361 Bikes arrive in Madagascar!

A donation of 361 bicycles arrived in Madagascar this week. The bikes had been sent from New Zealand  in shipping containers, and will be supporting the USAID-financed Community-Based Integrated Health Programme, known locally as MAHEFA (Malagasy HEniky ny FAhasakamana).

JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. leads the programme, with support from partners Transaid and The Manoff Group. As part of efforts to mobilise and motivate volunteer community health volunteers (CHVs) in MAHEFA regions, the programme has put in place income generating activities (IGAs).

MAHEFA has established bicycle repair shops and trained CHVs in bicycle maintenance and small business management. The aim of these activities is to contribute both to the motivation of CHVs and to the sustainability of a wider MAHEFA bicycle empowerment programme by improving locally available bicycle mechanic expertise.

There are a number of benefits to the communities, as the CHVs receive income through the sales and repairs and a proportion of funds raised go directly to health activities in the community. Also, by significantly increasing the number of bicycles in these regions, the programme creates a critical mass of bicycles, which provides a market for bicycle repair and maintenance services and stimulates the local economy. When the bicycles are sold there is another benefit; the bicycles (both adult and youth) provide an important link for communities to allow them to better access to vital services such as health, education and markets.

Friends of Transaid and MAHEFA in New Zealand worked tirelessly to collect quality bicycles and to stack them into a container headed to the Bemanonga Cooperative in Menabe, Western Madagascar. The bikes will be used for a micro-enterprise specialising in bicycle repair and sales, which will be called the ‘E-Box Mandroso’ locally.

Find more information on the programme here