Bernice Dapaah is the Executive Director of the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative. Under her leadership, the initiative developed from a project idea to an award-winning social enterprise that has won several international awards, including the 2013 UNFCCC Momentum For Change Light House Activity Award (Women For Results Category), World Business and Development Award 2012, UN Habitat/Dubai International Best Practice Award 2012, Samsung/Generations For Peace Impact Award 2012, GIZ Impact Business Award 2011, and UNEP SEED Initiative Award 2010. In 2013, Dapaah was named a Vital Voices Lead Fellow and won the 2013 International Women Alliance World of Difference Award. She sits on the advisory board of the World Intellectual Property Organization GREEN in Switzerland. Dapaah is a graduate of the Christian Service University in Ghana.
Bamboo bicycles become a low-impact source of wealth: Ghana bamboo bikes initiative is a social enterprise that has put sustainability at its heart.
Ghana relies on bamboo bikes to revive its economy and promote the use of eco-friendly means of transport. Ghana bamboo bikes initiative is a social enterprise that cares about four important issues: climate change, poverty, migration from rural areas to cities and the high unemployment rate among young people in rural Ghana.
This NGO managed to hire and train women and young people (25 bike builders and 10 farmers), some of whom are disabled. The profit allows the buciness to donate some bikes to the local community and in particular to children and teenagers who usually have to walk many kilometres to go to school.
Bamboo bicycles, why are they so eco-friendly
Bernice Dapaah, founder of Ghana bamboo bikes initiative, made bikes even greener: bamboo grows rapidly, so opting for it instead of using wood is a way to avoid deforestation and reduce the environmental impact of this initiative. The company has available a land where to grow bamboo. The parts of the bicycle can be easily recycled and for every plant used to build bikes, ten new plants will be planted
They have a lower environmental impact also because less electricity is used during their production process compared to traditional bikes: “a bamboo bicycle helps reduce carbon emissions by up to 70%” the company’s website reads. Bamboo bikes can also be customised with writings and logos on the frame.
The international success of bamboo bicycles
For their success, bamboo bikes are sold all over the world (and the Ghanese company will collaborate in an Italian project), and the social enterprise that invented them set an example for other African countries. “At the initial stages – Bernice Dapaah said – it was a bit difficult because the prototype wasn’t successful. But later we kept trying, in business there is always a risk. But with perseverance we can go far”.