Jordan suffers from a high unemployment rate, officially at 15%. Those living in remote villages often do not have the transportation necessary to reach employment opportunities.
Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy (AKP) seeks to establish a bike shop in Jordan to function as a community enterprise benefiting many people. The shop will be modeled on three other similar bike shops AKP has established in Africa, two are located in Zambia and one in Botswana.
Not only will the new shop provide steady income and employment for up to eight people, but it will also give others the means to travel further distances for jobs, to get to their livestock, etc. Jordan also has a shortage of schools, especially secondary schools, preventing children from receiving the education they need to build a better future.
With access to bikes, children in smaller villages will be able to travel to bigger towns and attend school. Finally, this project will tie into the Jordan Trail initiative and will strategically enable local and international tourists to bike between villages along the trail.
Project Objective, Aims and Outcomes
These shops employ otherwise jobless and disadvantaged people, training them to be bike mechanics and business managers. In addition to providing highly impactful and long-term benefits to the employees and their families, the shops give their communities access to a simple yet effective alternative mode a transportation. More children are able to make the journey to school and adults are better able to reach employment far away from home. Health care workers are also able to utilize the bicycles to reach patients in remote areas.
A final positive element to the bike shop operation is its mission to give back to the community. After all wages and business expenses are paid, remaining funds are set aside to fund local charitable projects. In the win-win-win structure of this program it’s important to note: many of the donated bikes would otherwise end up in a land fill. There is a recycle / reuse component to the venture from the start.
One of the existing shops created from converted shipping containers
What's Covered in Project Costs
Though the bikes are donated from the US, the initial set up of the shop requires an investment. Start-up expenses include: purchase of a shipping container to transport the bikes which will then be converted into the shop structure itself; shipping of the container to Jordan; customs fees; purchase of tools; re-purposing the shipping container to serve as a bike shop; and an extensive amount of training for the future workers.
Once all of the elements are in place, the shop is designed to be sustainable, paying for the costs of resupplying their stock of bikes with money earned through the sale of bikes, the repair of bikes, and the rental of bikes for tours.
A break down of actual costs associated with establishing a bike shop enterprise include:
- Purchase of shipping container: $3,000
- Crane for use with loading the container: $500
- Transport from origin to destination: $14,000
- Re-purposing the container on site: $2,000
- Purchase of tools: $500
- On-site bike repair and maintenance training (2 months): $5,000
Total Cost: $25,000 USD
Project Partners & Community Involvement
AKP is engaging in the initial stage of establishing a bike shop in partnership with the Jordan Trail organization, Wheels of Change, World Nomads, the Jordan Tourism Board and with industry support from the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA). AKP will take lead in sourcing and shipping the bikes and bike repair and maintenance training.
Jordan Trail will work on the ground in the Wadi Rum region to assess the best location, engage community leaders and determine the best business approach. It is essential to have government and community buy in to ensure the smooth establishment of the shop and its long-term success. The Jordan Tourism Board have committed to securing duty import exemption for the shipping container full of bikes. World Nomads and their community of travelers have committed to funding the bike shop and the staff training. The ATTA have committed to promoting the bike shop and the opportunity for member tour operators to have their guests ride while in Jordan.
How Does the Project Fit Into a Larger Strategy?
AKP is committed to giving back to the places where Abercrombie & Kent guests travel. This bike shop will demonstrate to both the local communities and international travelers that tourism can have a positive impact. It is a starting point for our organization to expand deeper into developing projects in Jordan, and to do so with the right partnership of a local NGO, Government, the travel industry and travelers.