Assessing the Impact of Bicycles on Caregivers, Their Clients, and Youth-headed Households: A Community Intervention Trial in Rural Zambia

One of the major barriers to improving the health of people living with HIV/AIDS, orphans and vulnerable children, and youth-headed households is their lack of access to health care. Access is particularly problematic in rural areas with poor transportation and communication. In rural Zambia, most individuals travel long distances on foot to access services, help those in need, or collect water. Time spent making long journeys limits other potentially more fruitful activities such as farming, small business development, regular attendance at school, and caring for community members in need.

World Bicycle Relief (WBR) provides bicycles to volunteer caregivers and to youth-headed households throughout Zambia as a way of increasing recipients’ independence and improving their livelihoods. The CGHD conducted an independent, external evaluation to determine whether providing bicycles to volunteer caregivers improves the frequency, duration, and quality of services they provide to home-based clients. A secondary objective was to evaluate the impact of bicycle provision on economic and educational opportunities for youth.

Boston University collected quantitative data in program and control sites at baseline and at endline–six months after World Bicycle Relief delivered bicycles to the intervention site.

The results from this study suggested that bicycles had minimal impact on the frequency, duration, and quality of services caregivers provided. The beneficiaries used bikes extensively, however. The results of this external evaluation are meant to provide World Bicycle Relief, as well as others interested in access issues, a thorough assessment of the impact of bicycles, which should inform future efforts.

Project Details

Principal Investigator Kirk Dearden
Boston University Co-Investigators Candace Miller
Collaborators Reaching HIV/AIDS Affected People with Integrated Development and Support (RAPIDS)
Country(ies) Zambia
Dates of Research 2008–2010