The African Bicycle Contribution Foundation (ABCF), a US-based non-profit organisation has donated 85 bamboo bicycles to students in the Ningo-Prampram District of the Greater Accra Region to facilitate their transportation to school.
The donation forms part of a total of 500 bamboo bicycles so far distributed to 13 deprived rural locations across the country by the ABCF.
The beneficiary regions include Greater Accra, Brong Ahafo, Northern, Eastern, and Ashanti regions, since 2016, to help alleviate transportation difficulties faced by the people.
Mr A. Bruce Crawley, the Chairman of the Foundation, at the presentation of the items at the Achimota Golf Club in Accra, on Thursday, said the bicycles were manufactured by the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative (GBBI), in partnership with ABCF.
Mr Crawley said the free distribution of the bamboo bikes to under-resourced populations in the country was the first stage of their programme and that they were committed to financing the manufacturing of 2,500 bicycles in its first five years of operation in the country.
Ms Patricia Marshall Harris, the Executive Director of the ABCF, said the Foundation believes that access to bicycles in the rural areas of Ghana could play a significant role in reducing school dropout rates and prepare the students for successful future careers.
“The World Bike Relief study has cited attendance rate increasing from 65 per cent to 90 per cent for African students, once they have received access to bicycles, for their daily commute.
“In addition, their school absences were decreased by 27 per cent, and their overall commute time was reduced by one-third, with a 66 per cent increase in punctuality,” she said.
Ms Harris said according to the World Bank, children in rural regions of Africa were at 43 per cent higher risk than urban children of dropping out of, or never attending school.
In the “Dropout Issue and Economic Implications: Evidence in Rural Ghana,” poverty and “long distances to school” were found to be major contributors to the school dropout phenomenon in the country, she said.
“Indeed, the Ghana Statistical Service, in 2014, reported that while only eight per cent of Ghana’s urban children had no education, that figure climbs to nearly 25 per cent for rural children,” the World Bank added.
Ms Bernice Dapaah, the Chief Executive Officer and the founder of the GBBI said the partnership with ABCF would not only help meet the transportation needs of rural economies, but create jobs and sustain livelihoods.
Madam Beatrice Naa Koshie Lartey, the Director of Education for Ningo-Prampram District, who received the items, expressed gratitude to the donors and said the support would go a long way to assist the students to be regular and punctual at school.
She appealed to government to address their school infrastructural needs to meet the students’ population in the area.
Madam Elizabeth Naa Kwatsoo Sackey, the Deputy Greater Accra Regional Minister said the programme of the ABCF was in line with the country’s national development agenda in the areas of poverty alleviation and access to education.
She appealed to non-governmental organisations to support the government to improve the education of rural students.