Wheels4Life – Providing Low Cost Quality Bikes for Third World Countries

CBIRD Uganda Project report

Below is a report from one of our partners in Uganda’s Masaka District, to read more click on header above:

 

COMMUNITY BASED INITIATIVE FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT

REPORT TO WHEELS4LIFE

Background to CBIRD

Community Based Initiative for Rural Development (CBIRD) is a non-political and non profit local organisation Registration No: CD 6280 Ref: CD/MDLG/1051/04. It is a service delivery and research based. It is located and operates within the poor/isolated areas in Masaka district of Uganda. CBIRD is devoted to activities that are directed toward improving the performance of rural primary schools to ensure sustainable development of rural communities. CBIRD engages in reconstruction of rural primary schools, promotion of equal education opportunities for girls and boys, men and women, provision of scholastic materials, supports games and sports as well as well music dance and drama in primary schools, capacity building, research and advocacy as well as poverty reduction.

Vision

Participatory rural community empowerment for improved sustainable development of rural isolated communities.

Mission

To improve academic performance in rural primary schools, contribute to poverty reduction, stimulate growth through participatory approaches and innovations, and community-oriented action programs and interventions for better livelihoods.

Major Aim

To empower local communities through provision of school supplies in primary schools, reconstruction/renovation of school structures, capacity building, donations, networking and advocacy, community-led projects and programs and action research aimed at sustainable livelihoods.

 

 

Major thematic areas

·      Education

·      Infrastructural development and rehabilitation

·      Capacity building

·      Research

·      Health and Nutrition

·      Poverty reduction program

 

 Who do we collaborate with?

CBIRD has established good working relationship with the local community, and two US based organisations: The Allen foundation and Wheels4life. Those two USA based charities have played a significant role in helping CBIRD to  implement their plans through provision of bicycles and school supplies such as reading aids, sports equipment and other support. Also, computer aid international based in UK and Crossroads foundation in Hong Kong have showed interest to collaborate with CBIRD.

Major challenges

CBIRD, being a newly founded initiative has a challenge of personnel who can offer voluntary service. It is faced with a challenge of lack of funds to run the program activities. Transport is another challenge since CBIRD has no private transport means. Moreover, CBIRD has no computers as well as internet services. CBIRD has not yet found their permanent offices a thing that affects the daily activities.

 

 

REPORT about THE BIKES DONATED BY WHEELS4LIFE to school going youths/children and adults in Masaka-Uganda through CBIRD

Wheels4Life, a non-profit charity (501c (3)), accepted to provide bikes for people in need of transportation through CBIRD. This was preceded by an application that was submitted to wheels4life in March by CBIRD expressing the need for bikes for school going children, adults and youths who cannot afford public transport means on a daily basis and who live in places where public means are scarce in Masaka district of Uganda.  The bikes that were donated made a significant difference in recipient’s life and many have been helped to jump out of the chronic poverty cycle.

On Monday, 6/22/09, Carmen Freeman wrote informing Jude Muleke the lead coordinator for CBIRD about the money that was wired to Western Union to buy 25 bikes. The money was received in June 2009 and the bikes were purchased in July 2009. CBIRD received US $ 1900 which fetched 3,591,000 Uganda shillings at the exchange rate of UGx 1890= US$ 1.

 

Each bike was bought at 140,000 Uganda shillings (UGx) which when multiplied by 25 bikes, gave the total expenditure of 3,500,000 UGX. The remaining balance was UGX 91,000 (US $ 48.148). This was kept in the CBIRD treasurer to run other activities.

 

How the bikes have improved the lives of the recipients

Girls and boys, men and women benefited from the bikes that were donated by wheels4life. Many recipients have been able to complete their primary level and they are using bikes to generate money to further their education. Others have used bikes to travel to schools and to markets where they get money for school fees having sold some of their produce.

 

This young girl is another beneficiary from the bikes donated by wheels4life. She uses the bike to go to school from a distance of 7 1/2 Km (seven and a half Km). Her bike not only helps her but also the entire family. During holidays, the bike is used to do domestic work and transport agricultural products to the nearby markets. This girl is grateful to the wheels4life which has enabled her to continue with her education by providing her with a transport means.

This young man is another beneficiary who has  used his bike to generate money for his education and that of his brothers and sisters. He uses the bike to carry mats, fruits and eggs to the nearby market. This was not possible before. In the picture, this beneficiary is in a bike workshop in Masaka town where he works during his holidays. He is carrying a bike to a customer. He uses his bike to travel from his home village to Masaka town to work. He was not able to do that before he got this bike which was provided by wheels4life.

These are the bike tyres collected before the bikes were assembled.

Each bike  has a carrier. These are the carriers that were fixed on each bike. Carriers help bike recipients to carry some items to the market for example. There are also some homes where only one person was given a bike. At the same time, in the same home there maybe two people who benefit from the bike to go to school. The carrier therefore helps them to carry each other to school.

In the pictures are four bike recipients. These two youngmen use their bikes to go to work in their village to earn a living. The four youngmen are at work constructing animal stalls. They use their bikes to reach these places which they could not do before. Presently, these four youngment are able to pay fees for their brothers  and other relatives. “the bikes we got have made our life better. Today we can look for small jobs from allover because bikes help us to move easily. Thanks to wheels4life” one of the beneficiaries in the picture above said.

These two small boys are from the same family. They got one bike. They also use the bike during the holidays to look for small jobs from within their localities and elsewhere. When they go to work, they get money which they use to pay fees for their education. They have also learnt to do simple mechanics  for their bikes. They have always affirmed that the bike they got from wheels4life through CBIRD will help them to attain the level of education they want. They are always very grateful to wheels4life.

Some  beneficiaries have been able to improve their gardens because they use their bikes to carry fertilisers (organic fertilisers). Their banana plantations in the pictures above are doing well simply because of the bikes they received from wheels4life through CBIRD. During school time, the owners of the plantations above use the bikes to go to school while during evening hours when they are out of class, they use the bikes to do agricultural activities such as collecting cow dung for fertilisation of their gardens. Sometimes they use the bikes to carry agricultural products to the markets a thing they were  not able to do before the received the bikes.

There is a significant impact brought about by the bikes received from wheels4life through CBIRD to the local people in some villages in Masaka. Many beneficiaries have not been put in the photos because it was expensive to take pictures for each beneficiary since CBIRD does not own a camera. CBIRD therefore requests people of good will to provide them with a camera or and a camcorder to be able to provide evidence of the donations given by persons  of good will such as wheels4life.

 

Challenges faced

Although CBIRD has tried their best to monitor the bike beneficiaries, CBIRD found it hard to travel to different villages because they lack transport means. CBIRD needs support to be able to buy a means of transport (motor bikes or a car or sports bikes) for easy movement. Moreover, CBIRD does not have computers. They therefore need at least one or two laptops to be able to document the necessary information to share with the donors and other interested parties. It was also found hard to communicate frequently with the donors. This was due to CBIRD’s inability to own internet modems and lack of laptops. A lap top in Uganda costs 1200000 shillings (US $ 674.1573) while a modem costs 300000 shillings (US $ 168.5393). CBIRD therefore requests any parties that can help to help them with the above items to improve their services.

Achievements

CBIRD has been able to keep good contacts with wheels4life. Due to the good work done by CBIRD, many community based initiatives within Masaka and other nearby districts have been consulting them which gives hope that CBIRD will be a role model. It is also important to note that all bike beneficiaries have their lives improved. Many have been able to complete their primary education; others have been able to carry their agricultural products to the markets while at the same time use their bikes to go to school while others have benefited from the bikes by using them in the agricultural activities from which they earn a living.

It is also important to note that CBIRD has been able to learn to value monitoring exercises. In addition to that, CBIRD has been able to get new supporters from the USA ( the Allen foundation) who have supplied them with scholastic materials in rural schools. Computer aid international in the UK and crossroads foundation in Hong Kong have also showed interest to work with CBIRD. There are also many people from the local community that have promised to support CBIRD having seen the good work done.

CBIRD received 3 more bikes in addition to those that were donated by wheels4life. These were donated by the local people who appreciated the work CBIRD does in the local area.

Emerging issues

 There are more people that have been identified in the community who need bikes. These like those that received the bikes, face challenges of transport. They cannot afford transport a thing that has hindered their education. Not only that, due to their inability to afford transport costs, their poverty levels are always high and sometimes they have been referred to as the chronically poor. However, if they got a bike, they would be able to reach the markets around to sell some of their surplus from the agricultural section while at the same time they would be able to look for small job opportunities to earn a living from and be able to pay fees for education of their children and relatives. Some people have been dying simply because they have no transport to reach the health centres. So bikes will enable them to improve their day today way of life just as it has been with the few that received bikes in 2009.

So far around 70 people are identified in critical need of a bike if their lives are to be improved. More are being identified since CBIRD moves in many villages to do their work of rural empowerment. However, CBIRD continues to scrutinise them to find out who should get the bikes first basing on different criteria.

Sincere thanks go to the wheels4life for their support. CBIRD team is always ready to continue to work with wheels4life. More support is being called upon to improve the lives of local persons in rural isolated settings. Thanks once again to wheels4life.