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How bicycles and off-grid phones are combining to support women farmers in Zambia

On #WorldBicycleDay, see how an innovative scheme – introduced pre-COVID – is unlocking the potential of women with an off-road bike and an off-grid phone.

Wednesday 03 June 2020, Francisco Riera, Bojan Bozovic

As a part of our Frontier Livestreaming Technology (FTL) programme in partnership with Brink and funded by DFID, we partnered with ONYX Connect Zambia, a technology company, to bring enhanced mobility to households of all low income earners in Zambia.

FTL is supporting ONYX with grant money to provide to access and ownership of bicycles in Zambia through technological and financial innovation. 

Women on bikes. Belinda Syulikwa, Violet Dabali, Beatrice Siankwende & Judith Siankalou in Luyaba, Kalomo.
(L–R): Belinda Syulikwa, Violet Dabali, Beatrice Siankwende & Judith Siankalou in Luyaba, Kalomo.

Bicycles can provide a robust solution to many mobility challenges in Zambia, particularly for the rural poor. But potential users of bikes are often unable to afford the capital expenditure required to buy one outright. Other forms of transport, such as motorbike taxis used in times of need, are an expensive outlay that many find hard to afford.

A durable bike fit for African contexts can provide mobility for urban and rural communities, open up economic opportunity and contribute to livelihoods.
The adoption of bicycles as part of a “payment in increments” model can increase the ownership of bicycles for the poorest parts of Zambian society. The capital expenditure required to own a bike outright can be replaced by a rent or rent-to-own model that is made by smaller, more affordable payments.

The payment in increments model can also be facilitated by technology. Harnessing solutions such as mobile money can improve access to and the transparency surrounding payment in remote areas. GPS technology can also be used to track bikes for logistical purposes and to ensure payment collection.

A women making a mobile money payment on her phone
Making a bike payment using SMS mobile money

In Zambia, mobility is an issue that cross-cuts other challenges, such as poverty, health, and education. Because the country has low physical connectivity,
improving mobility in Zambia can help to achieve social and economic development.

This is particularly true of rural areas. For example, rural women often have to travel hours by foot in order to reach a local hammer mill for their maize,
which usually weighs 25-50kg. 

Bicycles can provide a robust solution to many mobility challenges in Zambia, particularly for the rural poor. But potential users of bikes are often unable to afford the capital expenditure required to buy one outright. Other forms of transport, such as motorbike taxis used in times of need, are an expensive outlay that many find hard to afford.

A durable bike fit for African contexts can provide mobility for urban and rural communities, open up economic opportunity and contribute to livelihoods.
The adoption of bicycles as part of a “payment in increments” model can increase the ownership of bicycles for the poorest parts of Zambian society. The capital expenditure required to own a bike outright can be replaced by a rent or rent-to-own model that is made by smaller, more affordable payments.

The payment in increments model can also be facilitated by technology. Harnessing solutions such as mobile money can improve access to and the transparency surrounding payment in remote areas. GPS technology can also be used to track bikes for logistical purposes and to ensure payment collection.

Learn more

Read the full story at Ready Mag

See how our innovative programme worked by reading the following case study

All photos and video courtesy of Unfold Stories

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How bicycles and off-grid phones are combining to support women farmers in Zambia

On #WorldBicycleDay, see how an innovative scheme – introduced pre-COVID – is unlocking the potential of women with an off-road bike and an off-grid phone.