Melbourne, 3 June 2022. Leading life, health and wellbeing insurer AIA Australia has announced a new partnership with World Bicycle Relief Australia, an international not-for-profit that changes the lives of people living in rural communities, by mobilising them with the provision of bicycles.
Through the partnership, members of AIA Australia's health and wellbeing platform AIA Vitality will be able to support rural, low-income communities around the world by donating to World Bicycle Relief, ensuring more students, healthcare workers and business owners are equipped with purpose-built Buffalo Bicycles.
While bicycles are often considered in terms of a healthier and more environmentally-friendly alternative to driving, they also represent the opportunity for a better life for many. In countries such as Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Columbia, bicycles can overcome the challenge of distance which prevents people from attending school, receiving healthcare, delivering goods to markets and accessing other critical services.
In the past 16 years of World Bicycle Relief's programming and Buffalo Bicycle distribution, more than 3.5 million1 women, men, and children in rural communities have benefited from the power of bicycles.
Locally assembled and built for heavy loads on tough roads, the impact of a Buffalo Bicycle is profound. Female students who have received a Buffalo Bicycles are 19% less likely to drop out of school, while absenteeism reduces by 28% and commute times reduce by 33%2.
In Zambia, community health workers on two wheels were able to quadruple the frequency of their visits to patients, while in Kenya, health workers were able to see 88% more patients than had been possible on foot.3
As an extension of the new partnership, AIA Australia is a 2022 Pedal Partner of World Bicycle Relief's global fundraising event: Pedal to Empower. This annual, all-abilities ride mobilises cyclists around the world in celebration of World Bicycle Day, with individuals contributing to the global goal of riding one million kilometres.
Funds raised by participants will ensure more women and girls receive bicycles that will help them overcome the challenge of distance, limiting their ability to access quality education, well-paid employment, quality reproductive healthcare, and property rights.
Di Mason, Development Director of World Bicycle Relief said: "Currently, more than one billion people in rural regions lack access to reliable roads and affordable transportation. This makes it extremely difficult for low-income communities to break the cycle of poverty.
"With the support of AIA Australia, not only can we deliver more bicycles, but we can continue to build a sustainable bicycle ecosystem in the countries where we work. This includes assembling bicycles locally, training mechanics, and ensuring access to parts and maintenance support.
"Thanks to the support of AIA Australia and its Vitality members, we can help more people conquer the challenge of distance and thrive."
Chief Distribution and Propositions Officer at AIA Australia and Chair of World Bicycle Relief Australia, Ben Walsh said, "It's been inspiring to be involved with World Bicycle Relief as a Board Member for three years and I'm excited that our partnership with World Bicycle Relief will allow our AIA Vitality members to support such an important cause.
"Earlier this year, AIA Australia joined AIA Group's pledge to help one billion people lead healthier, longer, better lives. In communities where walking is the primary mode of transport, distance restricts people's ability to receive an education, access healthcare and secure employment. By increasing access to bicycles, we can provide a safe and reliable source of transport that will help people in developing communities to thrive.
"When a group of like-minded people come together, they can create a significant and lasting positive impact. A series of small donations can add up and provide one person with a Buffalo Bicycle, which will then be a catalyst of change in their community."
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