Kenyan Bikes for Families Project

The “boda boda project”

The Obidaya Family More detailed explanation

The “Bikes for Families” project is an innovative and cost-effective project being pilot tested in western Kenya to increase family income. We are interested in whether we can use these bicycles to encourage families to take in orphans from their home village by allowing them to increase their family income to more than compensate for the increased cost of caring for additional children.

Many families in Africa are already caring for orphans of neighbors or relatives who have died. Many others would like to take in orphans, particularly from their own villages, but they already have difficulty providing the most basic necessities of life for their own children. This project will help us determine if we can provide this kind of aid to help families who would like to care for one or more orphans by providing the means for them to afford to do so.

The project gives these carefully screened families a bicycle, known in Kenya as a “boda boda,” at a cost of about $60 each. Having this resource opens up income and other opportunities for the family.

Use bikes for transport serviceFor example, having a bicycle can permit the father or an older child to travel to areas where he can get a better paying job. Transporting for hire other members of their village or their goods can double a family’s monthly income. Medical care may become readily accessible for the first time. Getting to and from family garden plots, which can be located an hour’s walk away, becomes much easier. Having the bike can also make it practical to get produce or crafted items to more distant markets which often offer better prices. At the same time, they may be able to buy food and other necessities at better prices in larger and more distant towns.

We will be monitoring and evaluating the success of this project. If it proves as successful as we expect, we will undertake a larger pilot project. You can keep informed about the progress of this project by signing up for our free "Orphan Watch" newsletter by clicking here. You can make a contribution to help with this project here.