Sunday, 11 April 2010

The problem of rural poverty is often a problem of mobility. The most common way to get from point A to B in rural regions is on foot. Walking may be inexpensive, but it’s also inefficient when journeys involve long distances, heavy loads, or urgency of arrival, as is often the case. Increased mobility for the rural poor puts distant markets, schools and clinics within reach. Without it, development stalls.

The right kind of bicycle is an ideal low-cost, efficient and sustainable development tool for the rural poor. Bicycling is on average three times faster than walking and significantly less costly than motorcycles and cars. A durable cargo bike can increase carrying capacity five-fold over “headloading,” the most common form of rural transport which involves carrying goods on the head. While nexpensive, headloading is inefficient and drives gender inequity.

Worldbike designs and distributes low-cost bicycles for programs that increase economic opportunity, improve health outcomes and boost enrollment and gender equity in secondary school among the rural poor. Our bikes withstand large loads, rough terrain and inclimate weather and are configured to be not only affordable, but also maintained and repaired locally. Through partnership with international and local agencies, private companies, foundations and NGOs, Worldbike helps to arrange microcredit financing for bike purchases and supplement sales with support from funders and private donors.

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