World Bicycle Relief (WBR) has just donated its 500,000th Buffalo Bike as it continues its mission to activate the power of the bicycle in African, Asian and Latin American countries.
As part of a 102-bike delivery to Bar Union Secondary School in Kakamega County near Kisumu, Western Kenya, the 500,000th bike marks a significant milestone in WBR’s history as it aims to transform everyday lives.
With their new bicycles, students like 15-year-old Damela Achieng’ Owuor can now travel to school faster and more safely. Like millions of children in rural Africa, Damela previously travelled 5km by foot from home to get an education.
Since its inception in 2005, the charity, with the Buffalo Bike, has harnessed the power of bicycles to enable students to get to school more easily and safely, help health workers visit more patients in a day, and farmers to deliver heavy produce to market before it spoils.
To date, it has positively impacted the lives of more than 2.5 million people by providing economic empowerment and access to healthcare and education by improved mobility.
The World Bank estimates that more than one billion people living in rural areas globally lack access to all-season roads and transportation, including 70% of Africa’s rural population. In these communities, distance and lack of mobility options hinder access to education, health services, and economic opportunities.
World Bicycle Relief addresses the ‘systemic challenges of last-mile mobility’ by manufacturing and distributing a rugged, long-lasting and locally assembled bicycle (the Buffalo Bike) to students, health service providers, and small-business owners.
As part of World Bicycle Relief’s education programme, students and their parents enter a ‘study-to-own agreement’, confirming that the bicycle will be used primarily to travel to school. As a key element of the agreement, the students will own the bicycle when they successfully graduate from school.
In addition, World Bicycle Relief has trained more than 2,300 local bicycle mechanics to ensure reliable access to maintenance and spare parts, making the programmes sustainable and achieve long-term impact.
Chief Operations Officer for World Bicycle Relief, Kenya, Charles Kimeu, said “Today, we’re celebrating a huge milestone: 500,000 bicycles for people in developing nations across the world. It gives me immense joy to see how these bicycles are literally impacting people’s lives and creating new possibilities.”
WBR UK Chief Executive, Allison Dufosee, said “We are so proud to have positively influenced so many lives as part of the World Bicycle Relief global charity.
“The knowledge that World Bicycle Relief UK has been able to empower so many rural communities through the power of the bicycle is truly humbling and inspiring. We also know that the half-million milestone is only one small step on our journey to mobilise people in developing countries through the power of bicycles.”