3 minutes reading time (524 words)

Bridging the Gap

Tendoma, a community in Ghana receives 40 bikes earlier this year. By partnering with groups like Village Bicycle Project, Bikes for the World maximizes the impact your old bicycles can bring to an African country. BfW has been working with VBP in Ghana since 2005 and Sierra Leone since 2012. Between the two projects, we have donated over 30,000 bikes.

Tendoma is located in Ghana's Upper West Region near the capital town of Wa. Over 98% of the 1,600 residents are engaged in farming various crops and raising livestock to support their families. Transportation challenges are complicated by their remote location and a reliance on narrow footpaths for travel.

Several months ago Village Bicycle Project traveled to Tendoma and offered their One Day Workshop to the community. After training participants in areas of simple repairs and daily bike maintenance, participants received a bicycle through the program. The 40 beneficiaries were mainly farmers and students who use the bikes in their everyday activities to increase productivity. 

Farmers are using their bikes to transport produce to nearby markets. The closest is Poyentanga which had been a five mile walk. Their bicycles make this commute to market minutes instead of hours. Some farmers who couldn't spare the time to walk the 15 miles to Wa Market are now able to sell more of what they grow, making more money to support their families. 

Students report improved school attendance since receiving their bikes earlier this year. They are also saving a ton of time commuting so they are now able to pick up work outside of school farming the nearby fields. The introduction of bikes in this remote community has bridged the gap to essential services, such as education and healthcare and continues to promote sustainable development in the region.

Tendoma is located 15 hours from where our bikes arrive in port at Tema, one of the largest container ports in Africa. Our partnership with VBP makes reaching these small communities possible. VBP works to identify areas in need of bicycles, many without the means to travel to their central warehouse in Accra. They coordinate with the local communities, work with or train mechanics in that area to support the bikes, and then transport the bikes to their villages. In addition to the vital role this effort plays in enhancing rural life, it is also what makes this project sustainable.

As BfW currently struggles to deal with issues related to the shipping channel being blocked for several months due to the Key Bridge collapse, we appreciate this connection on the ground in Ghana making these connections happen. Although our location is near our port of departure, we are now dealing with increased costs and challenges associated with transporting our bikes over land further distances to reach ports in NJ or VA in order to ship our containers. By partnering with local organizations on the receiving end we are able to have a greater impact across the countries we serve as they work out the logistics and sometimes political challenges associated with delivering our bikes greater distances further inland where they are needed most.

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