Fighting poverty using efficient and affordable transportation in rural Mozambique

$100,000 | Stage 1: Proof of Concept | Economic Growth and Trade

The problem: Limited access to convenient transportation

Limited access to convenient transportation in countries like Mozambique sustains poverty and impedes economic and community development, as people living in rural areas are left without essential tools for earning a daily income or reaching healthcare and education centers. Women often spend 4-6 hours collecting water and firewood for their families each day, and people walk 1-2 hours to reach small farming plots. Thousands of people die each year from treatable diseases such as malaria, and over 54% of the population continues to live below the poverty line (Source: UN data).

Bicycles are efficient methods of transportation that can make a substantial impact on the economy of impoverished nations. They can carry up to 4x the weight and travel 3-6x as fast as a person walking, and are generally low-cost to repair. However, reaching rural communities with the economic and health benefits of the bicycle remained challenging due to high transport costs, low quality product, rough road conditions and amplified prices in regions further from urban centers.

The solution: A new model for more efficient and affordable bicycles 

DIV Mozambikes

Mozambikes has developed a model to overcome these obstacles. The Mozambikes model makes bicycles and accessories available at affordable prices for people living in impoverished areas by leveraging sales of advertising to corporate and institutional customers. Mozambikes is the first provider seeking to improve the quality of bicycles in the market, make them affordable, provide training and after-market service and build a complete bicycle industry in Mozambique.

With support from DIV, Mozambikes will plan an expansion of its business model to target thousands of new people throughout the country and develop a system to track the development impacts and begin to issue annual social reports.  To develop the monitoring and evaluation initiative, the company will engage professional consultants to create a detailed plan to select indicators and collect data, building the systems by which information will be collected over 15 months for the first report and annually thereafter. The system aims to show the increases in daily income generated by the bicycle programs, as well as new employment opportunities attained, increased school enrollment and clinic visits and statistics on improvements in agricultural effectiveness. The grant will also enable Mozambikes to develop the local capacities to produce a variety of key bicycle technologies, and launch campaigns to improve the safety for cyclists in the country.

Mozambikes’ Co-Founder Lauren Thomas said: “Mozambikes has achieved powerful impacts at the micro-level, by changing individual lives through increased opportunities and daily incomes. With the support from DIV, this impact will be amplified to thousands of people struggling to feed their children each day.”

Mozambikes has currently produced and distributed over 1,200 bicycles throughout the country. Over the next 24 months, Mozambikes will develop internal capacities to scale up this production to reach 25,000 bicycles per year within 5 years. The company will also provide training and develop new channels of employment for internal workers, local producers of bicycle technologies and independent technicians. Additionally, the program will include a safety campaign that goes beyond education to include a partnership with the municipality to design the first phase of a bicycle lane network for the capital city of Maputo.

Potential impacts, cost-effectiveness, and implications


“The grant program has been structured to address the direct issue – putting more bicycles on the road – while following an execution plan that develops local skills, creates new employment and provides long-term benefits," says Lauren. "For instance, Mozambikes will use grant funding to build a network of technicians throughout the country, which will increase after-market service to prolong user benefits while creating employment at the technician level.”

Providing a means of transportation for this sector will increase opportunities for employment and income generating activities as well as improving health conditions, reducing child mortality and social issues. The program is expected to reach well over a million people in five years, through a model that is highly replicable for countries with similar fundamentals.

Learn more

Mozambikes, Limitada was founded in Mozambique in 2010 as a social venture, seeking profits to scale the social impact.  Mozambikes uses bicycles to fight poverty, by offering transportation opportunities to low income Mozambicans who currently lose productive hours walking vast distances.  The company has been featured on CNN, NextBillion, RTP, Elle Magazine and has received a number of recognitions including winner of the Africa Prize by the William James Social Business Plan Competition. For more press information please visit, contact or follow @Mozambikes.



For more stories about DIV's grantees, view the full DIV portfolio of grantees by COUNTRY | SECTOR



Last updated: October 09, 2013

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