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 (refugee settling in a particular area, local youth/adults, women or marginalized person) 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. I have developed a recycling workshop with jobs for unemployed people.
The bicycle as a common and versatile means of transport is used for personal travel and for the movement of goods or passengers. Virtually any load can 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 are mainly used for travel outside the village such as going to a market, travel to a nearby center or town, going to work or for a social visit. They are also used for transport services as in the case of rural traders who buy crops in the villages and transport them to markets for further sale. Another more urban form of transport service is performed by bicycle riders who take passengers or goods to their destinations both within towns and local trading centers, as well as to and from surrounding rural areas. They are called boda-boda bicycles and serve as a kind of low-cost taxi.
At CycleInnovation Hub, we combine bicycle business and vocational training for refugees, rural youth and disadvantaged groups to improve their livelihoods by distributing and maintaining of quality bicycles, offering employment opportunities, and training.
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 will unfold the potential of beneficiaries as a means to a greater end at every step of the value chain. Just like in other parts of the world, in Uganda, a bicycle serves as a tool to provide meaningful integration work. Or it figures 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 healthy environment.
Setup: Together with the local team, CycleInnovation Hub will establish the infrastructure to run an independent social bicycle hub in the center of Eastern Region, Uganda. Infrastructure will include among others a fully equipped and modern workshop, storage area, training room, sales area and offices. The installation will be a collaborative process, with the local team having the lead responsibility. CycleInnovation Hub will be present for 6 weeks during the installation for guidance and monitoring. In the first two years, in batches of 2x6weeks per year, CycleInnovation Hub will mainly be involved in training potential future teachers to understand and apply our Cycle developed curriculum, syllabus and teaching material. Teachers will take over teaching responsibilities and lead the two year vocational program. CycleInnovation Hub will also support the local management in the application and usage of business, management and financial related tool kits that will be developed by CycleInnovation Hub. In that sense, CycleInnovation Hub will contribute to the capacity building of the beneficiaries in a holistic way. We shall support the strengthening of individual technical skills and know-how but also support the development of sound organisational processes and structures. This approach will empower the target beneficiaries to run this project independently.