Innovation That Matters

Lease-to-own bicycle program improving lives in rural Uganda

Work & Lifestyle

Bicycles Against Poverty sells bicycles to members of rural communities in northern Uganda to help them access school, markets and water.

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When forced to walk miles to access clean water, communities necessarily have less time and income to spend on other aspects of life, including essentials such as education and healthcare. Bicycles Against Poverty seeks to improve the standards of living for the many citizens of northern, rural Uganda by providing them with the means to more swiftly access important resources. The organization does this by providing bicycles on a lease-to-own basis.

Paid in installments, the year-long lease is paid monthly. The total cost of a bicycle is USD 100, which covers the cost of the bicycle with a small mark-up to help cover the organization’s running costs. Character references are required for a loan, and the strength of an applicant’s community group is observed as part of the application process. The organization sees bicycles as a route to freedom, empowerment and opportunity, whether for schoolchildren or adults now able to reach markets closer to urban centers where goods sell for a higher price.

Finding new ways to use materials and ideas is helping many remote communities get connected and improve their standard of living, without having to leave their home. An all-terrain wheelchair that is open-source, locally-built and easy to repair is improving accessibility for many people living outside urban areas. An app that connects traditional fishers with marketplaces, government agencies and environmental organizations is using their knowledge to power change and improved economies. How else could innovations be sustainably adapted for particularly challenging environments?




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