“People Still Believe a Bicycle Is for a Poor Person”: Features of “Bicycles for Development” Organizations in Uganda and Perspectives of Practitioners

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 The University of British Columbia
  • 2 York University
  • 3 Mavuno Ministries
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Bicycles have been hailed by the United Nations and nongovernmental organizations for use in social and economic development. However, there is a lacuna of research exploring the value of bicycles for development (BFD) outside of Europe and America. Specifically, there is a lack of research on the structure and perspectives of BFD organizations. This study draws on 19 semistructured interviews with BFD organizations in various regions of Uganda. We found that (a) BFD organizations exist along a spectrum from community-based to international, (b) the meanings ascribed to the bicycle are unstable and context dependent, and (c) that there were a range of ways that bicycles were seen to lead to positive outcomes—although barriers to attaining these outcomes were identified too. The authors conclude by suggesting that while bicycles are considered useful for a range of development purposes, perspectives on their usefulness vary—as inequalities commonly associated with sport for development are evident in the BFD movement too.

Ardizzi and Wilson are with The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Hayhurst is with York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Otte is with the Mavuno Ministries, Tororo, Uganda.

Ardizzi (madison.ardizzi@ubc.ca) is corresponding author.
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