OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

CycleInnovation Hub- We combine bicycle business and vocational training for refugees and rural youth to improve their livelihoods.

A social bicycle hub that distributes and maintains quality bicycles, offers employment, trains youth and supports disadvantaged groups.

Photo of Joseph Mulabbi
8 5

Written by

What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

Mobility is considered an important prerequisite for any economic, social and cultural development. Ugandan refugee communities and its sparsely populated rural areas pose a striking example of the far- reaching consequences that a lack of mobility produces. Even among refugees, there is a high share of young talent between 15 and 25 that are fit for a decent and productive job, however due to their displacements from their original homelands, they are faced with severe economic, social or governmental barriers to unfold their potential. CycleInnovation Hub approach creates shared value at every single step of the value chain for both refugees and the communities around them specifically in Uganda and Africa. For the African part by investing in social bicycle and training hub, we impact refugee community livelihoods on different levels: the settlers find productive and paid employment, both refugees and local youth benefit from the opportunity to take part in our developed vocational training that offers tangible perspectives to secure employment, and refugee groups receive financial support to buy a bicycle. Ultimately, their livelihoods gain access to good quality motorcycles, spares and maintenance services. Particularly in the rural context, bicycles are a powerful, cost- effective, efficient and sustainable tool to improve inclusion in the market system and impact economic, reproductive and social activities positively. Bicycles work as a key catalyst for people to engage and seize socio-economic opportunities. Education and income opportunities to improve rural livelihoods: Job creation in the organisation contributes sustainably to economic development. Particularly youth, women, and disadvantaged persons, who we equip with both a set of job specific (mechanical inputs) and soft skills (e.g. accounting, sales, and language) that allow them to become employable and improve their chances in the labor market. Empowerment of young women:

Geography of focus (500 characters)

In BidiBidi Refugee Resettlement Area-Nothern Uganda which is right now home to close half a million Sudanese Refugees. Scale to Mbale district in Eastern Uganda which is ethnically rather homogeneous. The predominant ethnic group is the Bagisu who are generally perceived as mountain people. The area is often referred to as Bugisu. However,during the recent period of political instability, there has been an influx of Iteso people from Kumi and Soroti districts (Teso).

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

Access to education&affordable mobility for large segments of the rural population. Beneficiaries access to bicycles enables them engage in new business opportunities or increase business productivity, increase opportunities for trade and increase the delivery of extension services. Access to bicycles helps rural households to overcome distance and facilitate access to basic everyday services, such as water,healthcare,agricultural fields, schools, religious institutions and social activities.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

The bicycle as a low tech and thus simple yet powerful tool offers the possibility to create sustainable impact in the local but also in the global context. Our bicycles unfold the potential beneficiaries as a means to a greater end at every step of the value chain. In Uganda a bicycle will serve as a tool to provide meaningful integration work or figure as the linking element between corporate volunteers and refugees, which enables the better understanding of each others social realities. In Africa, a bicycle is a tangible and demanded product that enables carrying out small scale business opportunities. In an African, the bicycle is a prerequisite for rural socio-economic development and creates income opportunities and supports the sustaining of families. Beyond that, riding a bicycle promotes a sustainable form of transportation, contribution to liveable cities and a healthy environment.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

Anyone who has a bicycle will be able to transport much more and travel much greater distances. It leaves more time in which to learn and cultivate the fields. We shall develop a recycling workshop with jobs for unemployed people. The bicycle as a common and versatile means of transport will be used for personal travel and for the movement of goods or passengers. Virtually any load will be carried on a bicycle - people, bags of crops, matoke (the Ugandan cooking banana), iron sheets (2m long), charcoal, sewing machines, jerrycans of beer and water, firewood, cases of soft drinks, pigs, goats, another bicycle, etc. In rural areas, bicycles will mainly be used for travel outside the village to a market, travel to a nearby town, going to work, access to school,health centers. IMPACT INDICATORS;- -Number of jobs created among beneficiaries -Lives transformed, time saved and economic growth created -Testimonies of impact from beneficiaries -Number of bicycles distributed, and trainees

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

Growing up from one of the poorest regions in Uganda, I have noticed how many hours we/people walk day by day just to meet our/their basic needs. We have no access to affordable means of transportation which is also the same case with people on the move. With a passion to refurbish old bicycles, I know that there are hundreds of thousands disused bikes in many countries outside Africa which can be put to use to transform the transport system in rural villages but also contribute to the socioeconomic growth and development of individuals (youth, adults, women and marginalized individuals). The idea of making these bikes available to Refugees in resettlement areas, rural communities, Uganda and Africa is therefore conceived. Anyone who has a bicycle will be able to transport much more and travel much greater distances. It leaves more time in which to learn and cultivate the fields.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

In Bidi Bidi refugee camp, it is very difficult for these people to access the nearby trading centers for socioeconomic opportunities which makes life difficult for them. In Mbale district the predominant ethnic group is the Bagisu who are generally perceived as mountain people. The area of Mbale district is often referred to as Bugisu. However, during the recent period of political instability, there has been an influx of Iteso people from Kumi and Soroti districts (Teso). In this particular district, apart from the Iteso invaders, Mount Elgon mudslids that have occurred every now causing a lot of displacements of homes and families resulting to most youth ending up on the streets. The government has built small homes to settle some of the victim families, but poverty, inaccessible health facilities, inaccessible transport, unemployment and a lack of education have been registered as the biggest challenges faced in the resettlement areas.

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

Together with the local team, we establish the infrastructure to run an independent social bicycle hub. Infrastructure includes among others a fully equipped and modern workshop, storage area, training room, sales area and offices. The installation is a collaborative process, with the local team having the lead responsibility. We are flexible and draw upon their strengths rather than going in with a strict agenda. We have designed our programs to fit in line with what will work best for their unique needs. In our experience, Ugandans are very resilient. They face challenges like a lack of unemployment and poverty, yet they remain optimistic. Their enthusiasm to seek for livelihood improvement opportunities alongside the desire to learn and improve their community is their most important asset. We not only implement trainings, but the communities get engaged and involved willingly every step of the way. The community leadership has also offered free land for construction of the hub.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

United Nations High Commission for Refugees Ministry of Transport and Works Ministry of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Pearl Haven Christian Center Kampala Innovation Hub Office of the Prime Minister of Uganda

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Arriving and settling at a destination community

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Product: A new or enhanced physical product that creates value for end beneficiaries

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Blueprint: We are exploring the idea and gathering the inspiration and information we need to test it with real users.

Group or Organization Name

Youth Kontact

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

Youth Kontact consists of a team of 5 people responsible for managing collection, refurbishment and integration as well as fundraising and communication in Uganda. The team is complemented by a Vocational Trainer and -advisor who implements YK’s vocational program. Our team shares a common vision that everyone should be able to enjoy the benefits of cycling, globally. Being part of the foundation Sinnovativ, a group of five board members supports YK’s activities. Operating on a limited budget with a hybrid financing model, Youth Kontact strives for an organic yet innovative growth of our activities and resources, including human power, to scale our impact.

Website URL:


Type of submitter

  • We are not yet a registered organization but plan to register in future

Organization Headquarters: Country


Organization Headquarters: City / State

Mbale District in Eastern Uganda


Join the conversation:

Photo of Lynne Cheng

This is such a great idea in so many ways! I love that it gives people their independence instead of waiting for public transit. It also put a smile on my face because a human on a bicycle is one of the most efficient methods of transportation (beating trains, planes, and cars)!

Photo of Joseph Mulabbi

Hello Lynne Cheng
Thanks so much for sparing time to view my submission.

View all comments