The Bicycle Project
The PCW Bicycle Project was started in mid 1995 through an alliance with the U.S. based not-for-profit organisation Pedals for Progress.(P4P).
P4P is located in New Jersey and was started in 1991 by a former U.S. Peace Corps volunteer. This organisation collects used bicycles from all over the USA and ships them to partner organisations across the globe to distribute or sell in their communities to low income families. In the USA bicycles are collected by groups such as churches, civic organisations, youth groups etc. P4P teaches each group how to set up a bicycle collection, recruit volunteers and process bicycles. P4P helps arrange the logistics of getting these bikes from the place where they are collected to the port where they will be shipped to a foreign country.
Partner Organisations in each country must (1) be legally registered charitable organisations or non-profit groups; (2) secure import tax exemptions from their respective governments and (3)exhibit and show a community development plan detailing how they will distribute the bicycles to lower income people.
The first shipment from P4P to PCW in 1995 comprised 378 bikes as well as spare parts and accessories. Getting the project up and running smoothly was a learning experience; however PCW has been able to sustain it and to date over 1180 bikes have been received from P4P with 418 expected soon (August 2000).It should be noted that the government's import tax exemption could not be sustained after the first shipment and this has impacted on PCW's ability to donate free of cost to truly needy children a greater percentage of the stock.
The upcoming shipment in the fall of 2000 is expected to be the most successful ever from a commercial perspective. New business measures have been put in place, including a computerised inventory and database program to keep track of every aspect of the project.