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By Sam Alcorn
LEWISBURG, Pa. – A group of Bucknell University students working on a project to tackle poverty in a war-torn region of Uganda have won a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace grant.
Bicycles Against Poverty (BAP) focuses on supplying bicycles to people in northern Uganda where the primary means of transport is by foot.
“There is a great demand for bicycles in the area,” said Muyambi Muyambi '11, an engineering and economics student from Uganda. “They can be used to bring income to families as well as ease people’s daily lives.”
Among its objectives, BAP seeks to improve accessibility to markets, farms and basic social services.
To launch the project, a group of 10 Bucknell students will travel to Uganda this summer to distribute 100 bicycles and repair tool kits. While in the country, the students will hold community-building activities and workshops to teach bicycle maintenance and repair.
BAP also is a recipient of a $5,000 grant from the Clinton Global Initiative, established by former President Bill Clinton.
To date, BAP has raised more than $22,000 through grants and campus fundraising activities. BAP is holding a fundraising event, Bands and Bikes, on Saturday, April 18, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Hufnagle Park in Lewisburg, featuring performances by Beyond Unison, The Body Electric, the Bison Chips and Earl Pickens as well as a silent bicycle auction, water balloon toss and other games.
Launched in 2007, the Davis Projects for Peace is an initiative for all students at the Davis United World College Scholars Program schools to design grassroots projects for peace that they themselves will implement anywhere in the world during the summer of 2009.
Through a competition on more than 90 campuses, 100 projects have been selected for funding at $10,000 each.
Fourth award at Bucknell
The BAP award is the fourth received by Bucknell students. Earlier grants included work by a student group to educate people about the effects of a pesticide on banana workers in Nicaragua, a sewing cooperative in Guatemala and a project to bring water to a mountain community in El Porvenir, Nicaragua.
The targeted communities, said Muyambi, are selected based on living standards and greatest need.
“Before participating community members are chosen, they will complete a survey which will help BAP identify their economic status and need for a bicycle,” he said.
50 cents a month
The chosen families will be responsible for maintenance of their bicycles and contribute about 50 cents a month to a fund that will enable BAP to purchase additional bikes for more community members.
University students from nearly 100 campuses will collectively receive more than $1 million in funding during the summer of 2009 for projects in all regions of the world.
Designed to encourage and support motivated youth to create and implement their ideas for building peace throughout the world in the 21st century, each of the more than 100 projects to be implemented in summer 2009 will receive $10,000 in funding.
“The competition on nearly 100 campuses was keen and we congratulate the students who proposed the winning projects,” said Phillip Geier, executive director of the Davis scholars program.
A complete list of the participating schools and projects, as well as a summary of the 2008 projects, is available at Davis Projects for Peace.
Contact: Division of Communications