community development

Cycling and Community Development in Africa

Check out these great initiatives in Africa: Ride 4 A Woman, One Street’s Social Bike Business Program, and Global Cycle Solutions. The mission of Ride 4 A Woman is “to economically and socially empower local women in the closest communities surrounding Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.”  The project raises money by renting bicycles to tourists as well as giving tours in the national park.  As a bicycle-focused company, they also promote the independence of Ugandan women by providing them with a bicycle and teaching them bicycle-related skills, saving them valuable travel time. Global Cycle Solutions (GCS) would pair well with the Ride 4 A Woman program, though it is focused in Tanzania.  GCS has developed a series of tool adapters that enhance the capability of bicycles, making them increasingly relevant to developing country settings.  Current tools include a corn sheller and a mobile phone charger.

Lastly, One Street – an Arizona-based non-profit attempting to serve organizations who seek to increase bicycling, walking, transit and social equity.  Through their Social Bike Business program, they’ve partnered with Ride 4 A Woman to “break through barriers to women riding bicycles and learning mechanical skills.”

While these programs are not as tech-focused as some of the other initiatives we highlight, they are providing simple technologies to developing countries where bicycling can significantly increase marginal productivity.  And, with the ubiquity of mobile technology in these regions, perhaps some solutions developed for these areas will be translatable to the developed world as well.

-Terra Curtis