Image source: Kona Bikes
Kona not only sells good bikes, sponsors riders to jump off things taller than our heads, and promotes recreational and functional biking, but it also is putting those bikes to work all over Africa. Their AfricaBikes program not only helps HIV/AIDS workers deliver medicine, but now the bikes are also being used to ensure that over 6 million people have access to water. The bikes also allow healthcare workers to move from seeing 1-2 patients a day by foot to over 6 a day.
This September, Kona Bikes will donate 100 Africabikes to the World Wildlife Fund for water projects in Tanzania, Africa. The Ruaha River, which supports over 6.35 million people, often runs dry for several months each year. This is not because of climate change, but because of poor river management. In 2005 the Water Users Association was developed to help monitor and maintain the river. Thanks to the bike program, last year was the first time in five years that the river has flown throughout the year. The Water Users Association is staffed by folks that are trained in water conservation, law, policy and irrigation. Park Tools plans to donate maintenance tools to help keep the program up and running.
Kona Bikes Aid Healthcare Workers
Kona Bikes has donated well-built Africa bikes to health-care workers in Sub-Saharan Africa who are working with HIV/AIDS patients since 2005. Another shipment of 1,000 bikes left yesterday en route to the southern tip of Africa and will be distributed to workers over the next several months, in time for World AIDS Day on December 1.
Kona workers are also going over with the bikes to distribute them and give bike lessons - most of the healthcare workers have never ridden a bike before. While there, they will assemble the bikes, with the volunteers, so the new owners know first hand not only how to maintain the bikes but how to put them together and take them apart. Good Morning America recently featured a report on the AfricaBikes, how they are made and how the program works.
What is an Africa Bike?
The bikes have thick, steel-butted tires to make it over the rugged roads and so that nails and other debris can't puncture the tires. Each bike comes with a large basket on the front for carrying supplies, medicine, or even friends, as well as a rack on the back of the bike for securing boxes. The back tire comes with a special lock - that way only the owner can unlock and use the bike. The bike is also designed to be easily maintained. The middle "bars" of the bike use a step-through design so that women with dresses can easily get on and ride the bikes. The seats have extra padding because most workers will travel 6 miles or more between patients.
How You Can Help
There are several ways to help, the first being by simply buying a bike. Kona AfricaBikes are so popular in the US due to their durability, that Kona came up with a sponsorship program. For ever 2 AfricaBikes sold in the US, one AfricaBike will be donated to Africa. Perfect for the couple purchasing bikes.
If you want to directly sponsor a bike, for just $100 they will make a bike in your name. You can even ship the sticker from your favorite bike shop with your check and they will attach it to the bike and send you back a photo. The program is the called the Hank & Frank's AfricaBike Program, after the two guys that proposed the idea to Kona Bikes.
You can also donate money or purchase an AfricaBikes tshirt made from 100% organic cotton for $30USD - all proceeds go to Africa Bikes. For a tax-deductible donation go to Bicycling.com
:Kona Bikes::Kona's Africa Bike Program
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