In many parts of the world, and even here in Kenya, “technology” means—rather, still means— using the motor, oil and plastic, yet we know what they do to our fragile health, and environment. From the available evidence, if not pollution, “the motor”, rather than “the wheel”, is a real health risk.
Moreover, when we look at the culture of driving and commuting in our country in particular, we find that it is threatening to replace the indispensable role of physical exercise in human beings. As a result, as many of the urban populace are as physically unfit, making them susceptible to stress, fatigue, and disease—essentially ill health.
But thanks to the efforts of various environmental bodies as well as environment-conscious individuals, there is growing interest in keeping the motor and oil out of the center of human affairs, while still being ‘digital’. That is why it is possible to talk about “alternative” or “green” energy, represented by solar and biodegradable waste.
Neville Mugambi, one of the the team members behind the bike share business venture, pitches at C4DLab their other initiative Sifa Safi’, a not-for-profit organization mobilizing city estate clean-ups.
Now, motivated by the same concerns, a team of University of Nairobi business and technology students is at the final stages of sealing a deal to partner with UN Habitat’s Urban Mobility Unit to make commuting short distances, on no fuel—in our jam-infested cities—a reality.
“ With the skills we have acquired in social innovation, we thought causing change by culture shift from people using cars to people using bicycles to commute on short distances, which is healthy and is in line with the green cities idea of clean energy with less pollution,” reads part of their bike share report.
In fact, “ the driving culture, which was causing people to fast lose interest in exercise, is not cool anymore because of the heavy traffic jams….We want to make biking exciting as well as beneficial for students and the working population,” clarifies the document.
And after conducting a study to determine the feasibility of the project, the students found that their model, which is the “Bike Share” business, will turn on hiring for exercise, for mobility, and charging for participating in their bike events. On the acceptability of each, for example, biking for exercise, the response was rather encouraging.
That is why the owners of the bike share idea embarked on a relentless search for investors and necessary support, upon which the UN Habitat’s Urban Mobility Unit came into the picture. This enterprising team is led by Mugo Guy Namusonge, University of Nairobi Bachelor of Commerce student, Wekesa Zablon, UoN Design graduate, and Neville mugambi, also UoN B.Com student.
It is hoped that part of the money raised from the project will go towards supporting the group’s upcoming food supply app, “Jibonde Fresh”.
About the writer
Moses Omusolo is the Social Media Manager, C4DLab.