Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bucknell's Bicycles Against Poverty

Villages of northern Uganda were the attention this summer from students at Bucknell University. A group of students trying to do their part to end world poverty headed a group called Bicycles Against Poverty. Their mission was to raise money and establish a sustainable bicycle micro-finance program in Uganda. They distributed over 100 bicycles in their first trip to needy families. The bikes were just in time for the harvesting season and allowed the families to travel more efficiently. The bikes are also used as community transportation with fare-paying passengers, they also make traveling to water pumps faster and the transfer produce more timely. This more efficient transportation allows families to focus on making a living and less on transportation. The program is not strict charity, they train the local community on how to repair the bikes, and in return the families that receive the bicycles pay a monthly payment of $2. The money collected goes into a community fund which will be used to buy more bikes for the community. The students involved have many innovative ideas on ways to help their program grow; with new products as well as establishing BAP as a US NGO. One of their goals is to establish a chapter of BAP on many different campuses around the country, with each chapter providing bikes to a different village. To these students their graduation is just the beginning.
-Sara Frodge