The purpose of the H.R.D.F. Bicycle Mobility Project is to provide the Aquin community with the resources and training necessary to become a ‘Bicycling Community’. A Bicycling Community is a community in which people commonly use bicycles to access markets, schools, health care and other services; earn income from the sales of bicycle products and services; and use other related human-powered bicycle technologies to transport heavy loads (workbikes) and grind grain (bicycle powered grain grinders). Bicycling Communities are richer communities because people are able to access vital destinations efficiently, without consuming too much time (as in walking) or too much money (as in expensive public transport).
To make Aquin a ‘cycling community’ the following components are required :
H.R.D.F. received a container of approximately 300 used bicycles, spares, tools and bicycle workshop essentials (chain grease, oil, etc.) to outfit a workshop, repair and refurbish the bicycles, and equip a vanguard group of local residents (who must pay a nominal fee) with bicycles. In 2000, the hardware was sent to H.R.D.F. by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (I.T.D.P.), a U.S. Non Governmental Organization (N.G.O.) that has worked in Haiti since 1988 to promote the use of the bicycle.
Greggory Gaffrard, Haiti’s leading bicycle mechanic/instructor, will be teaching the residents of Aquin starting April 2001 how to maintain their own bicycles, perform basic repairs, and also how to optimize the use of their bicycles to save and earn money. In addition to training the beneficiaries, Mr. Gaffrard will train others who will become instructors that will teach bicycling to future students at the H.R.D.F. school.
There will be a need for the development of local bicycle shops and importers, which are vital to sustain the delivery of spare parts and additional bicycles.
The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (I.T.D.P.) is currently working with the bicycle industry to develop a low-cost yet robust bicycle as well as utilitarian bicycle products which can be assembled in Haiti. In order to reduce costs, the I.T.D.P. is engaged with top bicycle engineers to optimize the design, cooperating in eliminating import tariffs on bicycles, and approaching development agencies to provide funding for targeted subsidies and microfinancing (for example, for working women).
About the I.T.D.P.
The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (I.T.D.P.) successfully modernized the Indian bicycle rickshaw, with over 700 modern commercially manufactured vehicles now operating in over 7 cities in India. It initiated and co-organized the International Conference on Sustainable Transport and Clean Air in recently democratic Indonesia. The I.T.D.P. created the Afribike program, now operating in 4 countries in Africa to bring low cost new and used bikes to low-income families. It is also working in closer partnership with the international bicycle industry to design and commercialized improved utility bicycles and load-carrying workbikes. The I.T.D.P. has worked in Haiti to promote the bicycle as a tool for poverty alleviation since 1988.
For more information about the I.T.D.P., visit their website at www.itdp.org