|Village Bicycle Project is a small part of a movement for human-level,
environmentally sustainable development.
There are many ways you can help:
|Support Village Bicycle Project
Your check will help send specialized bike tools, offset shipping costs,
and enable more students to learn bike repair while receiving discounted
$25 Subsidizes 2 sets of five most popular tools for one mechanic
$60 gets a bike to a school girl in Sierra Leone ***
$500 Sponsors a one-day workshop, with 20 people getting half-price
$5000 pays the shipping costs for a container of 500 bikes
The best way to donate is to send a check to:
Village Bicycle Project
1518 NW 79th Circle
Vancouver, WA 98665
But if your prefer, you can use our online portal. While online is
convenient, 2.9% of your donation will go to PayPal. So if you
wish to donate a large amount ($400 +), a check would be best.
*** to get bikes to Sierra Leone school girls include "salone school
girl" in the subject line of your check, or use our PayPal portal.
|Some ways to volunteer for bikes in Africa.
We get lots of short-term inquiries, “I’ll be in Ghana for 3 weeks, how
can I help?” There is very little that someone we don’t know can do in
a short time for an organization you don’t know in a strange land,
without lots of preparation. So if you’re short term and we don’t know
you, your help is going to be independent.
Here’s some things you can do as an independent.
1. You can bring tools and sell* them to repairers.
Ten years ago most Ghanaian mechanics had never seen these tools. Link:
They are now becoming more widespread, (thanks to VBP) but they still
haven’t reached some remote places in Ghana, and much of the countries
outside of Ghana. Most mechanics have to go to Accra for replacements
and they’re often expensive. Those who already know them will be happy
to see you. Those who don’t will be curious, at least.
(* Some people think that because of Africa’s poverty we should give it
away freely. Giving things away is generally not a good idea. Charity
perpetuates a culture of dependence. The western development worker is
often looked at as a source of gift, and that’s unhealthy. We want to
help people help themselves, not play Santa Claus.
Also, free stuff is not valued. Everyone will want it, but
will they use it? will they care for it? Finally, generosity can serve
to screw up the market. People will be less willing to pay for it if
they know someone got it for free. Instead, they’ll wait. Charity is
2. You can load your luggage with inner tubes and share them.
Used inner tubes from the over-privileged world are highly valued, the
demand is so high, the need so great, and tubes are so non-durable, that
the rules of charity (see above) don’t really apply. Used tires are
also highly valued.
3. You can organize and run your own bike repair clinics wherever you
Our curriculum is
free to use
and modify, and we’ll be happy to advise in more detail.
4. Bicycle counts and basic infrastructure research are also helpful.
We’re building a data base of this, and would love your help.
data base samples [this link isn’t
It is truly amazing to learn how localized bike use can be. We’ve gone
into areas that seem to be naturally conducive to bike transportation,
and found almost no bikes. We find islands of areas where women
ridership is common, and where certain types of bikes dominate.
We really don’t need short-term help with our programs. Our Ghana
partners have their teams and their ways of doing things, and at times
seem even to resent outsiders efforts to help. It’s a cultural thing.
On the other hand, you are welcome to attend a workshop. Please be
advised that you are there on your own, not as a guest, and no one
associated with VBP will have any obligation to take care of you in any
way, unless of course, you are having an emergency!
The point is, we want our programs open and transparent, without
two month range
or if you’ve already spent enough time to learn how to communicate in a
different English… You'll need to vetted before we can connect you with
any of these.
Helping women learn to ride.
This is a job for a female volunteer. We find that many women who sign
up for and attend our programs don’t know how to ride. Once they have
the bike, often they still don’t learn to ride, and the bike falls into
the hands of others, usually male. We need volunteers who can help
orient women to bikes before the programs. This will send them into the
bike-receiving workshop with more confidence. You will be working
directly with the organizer, usually a Peace Corps Volunteer.
We need someone to go to Sierra Leone, study and report the bike
If we’re going to be part of a major intervention, wouldn’t it be lovely
to be able to measure our impact?
Someone to visit people in Ghana who’ve received bikes from our
programs. Are the bikes helping as much as they should? What is
holding them back from their best use? How have bikes changed people’s
A prominent publication recently asked for an 800 word story about
anyone who’d gotten a bike from VBP. We didn’t have it. This could be a
great story for a writer.
Six-month to one year
If you’re serious about an enduring contribution, think up to one year.
This is the kind of time needed to startup new programs with new people.
Get them trained up, competent and confident at what they do.
For a welder, and engineer type. Its common to find people who use
their heavy old roadster to carry heavy loads, but don’t think mountain
bikes are strong enough. How do we get to the truth? Someone is needed
to design and carry out a plan to test mountain bikes and their load
carrying capabilities, and at the same time study the roadster.
For an engineer/crafts person, the Village Bicycle Seat Project.
It is said in Ghana, and its true, that bicycling can harm sexual
performance in men. Is there someone who could design, build and teach
rebuilding of seats which take pressure off that special spot?
Any startup program is going to take a longish term commitment, like
one-year. By start-up I mean finding and training up the right people,
working out bugs, and streamlining to stand-alone or smooth transition
|Volunteer in Africa
|Collect Bikes to Send Overseas
Here are some groups that ship bikes around the world and their
Bombs, greater Boston
Re~Cycle, London and Colchester,
Bikes for the
Pedals for Progress, New
Email us to have your bike shipping group added to this list.
Collecting bikes for Ghana, what they
|Support Pro-Bike Public Policy
Support efforts to revise policies towards development of non-motorized
Fund has lots of information on community bike groups and cycling in
World Carfree Network has huge
listing of pro-bike groups worldwide.
Transportation and Development Policy
FABIO First African
Bicycle Information Office
Africa League of American Bicyclists
more links of possible interest