In mid 2015 the VW Works Council and Terre des Hommes approved to support the project Eurist-SA-Eval-Ubuntu-2015 which was managed and implemented by EURIST, with a total budget of 9.500 € from 1/8/2015 to 31/3/2016. The project was be 100% funded by VW Works Council, Wolfsburg.
As a pilot project 15 bicycles were provided to local sports clubs of Sianquoba/Port Elisabeth to empower the youth in cycling: The project’s idea was to develop a sports cycling culture as basis for personality development and socialization of girls and boys / young people in South Africa.
As a pilot project, the data gathered in this evaluation project shall be the basis for further extending the project idea to other regions and for fundraising in Europe and South Africa.
Despite increasing motorisation in South Africa, non-motorised transport (NMT) modes like cycling still have the potential to play a crucial role in the country’s transport sector and its mobility culture.
Cycling has always been popular in rural and urban Africa and could continue to provide a safe, efficient, healthy and sustainable means of transport.
Increasing motorisation has rendered cycling and also sports cycling unsafe and unattractive. The needs of NMT are routinely omitted from the designs of road improvements and there is a general lack of specialised infrastructure. This has led to a negative image of cycling in the general population. The low quality of existing bicycles and the lack of various types of bicycles, for example sports bicycles, women bicycles etc., and the cost of purchase pose additional problems for the expansion of transport cycling in South Africa.
However, more and more cities are now realising the benefits of NMT and are designing policies, programmes and projects to accommodate cycling needs. Not only does this lead to more sustainable transport, it provides a strong impetus towards improved urban environments and a sustainable mobility culture as a basis for sustainable development both on the societal as well as the individual, personal level.
The Ubuntu project focuses on the personal level of a cycling-inclusive individual life and a cycling inclusive mobility culture. Systematic data in this field of intervention are still few. For this reason the evaluation should contribute to systematic data, especially to motivate other potential partners to support these kind of interventions.
In partnership with BEN (Bicycle Empowerment Network), a non-profit Organization based in Cape Town, and TDH, we piloted the Ubuntu Bicycle Empowerment Programme.
Relying on BEN’s expertise, we distributed bicycles to 15 of our secondary-school students. These beneficiaries then participated in the following activities:
- Training courses offered by a local cycling club, Siyanqoba, that instructed beginners how to ride, in- termediate learners how to improve their technique, and advanced riders to take increasingly chalenging courses
- Training seminars which encompassed safety lessons, basic bicycle mechanics, and cycling techniques.
- An after-school cycling club comprised of 15 students who met once a week to cycle together
- Life-skills courses offered each week, promoting critical thinking, creativity, time-management, self-esteem, and curiosity
- Psychosocial services, in the form of both one-on-one counselling and support groups
Together, these initiatives encouraged children to develop a deep appreciation for an activity that they had little access to before. Individual self-development and team-building exercises strengthened their commit- ment to learning as well as to the progress of their peers. As children advanced to their cycling goals, they be- came more enthusiastic about developing and achieving goals in other aspects of their lives.
Most importantly, they developed healthier behaviors, making them more equipped to take advantage of new learning opportunities.
Project Results (to be filled with quantitative data by EURIST)
- All beneficiaries were able to manage 1 hour trainings on the cycling track of Sianquoba. Further- more they were self-confident enough to cycle on rural roads with traffic and in more hilly areas (in groups).
Hence, 100% of beneficiaries demonstrated Improved cycling knowledge and riding skills.
- Physical fitness level obviously improved as almost all managed to increase the distance over time.
- In addition they developed basic knowledge about bike repair and gained basic mechanical under- standing.
- In a psychological dimension the project created improved team spirit among exceptionary all bene- ficiaries: In case of tiredness, technical defects or lack of motivation or smaller accidents
- In a gender perspective the group members made no difference in getting along with their comrades: Girls and boys worked, cycled and communicated with each other as a genuine team
- Parents stated that their children increasingly took over responsibilities for their own daily life and family issues/tasks
- The responsible supervisors in Sianquoba Cycling Club were fully accepted as authorities and some even appreciated them as role model