Progress & Photos from Ability Bikes Cooperative in Ghana

News released on: 
Feb 7th, 2011

David Branigan, International Programs Director, visited Ability Bikes in Koforidua, Ghana for two weeks in January to assess the project and provide technical assistance. David is pleased to report that over the past year, since his last visit, Ability Bikes has greatly progressed in skill and maturity.

Ability Bikes Cooperative is run by an all-physically challenged staff and has successfully become a primary source of high quality refurbished bikes in Koforidua, the capital of the Eastern Region of Ghana. Ability Bikes was established in 2008 through the resources and support of Bikes Not Bombs, and has since become substantially independent. Ability Bikes imports two containers per year from Bikes Not Bombs, as well as two more from Re-Cycle and Working Bikes Cooperative.

During his visit, David worked with the Ability Bikes Cooperative members to hold their second annual meeting where they used a participatory process to critically analyze the progress of the micro-enterprise in terms of its accomplishments, challenges and potential for growth. David also worked with the members to envision potential developments for 2011 and to define concrete steps that Ability Bikes can take toward increased operational and financial autonomy. The goals are to secure the sustainability of the project, the long-term dignified employment of the physically challenged members and the continuous supply of refurbished bicycles in Koforidua - further building the bicycle infrastructure of the Eastern Region of Ghana.

David reflected on this visit, noting: “I received a lot more hugs from the Ability Bikes members on this visit than I was ever used to getting in Ghana, a society where greetings are generally done with handshakes. I think that together we've progressed past the development dynamic of recipient/provider to that of equal. We've built a partnership based on transparency, solidarity and strategic support that builds the members' power day by day, bike by bike, sale by sale to not only own the future of their cooperative business, but also their own futures.”

See more photos from David's visit on Flickr.

The worker-owners of Ability Bikes: Mirriam, Torsu, Sule, Agyen, Maude, and Julius.
Photo by David Branigan