Bicycles create opportunities for households to access markets, healthcare, water, education, employment and business. The cost savings in transport a bicycle has on an individual household, on average, is more than $20/month. For people living in rural Malawi, this amounts to more than 50% of a households income. This money, in turn, can be re-invested into education for children, increasing farming outputs and building a better quality of life.
For the majority of ultra-poor communities, the up front purchase cost of a bicycle is unattainable. Funds that could be put towards the purchase of a bike are used up in daily transport costs to simply access their basic needs (markets, healthcare, water and farms). Africycle employs a network of women, Village Bicycle Agents, that enrol rural households in a bicycle financing program that allow the recipients to receive a bike and repay the purchase over the course of 4-5 months. The cost savings from not depending on hired transport allows them to easily meet their monthly payments and, in turn, create other opportunities to further build on their families financial security.
Building Financial Independence
Once households no longer spend significant portions of their income on simple mobility, they are able to build on their financial independence. The bicycle allows them to invest more time into farming(80% of Malawians are subsistence farmers), creates savings to ensure their children have access to education and healthcare, build on their households assets( livestock and land) and create opportunities to for further income through small business and entrepreneurship.
Skills Training and Development
Africycle has built a team of locally trained mechanics and retail staff that ensure Africycle is providing superior quality services. A team of over 30 Malawians manage the daily operations of Africycle. From refurbishing second hand bikes, to the sales outlets, Africycle is helping build a bicycle industry that serves communities better. Africycle offers mechanical training programs that help to build local knowledge and skill sets of bicycle mechanics as well as anyone enrolled in our bicycle financing program.
Africycle supports local community organizations through in a model of sustainable development. Funds realized through the sale of bikes allows Africycle to provide funding to programs local programs like Muula Community Based Child Care and Ulemu. Africycle is providing funding to these organizations that allow us to feed more than 500 orphaned and vulnerable children daily and support the staff and caregivers responsible for their care and education. Africycle also provides education sponsorships that help local learners without financial means to cover tuition fees in order that they may remain in school.
In addition to this support, Africycle also provides other outreach activities, including donations of bicycles to volunteers working to support local needs, health care workers responsible for the delivery of health care to rural populations and many other programs that struggle to meet the basic needs of their communities.
Africycle is made possible through the donation of bicycles through our international community. Africycle has been able to do this because our supporters are willing to generously contribute their bicycles to our programs and partners. Thank you to all who have contributed and help to build Africycle in a way that is sustainable and allows us to meet the needs of people in Malawi.
“I read a study that measured the efficiency of locomotion for various species on the planet. The condor used the least energy to move a kilometer. And, humans came in with a rather unimpressive showing, about a third of the way down the list. It was not too proud a showing for the crown of creation. So, that didn’t look so good. But, then somebody at Scientific American had the insight to test the efficiency of locomotion for a man on a bicycle. And, a man on a bicycle, a human on a bicycle, blew the condor away, completely off the top of the charts.” – Steve Jobs