The concept for Africycle was realized after recognizing the need for a quality bicycle in Malawi. After traveling to Malawi and experiencing first-hand how bikes were used, Africycle embarked on a pilot project that delivered 180 bikes to beneficiaries in Malawi. After delivering these bikes, a follow-up on this project saw the positive impact that Africycle’s bikes had on those who received them, and the high demand for such bicycles – specifically in communities in and around Zomba. The relationships and stories from the beneficiaries provided the inspiration to develop an ongoing means of supporting the growing needs of Malawians struggling in poverty.
The vision for Africycle, grew out of a recognition of need and a willingness to do something about it. Experiencing the need for bicycle infrastructure in Malawi, a team of people gathered in 2005 to begin the process of making change. What developed was a pilot project (Malawi Bike Project) that delivered 180 used Canadian bicycles to Malawi via shipping container, to beneficiaries in Malawi. The results from this project were encouraging and truly impactful, compelling those involved to delve deeper into how real change could be achieved. Through a continuing learning process, Africycle was formed as a registered Canadian Charity in 2007 to actively engage Canadians in creating economic and social opportunities for people in Malawi.
The first Africycle shop was planted in Zomba Malawi in July of 2007 and Africycle Malawi became registered as a Charitable Trust in 2010. Africycle has 4 shops spread throughout Malawi as well as a network of Village Bicycle Agents that help provide access to bicycles for rural households and communities. By 2020, over 16,000 bicycles have been shipped to Malawi, where they continue to be reclaimed as tools for change; helping to create economic and social opportunities for people in Malawi!