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The Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative addresses
climate change, poverty, rural-urban migration and youth unemployment by creating jobs for young
people, especially women, through the building of high quality bamboo bicycles. Compared to the
production of traditional metal bicycles, bamboo bikes require less electricity and no hazardous
chemicals. Not only are the bikes light and stable, they can handle rough terrain and can carry
large farm loads and passengers. The initiative has support from the GEF Small Grants
Programme (GEF SGP), implemented by the United Nations Development Programme.
- 30 jobs created (20 bike assemblers and 10 farmers);
- Bamboo trees that are not cut to produce bike frames help sequester carbon dioxide;
- Growing bamboo helps prevent soil erosion and improves water and air quality.
Although Ghana is rich in physical, cultural and intellectual resources, it is also a country with
traffic congestion, environmental degradation, a stark urban-rural divide, low-employment and
The Bamboo Bikes activity was started by, and continues to be led by, a young female entrepreneur.
It promotes sustainable development, boosts trade, creates employment opportunities for women and
addresses a number of United Nations Millennium
Development Goals in the process.
Riding towards sustainable development
The increased cultivation and use of bamboo as an alternative to wood helps preserve and
rehabilitate Ghana’s dwindling forests.
Bamboo improves air and water quality in areas where it is harvested. Additionally, its root system reduces
soil erosion, which is a major concern for many farmers. The construction of bamboo bikes is much less
energy intensive than production of steel bikes; producing a steel bicycle frame emits about 5 kg of
The activity, propelled by women’s leadership, is improving the lives of many rural Ghanaians, women
in particular, not only by delivering a sustainable and affordable form of transportation that satisfies
local needs, but also by creating employment opportunities and stimulating economic growth.
The woman-led Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative trains people, especially women, with little or no education in
the manufacturing and assembling of bamboo bikes. Producing stable, cheaper and reliable bikes in Ghana is
helping the country reduce its dependence on fossil fuels while increasing economic opportunities for rural
Ghanaians. The activity has created 30 jobs (10 jobs for farmers and 20 jobs for bamboo bike assemblers).
Building capacity and creating employment opportunities is reducing poverty in Ghana’s rural
Images owned by the activity partners, all rights reserved.
Bamboo bike making technology has been transferred to two other communities, employing 25
rural women who sell the frames to the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative’s supply chain.
The Initiative is talking to investors and potential funders to scale up the project, both
in size and impact. Organizers aim to build bikes – in Ghana, by Ghanaians, for Ghana
– in the thousands.
Each artisan, after their training, will be equipped to employ at least five or six people,
and to set up their own small-scale production base in any part of the country. As part of
its scaling-up strategy, the Initiative plans to establish a bamboo plantation to support