By Grant Potter
Best known for their chocolate Easter eggs, the Cadbury Corporation continues their fundraising drive to build 5,000 bikes a year for children in rural Ghana with The Bicycle Factory. Cadbury urges their consumers to enter the UPC barcode numbers from Cadbury products into their website. Each barcode represents one physical component of a bike called the Nframa, which means “wind” in Ghanaian. One bike is made up of 100 parts, meaning it takes 100 UPC entries to “build” a bike.
Image credit: Cadbury
Bicycles serve as an important means of transportation in the developing world. Cadbury showcases this utility in their advertising campaign in which a girl uses her bike as a delivery van, ambulance, water truck, and school bus. Bikes also do not rely on fossil fuel, and can help transport people and food on bumpy or unpaved roads. The fundraiser is a chance to “give back to the people who have given us so much,” says Cadbury, who “sources most of [their] cocoa from Ghana today”. Since establishing the program in 2009, Cadbury has collected enough barcodes to produce 10,237 bikes.
This program is part of a larger commitment by Cadbury to improve the lives of farmers. In 2008, Cadbury joined with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Ghanaian government, and other partners to create the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership. This partnership, focusing on small-holder farmers, is designed to improve yields of Ghanaian cocoa farmers as well as introduce new forms of rural income, invest in community-led development, and undertake biodiversity and water quality control programs. In 2009 Cadbury furthered its commitment to Ghanaian farmers when it announced its dedication to receiving Fairtrade certification for its cocoa.
What do you think? What are other creative development strategies to alleviate rural poverty? Tell us in the comments section.
Grant Potter is a development associate and executive assistant to the President of Worldwatch.
To read more about initiatives to combat rural poverty see: A Thousand Gardens are Underway in Africa, A Sustainable Calling Plan, What Works: Connecting Producers to Consumers, Small is beautiful. Big is necessary.