Being a sustainable transport NGO, promoting the use of bicycles and engaging in such projects is part of EURIST’s fundamental aspects. Make a Move is an ongoing campaign by EURIST which developed from our long term experience of working in Africa. Together with our local partners on ground, we have been supporting vulnerable people and communities in Africa through the sponsoring of bicycles.
In this way, we expand people’s activity radius who would have otherwise rely on getting around on foot. The bicycles allow much larger distances to be covered which in many cases is that difference that enables access to clean water, education and health care. A bicycle increases the chance of participating in community life and is a means of combating poverty. For the beneficiary groups, a bicycle is a big help to being able to help one’s self.
More information on Make a Move Campaign Projects is available below. For further informational flyers, reports and newspaper articles on our bicycle projects please check our publications section..
“E-Bikes-for-Africa” receives support from the actor Bjarne Mädel, better known in his roles in “Tatortreiniger” or from his last hit “25 kmh”. Bjarne, who himself at a young age lived in Nigeria for a while, shows his connection to Africa both on stage in the play “Benefit-Everybody saves an African” and in his private life. In April 2019 he visited EURIST’s E-Bike project in Uganda. A short clip, directed by Bjarne himself, summarises his impressions.
The E-Scooter Project launched in June 2018 as an extension of the E-Bike Project. The project involved the addition of an E-Scooter into one of the beneficiary groups sharing an E-Bike. E-Scooters are a relatively new introduction in Uganda. This project allows us to directly compare the use of E-Bikes and E-Scooter in a peri-urban area in Africa, to see which one is more suited to the environment and which one most benefits the beneficiaries
The use of scooters and motorcycles in Africa has seen a rise in the last few years and continues to rapidly increase. Up to date, almost all of the scooters run on Greenhouse gas emitting combustible fuel. However, there has been a recent entry of E-Scooters into the market. Chinese manufacturers have began to open stores in big cities that give the opportunity for the local community to purchase and switch to E-mobility at comparatively affordable prices. As there are no manufacturers offering E-Bikes on the Ugandan market it is currently easier to acquire an E-Scooter than it is to acquire an E-Bike. This led us to ask the question: are the conditions in Africa perhaps so that the use of E-Scooters will leapfrog the use of E-Bikes?
Several areas of Africa are still without a connection to electricity, in such places the use of an E-Bike might be favourable to the use of an E-Scooter. Even if solar powered charging points are provided, users could still find themselves in a place where a charging point is not readily available which would leave them stuck. Especially in such cases, E-Bikes have a clear advantage as one can continue to manually use them even on an empty battery.
However, in peri-urban and urban areas, electricity is now widely available and it is in these areas where the use of the environmental polluting motorcycles is the highest. As much as one might like to introduce E-Bikes in such areas, the likely reality of the situation is that people are less probable to be interested in changing from the use of a motorcycle to the use of a bicycle, even if the bicycle is electric-powered. As the introduction of E-Scooters in still relatively new in Uganda, our project aims at testing the efficiency of a locally available E-Scooter to see if they truly can be an environmentally friendlier alternative competitor to the GHG emitting motorcycles.
As mentioned at the beginning, this E-Scooter Project runs as an extension of the Bukaya E-Bike Taxi Technical Test Project. Some of the beneficiaries of the E-Bikes are also using the E-Scooter at set intervals. This allows us to directly compare the locally available E-Scooter to the E-Bikes that we constructed in Uganda. Working with the same beneficiaries allows most of the variables to be kept constant. Comparisons are being made in areas such: use of the E-Bike/E-Scooter, income generated, ease of use and technical issues.
2017 – 2018
Bukaya (Solar) E-Bike Taxi Project
This E-Bike Project is in collaboration between the First African Bicycle Information Organisation (FABIO) and the European Institute for Sustainable Transport (EURIST e.V.). The project involves the distribution E-Bikes to community groups in the hope of increasing access to social economic activities and thus increasing their income thus
Our Goal: We want to prove that E-bikes in Africa can work, be locally accepted as well as improve the standard of living.
Since the beginning of September 2017, 3 E-Bike-Taxis have been in use in the Bukaya Village in Uganda. Each of these bikes are being used by a group of 3-4 people, making a total of 10 direct beneficiaries.
Although the bikes provided are E-Bike-Taxis, users of the bikes vary from Bicycle Taxidrivers, to Village Health Teams and Community Health Promotors.
Monitoring and evaluation of our project is done through 3 main tools: monitoring sheets, weekly to biweekly meetings with the local project coordination team and one on one interviews between the beneficiaries and also with the local project coordinators. The beneficiary groups fill in daily monitoring sheets that keep track of the usage of the bicycles as well as changes in income. In addition to this, each beneficiary had a one on one interview with our local project partner, FABIO, with which more indepth information on the project progression was collected.
The questionnaire entailed questions on topics such as:
– Usage Characteristics e.g. „Do you use the bike for anything else than a boda boda?“
– Technical Questions e.g. „What are the main technical issues on the bike and how do you tackle them?“
– Income and Operational Costs e.g. „Are you able to save money by using this bike?“
– Management /Ownership Questions e.g. „Does one main person use the bike or do you all equally share the time?“
A second interview will be done towards the end of the one year project period. The information from this interview will be compared to results from the first. In addition, the local project coordinator has regular – weekly/biweekly meetings with the beneficiaries to make sure the bicycles are running well and to keep up to date with the developments in the project. Any experienced technical issues are also discussed at such meetings.
2015 – 2016
Ubuntu Bicycle Empowerment Programme
s a pilot project 15 bicycles were provided to local sports clubs of Sianquoba/Port Elisabeth to empower the youth in cycling: The project’s idea was to develop a sports cycling culture as basis for personality develop-ment and socialization of girls and boys / young people in South Africa.
The data gathered in this evaluation pilot project shall be the basis for further extending the project idea to other regions and for fundraising in Europe and South Africa
On the 21st August 2015, EURIST assisted the launch of the UBUNTU Bicycle Project in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. A long time in the planning, this pilot project, funded by Volkswagen Group Works Council, provides mountain bicycles and cycle training to 15 school children from the local Zwide township. Over six months, the young beneficiaries, all of which are around 16 years of age, will spend three afternoons a week at the local cycling club, learning to ride and also practicing bicycle mechanics skills. The project will introduce the children, whose families are all affected by HIV/AIDS, to the cycling sport, and thereby aims to foster team spirit, self-confidence and determination and to improve the overall wellbeing of these children in their difficult circumstances.
An enthusiastic atmosphere accompanied the speeches of the project partners – the local UBUNTU Education Fund, terre des hommes Germany, EURIST, Siyanqoba Cycling Club and Bicycling Empowerment Network South Africa – and the mother of one of the beneficiaries at the celebration of the launch. Several songs were initiated spontaneously throughout the celebration, which ended with the handover of the cycling gear to each beneficiary.
EURIST’s specific role will be the project evaluation. To that end, Dr. Viktoria Wesslowski spent four days before the launch, gathering baseline data, interviewing the beneficiaries and their parents, visiting the township and the project sites, and meeting the project partners. A data collection strategy was put in place, including a comprehensive initial questionnaire. In February 2016 at the end of the six-month pilot phase,the impacts of the project will be assessed in terms of riding and bicycle mechanics skills, physical fitness, emotional wellbeing and several soft skills. We are excited to see the results of this promising project.
Other Past Bike Projects
Overall, the EURIST Make a Move Campaign focuses on donating bikes in the 3 main areas shown below. Since 2016 we began working on and fundraising to update these project areas through the use of E-Bikes.
To support the transport burdens in daily life – especially for women>
A bicycle with a trailer to improve the transportation of patients in rural areas
An environmentally friendly, cheap alternative to the widely distributed motorbike taxis
Improving the access to healthcare through the use of a Bicycle Ambulance
In Africa, there is already a health care deficiency because of the lacking emergency transportation systems. The journeys from surrounding villages to the next doctor is far. Statistically, there is one doctor for several thousands of inhabitants. Sick people, emergency patients and pregnant women are often too weak to go on foot. Patients who can not walk at all anymore are tied to a chair and carries for the brutally long journey, if they find enough volunteers willing to do it. This is where our bicycle ambulances would come into play. They consist of a bicycle with a stable trailer in which a person can be transported lying down.
Alungat is the first contact person when it comes to health care questions in her village in the Katawi District of Uganda. A few days before our visit, the young pregnant lady, Ms. Jesca came to see her about the intense abdominal pain she was experiencing. Alungat decided to take her to a health care center, where a midwife would further examine her. As there was no other available mode of transport, both women had no choice but to undertake the 15km journey on foot.
Jesca’s pain continued to increase and it was very clear that despite it being several weeks too early, she was about to give birth. The women were therefore forced to stop their journey.
Alungat did her best to help Jesca during the delivery, but Jesca’s situation was visible getting worse. She gave birth to a premature, still born baby. Luckily a man was riding by on his bicycle, he agreed to give Jesca a ride for the remaining journey to the nearest health care centre.
At the center, she was able to receive the medical attention she required and to begin to recover. After a few days, she was able to make her way back to her village. All in all, Alungat smiles and is happy that at least Jesca survived given that the maternal mortality rates in this region are very high.