Building A Hoima-Bike…In Jinja

March 17, 2009

With the successful completion of the Butagaya repair classes, the past week has found me investigating new target groups to take the workshop too along with pursuing a new project: building a better cargo bicycle design for Ugandans, by Ugandans. Over the past few months, I have been in contact with Western Washington University (WWU) industrial design professor Jason Morris. In 2007 Morris traveled to Hoima, Uganda along the western border on the shores of Lake Albert. There he collaborated with several members of the of local boda-boda association. With the input from the association members, Morris designed and fabricated a prototype to meet their needs. He successfully fabricated a prototype and brought it back to Hoima for review by the riders. When I talked with Professor Morris in December, he expressed interest in finding a way to produce the bicycle in Uganda, using Ugandan labor, for sale to the Ugandan market…enter me.

While FABIO lacks the fabrication workshop, there is another successful non-profit in Jinja working in non-motorized development that does have an extensive fabrication workshop. The Bicycle Sponsorship Project Workshop is a well established, long-running organization that has expressed interest in developing Morris’s design. It is my hope to begin producing these cargo bicycles for sale through BSPW and FABIO’s bicycle credit programs. It is high time some better technology is brought to Uganda in the bicycle realm.
While the going is slow, it looks promising. I have been in communication with Jason Morris in the states, as well as members of both the FABIO and BSPW team. It is my hope to be moving towards production of the first bicycle during the month of April. I will be writing grants during the rest of March to help the start up costs and will make sure to update the blog as soon as more concrete information forms. If anyone has any ideas or support, please get in contact with me.
For more reading on this you can check out:
You can also find video’s on You Tube that highlight the process. Search using “hoima bicycle,” and “Jason Morris.”


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