Pedaling to wealth – Donation provides transportation to co-op members

The VOICE for Women and Girls Program (VOICE) recently distributed 80 bicycles in Kenya.  

The bicycles will benefit the Rachuonyo East Entrepreneurs Savings and Credit Cooperative (SACCO) members. It’s made up of farmers and small agricultural business owners, including those that are women led.  

The bicycles are expected to improve members’ access to transportation, allowing them to travel by bicycle to use services, such as healthcare and education. Since the bikes don’t produce carbon emissions, they also provide local communities with an easy way to fight climate change while minimizing the environmental impact of members.  

A co-operative member unwraps her bicycle before the initial pedal.

Fifty-seven women and 23 men received the bicycles, including three people who are living with a disability. In addition, VOICE is partnering with World Bicycle Relief to train four female mechanics to maintain and repair the bicycles, which will also serve as a source of income for them.  

“Pedaling to wealth” was the slogan for the ceremony held on March 14. The former Homabay County Director of Co-operatives, the County Cooperative Officer, Social Services Officer, VOICE’s program partner – The African Confederation of Cooperative Savings and Credit Associations (ACCOSCA) – clergy and a co-operative member who had benefitted from the initial bicycle project, attended.   

In her speech, the chief guest, Alice Asiko, encouraged SACCO members to put some of their savings from transportation towards their SACCO account, which would boost their borrowing power.   

“The bicycles will enable you to transport more goods and boost your stock, hence we expect to see your businesses grow and increase your savings in the SACCO,” she stated.  

The ACCOSCA Finance Manager, Joan Atuhura, informed the SACCO members of her hope that the bicycles will enhance inclusion and women’s economic empowerment and enable them to actively participate in their SACCO and help it grow.  

A previous bicycle beneficiary, Perez Awilishared, said her bicycle has contributed to the growth of her poultry and cereal business. She stated that since she received the bicycle, she has been using it to transport her farm products to market and she saves Ksh 200 ($2 CAD) in a day.  

“I have managed to increase my stock out of the savings I make from my transportation cost. I started with six chickens, and I currently have 80 while I have sold more than a hundred in the last eleven months,” she said.  

VOICE for Women and Girls Program
VOICE for Women and Girls (VOICE), funded by the Government of Canada, is a volunteer cooperation program (2020-2028) that aims to strengthen the performance of developing country partner organizations to advance gender equality and economic empowerment of 50,000 co-operative and credit union members from marginalized communities in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi. 

The program, supported by volunteers, strives to address the challenges and barriers that adversely affect the economic and social well-being of vulnerable groups, with particular emphasis on women and girls. VOICE aims to respond to the needs identified by these groups and to increase the capacities of individual producers and primary co-operatives, to support more inclusive, sustainable, and resilient growth. Supporting institutions such as apex organizations, co-operative unions, and government/regulatory bodies will also be engaged to increase the capacity and prioritization of vulnerable groups.  

CDF Canada recruits volunteers through its considerable network of industry associations, co-operatives, credit unions, employers, academic and training institutions in Canada and engage the co-operative community and general public to support Canada’s international development efforts through the implementation of its Feminist International Assistance Policy. 

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