into every bit of space possible.

Recent partnerships with DC's Capital Bikeshare and NY's Citi Bike have brought cases of used parts, tubes, and tires into our warehouse that are in turn being shipped to support remote bike shops around the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment