partner impact madagascar

Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, is also one of the world's poorest countries. 80% of the population lives in rural areas with difficult access to most services. In Madagascar, as in many other countries, the remote communities living in poverty are the most vulnerable segment of society. The availability of health services is extremely limited, leading to high rates of infant, child, and maternal mortality. In addition, 65% of the population does not have access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

Community health volunteers (CHV) play a vital role in providing health services in Madagascar, especially in remote regions where government health services may be limited. CHVs provide antenatal care, deliver vaccines, teach about proper nutrition and sanitation practices, among other family planning services. CHVs who reside in rural areas must often travel long distances to conduct health activities and provide services to families who rely on them. The considerable time and financial burden on CHVs limits the quality of services that CHVs are able to provide.

"Having a bicycle allows us to increase the amount of work we can do. When we didn't have bicycles we could visit eight people, now that we have them we are able to visit 18."  -Community Health Volunteer

A USAID funded project brought bikes to the region a decade ago for CHVs to use to see patients. But these isolated regions lacked the resources to provide access to bike repairs and maintenance. CHVs also spent much of their time caring for patients with no source of income to support their own families, lending to a high turnover rate.

Borrowing from bike projects in Kenya and Namibia, where containers were placed to act as bike shops in rural areas, this health project partnered with BfW in 2015 to bring more bikes to the area. The co-ops worked with our African partners to bring mechanics to the community to train new mechanics within the ranks of the CHVs. They also provided the administrative tools to run a successful business. These eBoxes (as they are known in Madagascar) have provided incentive among the CHVs to remain committed to the health project

In 2023 we donated our 10,000th bike to this health based project. In the same year we also added a new community, bringing the total number of eBoxes supported through BfW bike shipments to six.