Village Bicycle Project

Ghana and Sierra Leone

Photo credit: Village Bicycle Project Village Bicycle Project brings bicycles to the most rural areas of Ghana and Sierra Leone and organizes village-based workshops at which people can purchase bicycles at subsidized costs and receive training in basic bicycle maintenance. Village Bicycle Project also provides opportunities for local mechanics to purchase subsidized bicycle tools and receive training in advanced bicycle mechanics – building the repair infrastructure to sustain the bikes long-term.

Village Bicycle Project partners with communities to create opportunities for increased mobility, leading toward social and economic development. Bicycles offer an affordable mode of transportation for rural people, helping them improve their access to basic resources such as education, health care, jobs and markets. Most rural people walk because motorized transportation is often scarce and extremely expensive.

  • Students walk sometimes over an hour each way to attend school.
  • Farmers walk sometimes over an hour each way to get to their farm and back.
  • People who are sick sometimes stay at home because they cannot afford transportation to the health center.

Riding a bike is 4-times more efficient than walking. Village Bicycle Project programs are giving people access, helping them to improve their lives and develop their communities.

At Village Bicycle Project workshops, people learn basic bicycle maintenance and repair such as cleaning and oiling the chain, fixing flats and properly using brakes and gear systems. People become self-sufficient as bike-owners with their new knowledge.

At the advanced repair workshops, rural mechanics learn to use freewheel tools and chain tools while receiving hands-on training in more advanced bicycle systems. Bicycle tools are made available for subsidized purchase, increasing access to these valuable tools that assist bicycle mechanics to keep more bikes repaired and on the road.

Village Bicycle Project also focuses its programs toward women and girls, ensuring their full access to village workshops, mechanics training and bicycles. By offering at least 40% of their bikes and programs to women and girls, Village Bicycle Project addresses their needs for mobility, for greater social equality and independent access to resources.

The scope of Village Bicycle Project's programming in rural Ghana, and now Sierra Leone, is huge, and the amount of bikes they have imported since their founding in 1999 is also huge – effectively helping to shift the transportation norms toward bicycles, and to build the bicycle repair infrastructure throughout rural areas.