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A Bigga Boda - XAccess' Cycle in Kenya

After five months of intense work in communities in Kenya and Brazil we've got a long backlog of stories to share. Now that we've got a short breather we thought we'd post a few. This one from Kenya came up recently when we were asked via our colleague & mentor Stuart Hart, "Have you heard of these XAccess guys?"

Actually, yes we have!

In June the BoP Protocol team headed out to the shores of Lake Victoria in Kisumu, Kenya to visit with the XAccess and KickStart folks who were modifying an innovative bicycle for the local market. XAccess is the non-profit sister of XtraCycle, maker of the world's first Sport Utility Bicycle, and KickStart, the NGO formerly known as ApproTEC, is a long time provider of enterprise enabling technologies to low-income communities. KickStart is helping XAccess to commercialize its bicycle in Kenya as the "Bigga Boda", an upgrade to the existing "Boda Boda" bicycle taxis, so named from their early days on the border of Kenya and Uganda where the taxi riders cries of "Border! Border!" eventually morphed into the "Boda Boda" of today.

Bambucicletas and Other "Cycles" of Innovation

Have people found ways to make bicycles more accesible and useful to solving the world's transportation problems for the poor? Here are few interesting examples we came across:A toy designer and BRINQ advisor talked to us yesterday about his recent trip to volunteer in Nicaragua. He shared a number of observations on children there:

"Kids seemed more interested in clothing than toys, we met a lot of people who were much better dressed than we were but who also happened to sleep on dirt floors. Kids wanted better shoes for playing sports and most never had a pair of tennis shoes in their life. But what every child really seemed to want was a bicycle! However, most couldn't afford them."

If you have spent much time in developing countries, chances are you have seen A LOT of bicycles. I have very vivid memories of crossing through a river of bicycle traffic in Saigon (the trick is to walk slow and steady so they can dodge you) and seeing whole families on a single bike in central Viet Nam. Bicycles are the workhorses of many societies, and it's no wonder that children want the freedom and mobility bikes represent.

So this got us started on the subject of innovation for bicycles in the Base of the Pyramid. Have people found ways to make bicycles more accesible and useful for the world's poor? Here are few examples we came across (and don't forget our previous find of a bicycle that rides on water).

India - Innovation Central

India comes into its own as a hub for innovation as companies and organizations respond to problems with new innovations. The Economic Times and Wired Magazine report on new inventions coming out of India: a water-riding bicyle, electronic sticks for the blind, handwriting emails and more.Different problems require new innovations in India.

The Economic Times of India reports a number of "Bond-like" innovations:

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