May 01, 2007

Health Volunteers in Namibia Overcome Obstacles with Bikes Donation

On bikes, volunteers cover more ground in less time, reaching more clients in need of home-based care and HIV/AIDS support.

At a ceremony in late January, local officials and representatives from South African IT distributor Axiz presided over the donation of 310 bicycles and helmets for Catholic AIDS Action (CAA) health care volunteers in Oshana and Omusati, Namibia.

Axiz sponsored the bicycles, helmets and shipping, a donation worth $N 290,000 ($US 40,000).  The Bicycling Empowerment Network Namibia (BEN Namibia) handled logistics for the donation and trained a group of 20 bicycle mechanics from CAA to help maintain the bikes. Trainees received tools, manuals and hands-on experience as they assembled the bicycles. The bicycles were “California Bikes”, designed by the ITDP in partnership with TREK Bicycles for Africans with utilitarian needs.

Throughout the week, BEN Namibia also conducted sessions with all the volunteers geared at discussing the bicycles’ impact on their work and on their clients.  With bicycles, rural volunteers can more easily travel longer distances to clients in need of services like home-based health care, youth education, and HIV/AIDS support.

Photo: Hon. Lotto Kuushomwa of Oshakati East Constituency (representing Klemens Kashuupulwa, Governor of Oshana) and Mike Saxby of Axiz, hand over bicycles and helmets to CAA volunteers. (Source: BEN Namibia)

For more information about this project, contact Aimée Gauthier at agauthier@itdp.org

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