Hopefully you’re already aware of World Bicycle Relief and the work the charity does to give people in developing countries access to a bike. For these people, a bicycle can mean a chance to access education, food, healthcare, or to grow a small business – all important factors in economic development.
The Buffalo Bikes they distribute are specially designed to be hard wearing, able to carry loads, and simple to maintain. But inevitably, they do require some maintenance, so World Bicycle Relief also trains mechanics to look after the bikes they distribute – in itself creating useful employment opportunities, or improving the skills of existing local mechanics. This video tells the story of the bikes and these mechanics.
“If a bicycle can be that useful in a place where there is no transport, it becomes useless if the bicycle you have can only last 90 days.” – Brian Moonga, World Bicycle Relief Country Director, Zambia.
World Bicycle Relief field mechanics are essential to the programs’ sustainability and success. To ensure that Buffalo Bicycles stay on the road, they train one mechanic for every 50-100 bicycles distributed through their philanthropic programs.
The five-day training program ensures the mechanics are prepared for real-life situations. Repairs, troubleshooting, building a Buffalo Bicycle from scratch, and customer service skills – the field mechanics training program covers it all.
With new toolkits and uniforms in hand, the mechanics go out into the field, where they become ambassadors for World Bicycle Relief while building their own new economic opportunities. Because field mechanics serve students in rural areas that other World Bicycle Relief employees cannot regularly access, they create a network that helps inform World Bicycle Relief about regional needs. Their routine maintenance service helps prevent breakdowns, keeping the bikes rolling for years to come.
Maybe you’ve already donated to the program and you’d like to see the impact your donation is having, maybe you’re one of our Singletrack Forum members who chipped in for bikes, or maybe you want to see more before dipping into your wallet. If so, tune in to BBC One’s ‘Red Nose African Convoy‘ on Thursday 23rd March.
You can donate to World Bicycle Relief here.