Bicycles for Humanity International Launches Strategic Partnership
09/24/2010

Bicycles For Humanity Creates a Sustainable World Model for Bicycle Donations with the Goal of Providing Increased Economic Development and Mobility to 100 African Communities by 2015

Online PR News – 24-September-2010 – – Contact:
Bicycles for Humanity International
Dan Austin – Executive Director
4424 Harvest Lane
Billings, MT 59106, USA
dan@bicycles-for-humanity.org
www.bicycles-for-humanity.org
+1 406.671.6067

Bicycles for Humanity International Launches Strategic Partnership
With Bicycling Empowerment Network Namibia

Creates a Sustainable World Model for Bicycle Donations with the Goal of Providing Increased Economic Development and Mobility to 100 African Communities by 2015

Billings, MT, Sept. 22, 2010 – Bicycles for Humanity (B4H), the nonprofit organization that empowers people to improve their quality of life through donated bicycles recently announced a strategic partnership with Bicycling Empowerment Network Namibia (BEN Namibia).

Established in September 2005, B4H http://www.bicycles-for-humanity.org/ began as a grassroots movement uniting like-minded people in cities around the world with the goal of providing development and mobility for African communities. Today, it encompasses 24 local chapters in North America, Australia, Japan and Europe engaging thousands of volunteers in the collection of used bicycles and fundraising to pay for their shipment abroad. Since inception, B4H has successfully sent over 14,000 bicycles to Africa.

BEN Namibia http://www.benbikes.org.za/namibia is a non-profit organization based in Windhoek with the related mission to empower disadvantaged Namibians through the provision of sustainable transport and bicycle-related income generating opportunities. BEN Namibia works with organizations such as B4H, importing donated bicycles, parts and accessories and then refurbishing them by training and employing local people in bicycle mechanics. Their primary focus has been on supporting home-based healthcare services for people living with HIV/AIDS as well as orphans and vulnerable children.

“After five years of successful grassroots growth Bicycles for Humanity is now ready to take our initiatives and successful model to the next level,” explains B4H Executive Director Dan Austin. “Working in collaboration with BEN Namibia Directors Michel and Clarisse Linke, our partners in Africa, it is our goal to establish and equip 100 new bike shops in Namibia, Zambia, South Africa, Ghana and Malawi by 2015.”

B4H’s rapid growth together with BEN Namibia’s grassroots experience led to the development of the Bicycle Empowerment Center (BEC) program, a bicycle distribution model that has opened a new avenue for serving people of sub-Saharan Africa and for the economic empowerment of disadvantaged communities.

Austin describes how it works. “A BEC is a 40 ft modified shipping container that can accommodate 300 to 400 new and second-hand bicycles, tools, spare parts, paint, roofing materials, and workbenches. We then deliver it to a community-based grassroots organization focused on orphan care, women’s empowerment, HIV/AIDS and low-income earners where it is converted into a community-based bicycle shop.”

Income is generated through sales and servicing of bicycles within the community and, after an initial supply of stock for the project’s implementation, the bicycle workshop is responsible for meeting ongoing costs such as purchase of spare parts and bicycles for resale. With each project, up to 5 employment opportunities are created and beneficiaries receive extensive training in bicycle mechanics and financial and project management. In most cases these individuals have previously never held formal employment, relying solely on sporadic unskilled labor and subsistence agriculture.

Austin points out that a bike can change a life in a poor country. Yet for millions of low income earners, a new bicycle is financially out of reach. B4H and BEN Namibia work to ensure that disadvantaged people are empowered through improved mobility and access to food and water, employment, healthcare, education and social opportunities.

The nonprofits offer these compelling facts:

- A healthcare worker can visit 3 to 4 times the number of clients with a bicycle compared to walking
- Girls are 70 percent more likely to attend school if their household owns a bicycle
- A bike can cover three times the distance than walking can: 5km (3.1 miles) on foot = 1 hour / 5km by bicycle = 20 minutes
- A bicycle carries up to 5 times the load compared with a person walking

For more information visit the websites: http://www.bicycles-for-humanity.org/ and http://www.benbikes.org.za/namibia. You can also follow B4H and BEN Namibia on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Bicycles_Africa. To donate money and/or bikes, establish a B4H chapter in a community, or learn how a company or corporation can benefit by getting involved contact B4H Executive Director Dan Austin by phone: 406.671.6067 or email: dan@bicycles-for-humanity.org.

For media inquiries, interviews and photos please contact Dave Wiggins at Widness & Wiggins PR: Ph 303-554-8821/ Email dave@travelnewssource.com