Bikes for the World

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Teaming Up In Africa

Bikes arriving in Kenya
Bikes for the World is shipping to Kenya again this weekend. It's our last loading of the year and we need your help out at Lorton.

Friday December 14   10am - 2pm

Saturday December 15   10am - 2pm

Wheels of Africa (WoA) is one of our new programs of 2012. The organization was established in 2008 to bring awareness to cycling in Kenya and in turn making cycling safer in remote areas. But it's not just a cycling 'club'. Wheels of Africa provides donated bikes at affordable prices to people who would otherwise not be able to afford one.

WoA helps put more people on bikes and keep them safe
They have also donated some of the bikes given to their program to further their mission of increasing cycling in Kenya. They recently donated five bikes to Our Lady of Peace Primary School. The also took part in a Training Program in Nairobi teaching kids bike handling to sharpen their riding skills.

In addition to the work they are doing in the community to get more people skilled and on bikes, they are also providing adventure rides to tourists of all skill levels.  So if you are in Nairobi anytime soon, look them up!

Ivy lives 3km from school in Baclayon, Philippines
One of the aspects of cycling we at Bikes for the World have always been concerned about is safety. From our offices in the DC area, however, we can provide helmets with our shipments, but we can't be sure they are being used. In the Philippines, for example, the kids in the program are REQUIRED to wear a helmet while on a bike and it is strictly enforced. It's a contained area with not many kids on bikes, they are easy to pick out.

But when you ship bikes to an area such as Kenya or Namibia and the bikes are being dispersed over a large area to adults and kids it's harder to track who is doing what. This is when it's great to be working with established nonprofits on the other side with people on the ground doing that leg work for you.
Paulina Endjala, BEN Namibia's mechanic trainer

Even better is when two partners team up and work together. That's what BEN Namibia (another BfW partner) is doing with Wheels of Africa. BENN now has mechanics on the ground training new mechanics involved with the WoA program in Kenya. Currently, Paulina Endjala has been training mechanics on the island of Mfangano as part of an initiative of Bicycles for Humanity Colorado.

Here is an email they just received from Samwel, one of Paulina's trainees:
"Yes aim samwel from Kenya i am living in a small island around lake victory, i would like to take this chance to thank your organization for sending one of your trainer madam polina to our island mfangano . me samwel i was blessed so much.May God bless you samwel."
  post.  Here you can see a group from the Kaoko Bicycle Shop, a remote shop set up by BENN, with their Christmas stock of solar lights ready to sell.
Elephant Energy with BENN
Another group out of Colorado helping to bring safety to Namibia is Elephant Energy, who we told you about in a previous

Elephant Energy has been working with BENN to bring solar power to the remote villages where they have set up bike shops using the containers our bikes are shipped in. Using the BENN network of employees (trainers) Elephant Energy has been able to train locals in solar power, how to repair the lights and solar pads, and how to sell the product.

Courtesy BENN
We are pleased to see this partnership forming between two of our partners in Africa, Bicycling Empowerment Network (BEN) and Wheels of Africa. With the successful model of BENN behind them and the partners BENN has established in Africa, Wheels of Africa has a great hub in place in moving forward.

From October 1st BENN facebook page:
BEN Namibia today began its support programme for partner organisation, Wheels of Africa, in Nairobi. BEN Namibia will assist WoA with strategic planning, mechanic and business training and share our experiences with developing a network of 30 bicycle shops in Namibia. The WoA bike shop was started with support from Wheels of Change, Montana, and Tour d'Afrique foundation, both BEN Namibia partners.

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