In remote regions in low-income countries, where no paved roads or public transport is available, distance is a critical barrier that keeps millions of people from accessing education, income opportunities, and health services. Bicycles are a green, safe and affordable solution to mobilise and thus empower rural communities, and to invigorate development efforts in a broad range of fields, from agriculture to health to education to social and political participation. In the session we presented the findings of a rigorous randomised controlled trial conducted in 2017 by Innovations for Poverty Action that show the impact of our bicycle programs on girls’ education & empowerment in rural Zambia. After focusing on education, we discussed how bicycles can make your development project more efficient and impactful.
The panellists presented the positive results of distributing bicycles to vulnerable communities, especially with regard to girls and women living in rural, remote areas. Speakers also highlighted the positive outcome achieved with partner organisations (UNICEF, World Vision, Save the Children etc.) who function as intermediaries to reach vulnerable communities not only in Africa, but also in Latin American countries such as Columbia. The examples showed how receiving the bicycles increased girls’ punctuality at school, thus helping them to learn better and become more self confident.