2019 Winner: World Bicycle Relief

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Primary Area of Impact: Education, Healthcare, and Livelihoods
Geographic Areas: Africa
Year Founded: 2006
Website: worldbicyclerelief.org/en/

Overview

At World Bicycle Relief (WBR), we mobilize people through “The Power of Bicycles.” Our mission is to improve access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities in developing regions of the world where distance is a challenge. We build and distribute a rugged, specially-designed, locally-assembled bicycle to students, health workers, farmers, and entrepreneurs. Since 2006, we have distributed over 400,000 bicycles to individuals in 19 countries. Our programs and social enterprise have contributed to students improving school pass rates by 36%, community health workers expanding patient visits by 45%, and dairy farmers increasing incomes by 23%. We support our end-users by establishing market-based bicycle value chains and maintenance services, community-led programming, and continuous monitoring, evaluation, and learning to drive impact.

Social Challenge

Across the developing world, more than one billion people living in rural areas lack access to transportation options and all-season roads. According to the World Bank, in Africa alone, more than 70% of the continent’s rural population—450 million people—are affected. In these communities, distance and lack of mobility constrain access to health care, education, and livelihoods. Governments lack sufficient funding to maintain public transportation systems and road networks, while most households lack the resources to purchase an automobile or motorcycle or otherwise purchase transport assets. Without public or private transit options, walking is the primary mode of transportation.

Accomplishments

Since 2006 and across 19 countries

  • 400,000+ bicycles distributed (210,000 bicycles funded, 190,000 bicycles sold)
  • 1,900 community-based bicycle mechanics trained

Education Impact

  • Education Pass rates improved by 36%
  • Academic performance improved 10.5% on average, and up to 56%
  • Travel time to and from school reduced 7.5 hours per week on average
  • Attendance increased up to 28%

Healthcare Impact

  • Patient visits increased by 45%
  • Retention rate of CHWs increased to 95% from approximately 55%
  • CHWs reported traveling up to four times further by bicycle to reach patients than on foot

Livelihood Impact

  • Lead farmer visits increased 120% to follower farmers
  • Farmer deliveries increased 25% Incomes increased 24%
  • Travel time to and from follower farmers, markets, and collection centers dropped 60%