From Re~Cycle volunteer to Country Director, Village Bicycle Project in Ghana
Meet Jason. Country Director in Ghana for our partner - Village Bicycle Project (VBP).
Jason’s journey began not so many years ago as a brave Re~Cycle volunteer in London, whilst studying for university and working part time in a local bike shop. After assisting us to dispatch a container load of bikes to Ghana, he was inspired to see the impact on the ground and ventured out to Africa.
He was so enthused with the impact that a bicycle could have in rural communities that he decided to re-locate to Ghana permanently! As a volunteer, with some expenses, he investigated how our two partners in Ghana were working, what aspects of the program were most effective, what could be improved, and how best he could help….
He then went on a ‘grand tour’ of African bike re-use projects. He was interested to see what our other projects were doing and what other people were doing in general.
As a result of his experiences and findings he went on to spend several years building, developing and managing a self-sufficient, full service bike shop in Dodowa, southern Ghana.
This was an amazing set up created by converting an old shipping container, with sun/rain awning, where any bike mechanic would have felt at home. It workshop gave great pride to the five mechanics working there and helped develop a sense of aspiration for bicycles with the locals.
The Ezetela workshop had a big focus on repairs, which kept many bikes on the road, reducing reliance on importing bikes and saving people vital money.
Whilst running the shop Jason developed a close collaboration with the Village Bicycle Project, assisting with various small projects over a period of two years, which ultimately led to him to taking a paid position with them full-time.
Jason is now supervising programs across Ghana whilst building relationships with Ghanaian staff. Together they have improved their bicycle training curriculum and teaching methods, and brought more women into the one-day, and advanced repair workshops.
His team has also implemented a riding program to help women become confident riders, ensuring they get the most use from their bikes and can maintain them properly (Stay tuned for more stories from Jason next week).
Jason’s current focus is on strengthening relationships with village bicycle repairers, and is now working deeper in ‘the bush’ where bikes are needed most.
In addition to his experience as program coordinator and his previous experience working with bicycles in Africa, Jason brings his great sense of humor, excellent photography skills (visit Jason’s Flickr) and love of all things Africa.
If, like Jason, you have a passion for bicycles and would like to make a difference, why not volunteer with Re~Cycle, and who knows where you might end up in a few years from now.
Learn more about the Village Bicycle Project
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