UNDP's support to bamboo bike yields results in Ghana

Dec 18, 2013

imageMs. Ruby Sandhu-Rojon (second right) and partners of the Ghana Bamboo Bike Initiative (with Ms. Bernice Dapaah at extreme left)

Produced as an innovative means to combat climate change, strong but light bamboo bikes using Ghana’s locally grown bamboo are being used for multiple purposes in a variety of terrains across the country.

With the support of the UNDP Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme, the Ghana Bamboo Bike Initiative is developing into a sound social enterprise after establishing a training center and a bike factory at Nkawie in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.

Led by young women who aim to develop a climate-smart mode of transport, the initiative has not only provided stable, higher-paying jobs for ten bike builders, but also empowered lives and created jobs along the value chain for bamboo suppliers and bicycle distributers.

“Though we have not fully reached the stage of mass production, our current production rate is about 20 bicycles per month”, said Bernice Dapaah, Executive Director of the Ghana Bamboo Bike Initiative. “Our demand for our bamboo bikes continues to grow, now standing at over 500 pieces a month, coming from both Ghana and abroad”, she added.

Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Ghana, praised the Ghana Bamboo Bike Initiative for the innovative efforts while encouraging the production of tailor-made bicycles that are responsive to the needs of rural women, particularly pregnant mothers, which can go a long way in reducing maternal mortality and accelerating the achievement of other Millennium Development Goals.  

“The use of bamboo as the raw material for the initiative is a good innovation that is putting Ghana on the world map. Bamboo is readily available and can produce oxygen to displace carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, reducing climate change”, noted Ruby.

The Ghana Bamboo Bike Initiative also produces tricycles that support women to cart goods from their farms to the market. With support from AU Women and Zoomlion Ghana Limited, the initiative is producing a prototype bamboo bike ambulance to support emergencies in rural Ghana.
The Ghana Bamboo Bike Initiative has so far won dozens of awards including the Seed Initiative, Impact Business Awards, and the World Business and Development Awards.

In November 2013 the initiative received widespread global attention when the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon and the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, Christiana Figueres test rode the Ghana-made bamboo bikes. The Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative was selected for the “2013 Momentum for Change – Lighthouse Activities” at the UNFCCC COP19 in Warsaw.