In Japan, countless numbers of bicycles are abandoned outside stations and on roadsides each year. While many will be turned into scrap metal and recycled, a percentage that are still deemed functional after a few repairs are being put to effective use as a mode of transport for nurses and midwives in developing countries like Ghana.

In this line of work, reducing the time spent in transit could literally mean the difference between life and death. Taking a look around the Sogakope district of eastern Ghana, it is not uncommon to see citizens riding the same bicycles–complete with baskets attached to their fronts–as used by millions of Japanese, school kids and university students. Although the bicycles used in Sogakope are essentially the same as those that can be found in Japan, one striking difference lies in the surroundings in which they are ridden; unlike the developed world, there are no paved roads, only uneven muddy tracks.

JOICFP (Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning), the non-profit organization responsible for the bicycle donation, is working in collaboration with 12 different local governments in Japan, including the Saitama prefecture and Toshima ward, to repair and send bicycles to developing countries like Ghana. The project first began in 1988 and up until now, the group has donated around 6 million bicycles to 91 countries.

The Ghana branch of the International Planned Parent Federation (IPPF), which operates medical and welfare facilities in the area, received a total of 15 bicycles from JOICFP to help nurses and midwives carry out their jobs more effectively. One volunteer who works for IPPF in Ghana comments:

“In terms of ease of use, durability and functionality, the Japanese bicycles far surpass the African bicycles that we have over here. Such a donation makes a big difference not only to the medical workers but also to the patients waiting treatment.”

Good to know those bicycles are doing some good somewhere!

Source: Niconico News