WBR Davos

Davos Challenge: World Leaders Walk for The Power of Bicycles

Qhubeka is World Bicycle Relief’s programme in South Africa. World Bicycle Relief (WBR) provides Qhubeka product development expertise, supply chain logistics, operational and programme design. This week, WBR shared some exciting news on its website:

One of the world’s most influential gatherings of leaders is choosing to step up and step out for the Power of Bicycles.

The Davos Challenge: Walk for Education is a collaboration with the Swiss financial services company, UBS and the World Economic Forum (WEF) at its Annual Meeting 2015 that will highlight the impact of distance on school going children in South Africa.

At the renowned Forum in Davos, Switzerland held January 21-24, industry and political leaders will be challenged to walk the same distance a child walks to school each day in rural South Africa. More than one third of the 2,500 attendees will wear WBR-branded Fitbits to track their miles walked. For each 6km walked, UBS and UBS Optimus Foundation have pledged to donate one bicycle to help children access education. The event aims to fund 2,500 Buffalo Bicycles for students in South Africa, to be delivered by World Bicycle Relief. Progress toward the goal will be shown on big screens at the Congress Center and on the event website.

With top business and NGO leaders, international political leaders and journalists in attendance, the World Economic Forum is a powerful platform to show the difference a bicycle can make. At the Annual Meeting, participants will learn how lack of transportation infrastructure, combined with long distances, results in many South African children not completing their education. For instance, in rural South Africa, Statistics South Africa have revealed many students have to walk 6km or more to school every day. This cuts into their learning time or even stops them from attending school altogether. Providing students with robust bikes built for rugged terrain can reduce their travel times by 75%, boosting attendance and educational achievement. Recipient communities will experience long-lasting impact as bikes help students reach schools, families access food and healthcare, and newly trained field mechanics boost local economies.

F.K. Day, Founder and President of World Bicycle Relief shared:

“World Bicycle Relief is humbled to partner with UBS at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting 2015 in support of this initiative to illustrate distance as a barrier to children’s learning. With a strong commitment to education, UBS understands that a complex problem can sometimes be solved with a simple solution. The generous support of UBS, the UBS Optimus Foundation and engaging initiatives like the The Davos Challenge will make education a reality for many more children.”

Axel Weber, UBS Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Corporate Responsibility Committee affirmed UBS’ commitment to this initiative, saying:

“All children should have access to education and the opportunity to learn. In our view, we have a great responsibility to children, and also a responsibility to our shareholders to ensure that our philanthropic investments are highly impactful. This program reflects our commitment to both these goals.”

With global leaders gathering in Davos to discuss the theme “The New Global Context”, World Bicycle Relief is honored to highlight how access to reliable, robust transportation can dramatically change a student’s educational outcome. In the short term, bicycles will relieve children’s exhaustion from commuting to school and help them attend regularly. In the long term, bicycles will help children complete their education, preparing them for better jobs and reducing likelihood of extreme poverty.

To date, World Bicycle Relief has distributed more than 220,000 bicycles to students, healthcare workers and entrepreneurs, and has trained more than 1,000 field mechanics across Africa, South America and Southeast Asia.

Follow the Davos Challenge: Walk for Education >

Learn more about The Power of Bicycles >

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