Helping a rural Gambian community to get cycling
Thanks to a recent grant from the E D Charitable Trust we’re helping our project partners in The Gambia to build a new bicycle workshop. During 2016 we’ll also source and send 900 bikes from the UK and provide bike mechanic and business training. This will give the Wonder Years Centre of Excellence (WYCE) team the skills, equipment and facilities to grow their already thriving bicycle social enterprise. The money they generate from their enterprise will be reinvested in the running costs of the WYCE school and health clinic (the only ones for 5kms) in a rural village called Madina Salam.
Why is this project needed?
The Gambia is ranked 172nd out of 185 in the 2014 Human Development Index and the Madina Salam village, where this project is based, is in a rural location with limited government help and yet has an expanding population.
In Africa 75% of rural dwellers rely on agricultural trade to make their living and so having transport links to farms and local markets to sell produce and check prices is important. Bikes are the primary mode of transport in rural Gambia and this workshop will increase access to affordable transport and repairs as well as supporting the essential services provided by the WYCE school and health clinic.
Jason, our Africa Programmes Manager recently visited the project and found that the mechanics at the bike shop and workshop in Madina Salam need an improved workshop space to make sure that they can offer a good repairs service to the community.
What difference will this grant make?
This project will give new skills and confidence to two bike mechanics and an apprentice, get a community cycling and bring the benefits of bikes such as better farmer to market transport and help people carry heavy loads for work or farming. The income that WYCE makes from selling and repairing bikes will contribute to the running costs of a nursery, primary, and lower secondary school and health clinic benefitting 500 school pupils and 3,000 health clinic patients.
In keeping with the ethos of Re~Cycle and WYCE, the aim of this project is sustainability with the intention that the workshop builds on the current self-financing model. Along with ongoing bike sales income, additional sales will be generated by customers drawn to a ‘one stop shop’ which includes a professional repairs service. Future project costs such as wages, further training, re-supply of spares and profit to WYCE will come from the income generated by bike sales and repairs. Two containers of bikes sent within the project period will ensure that the mechanics have plenty of stock to work on into 2017 and Re~Cycle will encourage importation of bikes from multiple partners, beyond Re~Cycle.