Developing the Capacities of the Youth to invest in the Manufacture and use of Bamboo Bicycles for Efficient Low Carbon Rural Transportation System and Livelihood Enterprise Development in Achiase Community
Developing the Capacities of the Youth to invest in the Manufacture and use of Bamboo Bicycles for Efficient Low Carbon Rural Transportation System and Livelihood Enterprise Development in Achiase Community
Problem Statement

Global warming, caused by greenhouse gases emitted by the human society, is a challenge that we cannot ignore anymore. The pasts few years have seen a worldwide rise in the awareness of this environmental problem, to such an extent that all communities are now looking into how to reduce CO2 emissions resulting from the use of fossil fuels. Transportation has proved to be one of the major sources of CO2 emissions and we seek to contribute our quota to carbon free transportation by initiating this project that will demonstrate our proven technology that bamboo bicycle can be built in Ghana from local materials to support sustainable transportation as we all contribute to reduce the effects of climate change and global warming.

This project seeks to expand the use of substantially cheaper non-motorized modes of transport to encourage and facilitate a modal shift from motorized transport for relatively short distances that can be covered by cycling to reduce traffic congestion. Bicycles generally represent the best mode of transport for rural Ghanaians however the bicycles currently available to rural Ghanaians are often of poor quality and unsuitable for local needs. Bamboo bicycles could offer a reliable mode of transportation and a potentially sustainable business opportunity for the people of Ghana. Due to its strength and other positive attributes, the bamboo that grows abundantly in the rural areas of Ghana appears to be an appropriate material for building bicycle frames.

Rural communities in Ghana have considerable potential for improving the lives of the rural poor and creating a business opportunity for people living in the rural areas. Virtually all forms of production and commerce rely on efficient transportation infrastructure. However, in many rural communities in Ghana, lack of suitable transportation limits enterprise and access to social services. Few people own cars, trucks, or even motorcycles and what roads there are, are often unmade or in very bad conditions. Lack of access to transportation becomes a significant rate limiter on many facets of human development as recognized by the International Forum for Rural Transport and Development (IFRTD) and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) among others.

To this end, bicycles can fill an extremely important need by providing an affordable form of transportation at a relatively modest cost that substantially improves mobility over walking. Bikes provide a number of benefits including helping reduce transportation time, opening new markets for trade, improving access to social services, including healthcare and education. Providing convenient transportation for farmers to carry goods to markets.

Although ubiquitous, bicycles currently imported to Ghana are very expensive for the ordinary worker the used ones are generally of poor quality, dangerous, costly to maintain and not highly adaptable to the road conditions typical in the country. Designs have not improved in decades and are appropriate only for personal transport on good road conditions.

Most bikes imported to Ghana today are brought in by Eastern traders who dump bicycles and sacrifice its quality. They do not provide customer service, nor do they create jobs or teach skills. They care not about cost to the consumer, but rather their margin and so they permit the retailers to inflate the prices widely.
The Bright Generation Community Foundation through its Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative seeks to address this problem to produce cheaper bamboo bikes that are built for the rough terrain in Ghana made in Ghana for Ghanaians by Ghanaians.


Most rural dwellers in Ghana lack the skills and knowledge necessary to create wealth from the bamboo that grows abundantly in the wild that go unutilized. The initiative will engage these rural dwellers as partners in development and build their capacity to appreciate the value of these natural resources, add value to it to create wealth and employment opportunities from it to reduce poverty in the rural communities as part of our contribution towards the Millennium Development Goals.

The construction of bamboo bikes is much less energy intensive than the production of steel, aluminium or carbon bikes. During the production of a steel frame, about 5 kg CO2 are emitted; an aluminium frame leads to even higher emissions whiles bamboo can be directly recycled, steel and aluminium requires additional energy-inputs for recycling.

Bamboo minimizes CO2 gases and generates up to 35% more oxygen then equivalent stand of trees. Trees that are not cut for the production of bike frames support the sequestration of CO2. The project will support the promotion of a healthy, non-polluting form of alternative transport. The provision of bamboo bikes strengthen the role of non-motorized transport and help to meet growing mobility needs.

The increased cultivation and use of bamboo as an alternative to traditional wood could help the preservation and rehabilitation of Ghana’s dwindling forests. Bamboo bicycles also have a positive impact on the environment in both the early and late stages of production. Bamboo itself has a number of environmentally friendly qualities and a lower negative environmental impact than traditional metal bicycles. Bamboo helps improve air and water quality in areas where it is harvested. Additionally, its root system is constructed in such a way as to reduce soil erosion, a major concern for many farmers. It does not leach many nutrients from the ground, as it pulls silica from the soil.

Bamboo bicycles may be comparable or superior to current bicycles both in terms of quality and suitability for local needs. According to a survey done by KPMG, the annual bicycle market size in Ghana appears to be approximately $11.3 million. However, the total potential annual bicycle market size in rural Ghana appears to be closer to $33.3 million, when including the penetrated portion of the market.
Bikes in Ghana are used for a vast number of applications including transporting people, moving farm products in village fields, carrying large amounts of goods to market, taking the sick to clinics, and providing medical care and distributing medicines. Their use as a means of moving farm products to market is extensive and a significant rate limiter on development. They can overcome a primary barrier to getting farm and other goods to market and encourage commerce.

Current market penetration appears to be approximately 42% leaving a market gap of approximately $19.5 million. The introduction of the bamboo bicycle may help close the existing market gap since the bamboo bicycle may be relatively high quality and better suited to the needs of rural Ghanaians.
A bamboo bicycle has many advantages for a potential customer in Ghana they can be used for personal or cargo transportation, as well as for commercial purposes. A number of different market segments can be targeted by a bamboo bicycle initiative. The main segments are rural commuters, students, teachers, health workers local non-government organizations and government agencies especially those from the three northern regions of Ghana.

Primary Objective

To take advantage of the abundant bamboo grown in Achiase to train the youth to build safe, reliable and multi-purpose bicycles suitable for the high terrain in Ghana using native bamboo and establish a community based social enterprise to produce bamboo bikes.

Specific Objectives
• To transfer technology for 10 rural dwellers in Achiase for the construction/maintenance of bamboo bike and provide skills training and sustainable employment opportunities for these 10 young people.
• Establish a rural based social enterprise for the manufacturing of bamboo bikes.
• Establish a quarter acre bamboo plantation to feed the factory.
• Provide 50 bamboo bike frames for the international export market.
• Provide 50 multi-purpose bamboo bikes for the rural communities.
• Obtained ISO 9000 quality standards certification for our bamboo bikes.


• 10 unemployed youth identified and trained to manufacture and assemble bamboo bikes for both the local and export markets.
• A community based rural enterprise established to manufacture bamboo bicycles.
• A quarter of an acre bamboo plantation established to feed the bamboo bike factory.
• 50 multi-purpose bikes produced for the rural communities.
• 50 bamboo bike frames for the international export market produced.
• ISO 9000 quality standard certification obtained for our bamboo bikes and frames

Description of Project Activities

• Training 10 unemployed youth in the manufacturing and assembling of bamboo bikes-Ten unemployed youth will be trained in the manufacturing and assembling of bamboo bikes. It is foreseen to employ these ten full-time bamboo bike builders/artisans after their training to work for the social enterprise. Our master trainer will build the capacity of the 10 beneficiaries at Achiase in the manufacturing and assembling of bamboo bikes in the first quarter of the project implementation. It will take approximately one month to complete the training and get them certified as bamboo bike builders and another three months of practical’s for them to perfect their production to become experts.

• Setting up a bamboo bike social enterprise-A small scale bamboo bike manufacturing factory will be established at Achiase which shall be use as the center for the training of bamboo bike builders and manufacturing of bamboo bikes. The bamboo bike social enterprise is a labor-intensive but low-energy production site. Hand tools will be used for the majority of the process, but power tools, particularly a drill press, are necessary to maintain precision when mitering bamboo. There are three main steps to constructing a bamboo bicycle. First, the bamboo must be cut to size to increase its strength and resistance to damage. Second, the bamboo is mitered and assembled into a bicycle frame on a jig and bound together with resin and sisal fiber. Finally, after a period for drying, the manufactured components are fitted onto the bamboo frame. Setting up of the bamboo bike social enterprise will be done in the first quarter of the project implementation by the project implementation committee.

• Establishment of Bamboo Plantation-A quarter acre bamboo plantation will be established as a backyard bamboo plantation at Achiase to feed the project. The bamboo plantation will be set up in the second quarter of the project by selected farmers from Achiase.

• Production of multi-purpose bike and frames: 50 fully assembled multipurpose bamboo bikes for the local market and 50 bamboo bike frames for the international market shall be produced over the duration of the project.10 bamboo bikes and frames will be produced monthly for the entire duration of the project by the bamboo bike builders under the supervision of the project coordinator.

• Quality Standards Certification-We shall Obtained ISO 9000 quality standards certification for our bamboo bikes from the Ghana Standards board and other international bodies to help erase any negative perception on the quality of our bamboo bikes which is 5x stronger than steel bikes. This will take place during the 2nd quarter of the project by the Executive Director.
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Project Snapshot

Bright Generation Community Foundation
Area Of Work:
Climate Change Mitigation
Grant Amount:
US$ 30,200.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 19,000.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 20,000.00
Project Number:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Emphasis on Sustainable Livelihoods
A small scale bamboo bike manufacturing factory will be established at Achiase which shall be use as the center for the training of bamboo bike builders and manufacturing of bamboo bikes.
Promoting Public Awareness of Global Environment
Awareness on climate change and biodiversity conservation will be promoted within the community
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Tonnes of CO2 decreased or avoided by energy efficient and renewable energy technologies or applying environmentally sustainable transport practices introduced by SGP Project 1000
Number of local policies informed in climate change focal area 1
Number of national policies informed in climate change focal area 1
Number of CBOs / NGOs participated / involved in SGP project 2
Number of CBOs / NGOs formed or registered through the SGP project 1
Number of women participated / involved in SGP project 20
Number of households who have benefited* from SGP project 50
Number of individuals (gender diaggregated) who have benefited* from SGP project 50

SGP Country office contact

Dr. George Buabin Ortsin
Ms. Lois Sarpong
+233 505740909


UNDP, Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme P.O. Box 1423
Accra, Greater Accra, 233-302
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