Thursday, 29 April 2010

cycling out of poverty

while i was in kisumu i had the good pleasure (& fortune) to meet luuk. he is the executive director of cycling out of poverty (CooP). CooP promotes bicycle use under the vision that on one hand the bicycle offers opportunities to generate income and cycle out of poverty, and on
the other hand that the bicycle is an environmental friendly means of transport.

"Cycling out of poverty (CooP) is a foundation founded in February 2007. CooP operates in 7 African countries (Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Malawi, Togo, Ghana and Burkina Faso) by setting up bicycle projects such as bicycle-credit programmes (for students, entrepreneurs and women), bicycle ambulance programmes and small bicycle workshops. The focus of CooP is to make (modified) bicycles accessible to poor African families. The targeted outcome is the reduction of social and economical poverty and an improved access to essential services like education, health and drinking water."

luuk figures that this program can move the needle on all of the 8 millennium development goals (MDGs)

more from CooP:

"CooP and Uvumbuzi Cycling in Kenya launched a bicycle intervention programme in Kisumu in 2009. This programme, under the name of Cycling Blue for Kenya, was supported by KLM Netherlands and consists of:
  • a cycling to school programme whereby families of students challenged in their access to school can get a bicycle on credit,
  • a bicycle workshop where unemployed youth will be skilled and employed in bicycle maintenance, design and small scale production,
  • a training centre to train youth, particularly boda boda riders, in job opportunities related to the labour market to diversify their income generating activities. (in development)

In July 2009 CooP launched the African Bicycle Network (ABN) with 11 founding civil society organisations (CSOs) working in one way or another with bicycle interventions in the African context. The network’s aim is to provide a platform to harness the knowledge, experiences and expertise which is already there in many CSOs, to improve the quality of life of people in Africa through non-motorised transport. The network will be a focal point for regional integration to advocate and lobby for sustainable development with emphasis on non-motorised transport. The goal for this network is to offer strong support to pioneers, currently working on limited resources with scares information, and empower them to reach these objectives in their own cities and countries.

By our experiences and those of the CSOs in the African Bicycle Network we noticed that many entrepreneurs are indicating that the local bicycles in Africa don’t satisfy their requirements. Entrepreneurs need durable bicycles, with load carrying capacity fit to their specific line of work.
Therefore, CooP started a process of designing a modified bicycle fit for the Kenyan market. Students from the Delft University of Technology have designed and produced a CooP bike, with an extended carrier in front. This is a modified bicycle, which means that it is made by modifying existing (imported) bicycles. The production of this CooP bike in Kisumu will start
on a small scale in May 2010.

CooP’s vision is that it should be possible to actually produce large number of bicycles in Kenya from local materials. That is why CooP starts a design competition in the Netherlands in May 2010 (funded by the Dutch ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment) to come up with ideas for bicycles made of innovative materials. The ideas and designs generated via this competition could easily be integrated in our envisioned programme for Bicycle Innovation Centres in Kenya (if you want more info, let me know, i have a cool PDF for you) and actually be produced in Kenya. (in development)

another organization you can drop some money on and feel good about it!

No comments: