In 2015, Bikes for the World added a new partner in Guinea-Bissau in collaboration with the Global Fairness Initiative. Over 400 bikes were donated through the Guinea-Bissau Livelihood Initiative, which just came to an end this year.
Many of our newer partners come about through larger projects looking to expand transportation solutions while also increasing capital to help fund the overall mission of the project. Fixing and selling our donated bikes brings needed transportation to isolated villages, helps establish new jobs and businesses, and helps sustain the initial project.
In Madagascar, we worked in tandem with Transaid to help support a multi-year effort to bring better health care to rural areas of the country. A bike component was introduced toward the end of the project to help fund aspects of the health care initiative such as the emergency transport system and health insurance policies for the members of the co-op. The idea is that when the project ends, and in turn much of the overseeing support from the establishing non profit, the program will continue and thrive being sustained by its own community.
In Guinea-Bissau that larger non profit is Global Fairness Initiative (GFI), which helped establish the Guinea-Bissau Livelihood Initiative (GBLI) to support and strengthen local farming associations and their communities. Similarly, as in Madagascar, the bike component was introduced to help support projects initiated through this larger program.
For GBLI, that larger program centered around food security. GBLI implemented a series of interventions tailored to the unique needs of its beneficiary communities. These interventions aimed to strengthen the foundation of beneficiaries' farming activities so that they could progress from subsistence farming to farming as a business.
APALCOF is a women's farming collective of more than 3,500 smallholder producers singled out by GFI. GBLI worked with APALCOF and its members to strengthen their capacity, increase access to markets, and ultimately improve their livelihoods.
In collaboration with Bikes for the World and GFI, APALCOF distributed our donated bikes in 2016. The bikes and spare parts were sold to farmers in Bafata and Gabu at discounted prices. The money earned through bike sales was reinvested into a bank account to support the micro-credit program, thus increasing access to loans to beneficiaries.
The bikes served as a means of transportation for farmers during their farming activities, often eliminating extra time and energy exerted to travel from the wells to the field or from their homes to markets. Children also used the bikes to go to school, some of which were upwards of 5 kilometers from their home village. Additionally, the bikes were particularly helpful to women and families, who used the bikes to go to health centers.