Press Release: KONY2012 Alternative; BNB Work in Uganda

News released on: 
Mar 9th, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – PLEASE REPOST WIDELY

 

Bikes Not Bombs Takes Peaceful Path to Restoring Health and Access in Northern Uganda; Responds to KONY2012

March 9, 2012, Boston, Massachusetts

While Bikes Not Bombs (BNB) applauds any effort made to educate the international community about the atrocities of the civil war in Uganda, we are concerned with the tactics prescribed in the viral video entitled KONY 2012, which was produced by the non-profit, Invisible Children. Since our inception, Bikes Not Bombs has helped people take control of their own development, with bicycles, and our approach in Uganda is no different. Bikes Not Bombs is focusing on a collaborative approach to peace and development, partnering with Ugandans and assisting them to implement their own strategies to rebuild and renew their communities. In a post-colonial world, we must make extra effort to translate our good intentions into support that furthers the self-determination of the people we aim to help, rather than imposing our solutions on them. A military offensive to capture Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lords Resistance Army who has retreated into the Democratic Republic of Congo, is not a solution to the decades of ethnic and political repression of people in Northern Uganda. We must instead look to the people of Northern Uganda for solutions, and support them on their path toward peace, development and long-term sustainability.

Bikes Not Bombs (BNB) is partnering with the Amuru Sub-county Village Health Team, a group of about 400 volunteer Village Health Workers, to implement a Health Worker Mobility Project in Amuru, Northern Uganda. This project, which is the product of two years of planning and development, will provide bicycles, repair workshops, mechanics training and project management skills to the health workers, and will help them develop the capacity to own and manage the project long-term. The bikes will form a transportation system for rural health service delivery, improving the mobility of the health workers and helping them to access patients in rural villages more efficiently and more frequently. This project will also assist efforts to rebuild communities after 20 years of war. Since the war, there has been a significant lack of health infrastructure in rural areas and the Village Health Workers are now helping to meet health needs, and are routinely saving lives. Bicycles will improve the overall outreach effort by Village Health Workers of monitoring, supporting and responding to the health of people in rural Amuru and will increase the speed of their response time in the case of emergencies. In areas with an absence of motorized transportation, bicycle ambulances will be utilized to help transport patients to the health center. Integral to this partnership is the Bikes Not Bombs relationship with St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor.

Boston bike mechanic Carl Kurz and Maryland transportation planner, Michael Replogle, started Bikes Not Bombs in 1984 as a response to the United States military backing of the Contra attacks on Nicaragua. Since then, BNB has shipped over 46,000 bikes to ten different partners in the global south. Our projects range in focus but they all celebrate and build upon the existing strengths of our partners and participants. Bikes Not Bombs’ mission statement reads, “Bikes Not Bombs uses the bicycle as a vehicle for social change. We reclaim thousands of bicycles each year. We create local and global programs that provide skill development, jobs and sustainable transportation. Our programs mobilize youth and adults to be leaders in community transformation.” More information can be found at www.bikesnotbombs.org/amuru.

Contact: 

David Branigan

Bikes Not Bombs

International Programs Director

284 Amory Street

Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

David@bikesnotbombs.org

617-522-0222 x103

www.bikesnotbombs.org/amuru

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