Submitted by: Bicycling Magazine
Categories: Human Rights
Posted: Nov 29, 2005 – 11:00 PM EST
Bicycling magazine Editor-In-Chief Steve Madden and Publisher Chris Lambiase announced today that the magazine will partner with the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation and the Kona Bicycle Company to expand internationally its acclaimed BikeTown program to the African nation of Botswana in Spring 2006.
The program, BikeTown Africa, is designed to provide 200 specially-designed bikes to health care workers who treat HIV and AIDS patients and need help in the delivery of home health aids and services in two Botswana cities, Bobonong and the capital city of Gaborone, beginning in late March 2006.
BikeTown Africa will be operated in conjunction with two initiatives of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation's SECURE THE FUTURE program, an unprecedented $150 million corporate commitment to fighting HIV and AIDS in Africa. SECURE THE FUTURE has established a number of HIV and AIDS treatment programs throughout sub-Saharan Africa, including Botswana, where the HIV rate among citizens is 38%.
Kona Bikes has generously agreed to specially design, construct and donate the 200 bikes to be utilized for BikeTown Africa, bikes that will be specifically tailored to best suit local conditions while also requiring a minimum of maintenance. Spare parts and the training of local individuals on the repair and service of the bikes will ensure the bikes are fully utilized.
"Since we created BikeTown three years ago, we've seen hundreds of lives markedly and positively changed through the simple gift of a bicycle," said Madden, who created the program for Bicycling in Portland, Maine in 2003; the program since then has given away more than 1,300 bikes in 26 U.S. cities in an effort to chronicle the impact a new bike can have on the physical and emotional well-being of individuals, as well as their families and communities.
"BikeTown Africa is an opportunity for bikes to do more than just change lives. In this case, bikes can help save lives. So we're grateful for the very generous support of Kona Bikes, which has enthusiastically supported this effort from the outset, and especially thankful for the vision and partnership of Bristol-Myers Squibb, which through its longtime sponsorship of the Tour of Hope, as well as its life-saving bond with Lance Armstrong, has long understood the redemptive powers of a bicycle."
"Bristol-Myers Squibb's SECURE THE FUTURE programs have included the training of home health care workers to bring life sustaining programs into rural communities." said John Damonti, president of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. "One of the greatest challenges in sub-Saharan Africa is reaching those afflicted with HIV/AIDS and living in extremely remote locations with no means of transportation. The gift of a bicycle to a home health care worker and counselor will profoundly impact the lives in these remote villages, and increase the number of people who will have access to these vital support services."
Beginning in late March, BikeTown Africa will distribute 100 of the Kona bikes to home health care workers in rural Bobonong, where SECURE THE FUTURE has established one of its six African community-based treatment support programs at Bobonong Primary Hospital. The Bobonong program provides medical treatment combined with care and support beyond the clinics, including home-based care, psychosocial counseling, food security, orphan care, and income-generating projects.
The other 100 bikes will be given to counselors with the Botswana Christian AIDS Intervention Programme (BOCAIP) in Gaborone, a SECURE THE FUTURE grant recipient that works to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS through integrated counseling strategies encompassing pre and post test counseling, home visitations and trauma counseling.
"We are honored and humbled to develop a bicycle that will address these unique conditions and important demands," said Dan Gerhard, President of the Kona Bicycle Company. "BikeTown Africa is an example of what we, as an industry, should be doing.
"It might be too strong to say that the bicycle can save the world, but we believe it can and should play an integral part in the fundamental improvement of society."
As the industry leader, Rodale's Bicycling (www.bicycling.com) is the voice of cycling, providing the stories on the personalities, trends, and techniques behind the sport. Appealing to readers of every ability and interest level, the magazine features expert reviews of the latest equipment as well as training and fitness tips. Published
11 times a year, Bicycling is the magazine for the athlete for whom the bicycle is the centerpiece of an active lifestyle.
About the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation and SECURE THE FUTURE:
In 1999, Bristol-Myers Squibb and its Foundation launched SECURE THE FUTURE (www.securethefuture.com) to help alleviate the HIV/AIDS crisis among women and children in sub-Saharan Africa. Over the years, the program has funded more than 200 grants totaling $150 million to provide medical care and research, infrastructure- and capacity-building and community outreach and education in ten hard-hit countries in southern and West Africa. Through SECURE THE FUTURE, Ministries of Health, medical institutions, health care professionals, non-governmental, community-based and faith-based organizations have worked together to build sustainable models to address medical, educational and community outreach needs in southern and West Africa.
In addition to the Children's Clinical Centers of Excellence, other programs developed and operated through grants include: a Community-Based Treatment Support Program for sustainable care, with sites in South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia and Mali; and the BMS Foundation NGO Training Institute focusing on capacity-building in five southern African nations.
Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) is a global pharmaceutical and related health care products company whose mission is to extend and enhance human life
About the Kona Bicycle Company:
The Kona Bicycle Company designs, manufacturers and distributes more than 60 models of purpose-built, high-performance mountain, road and urban bicycles. Founded in 1987 and headquartered in Ferndale, Washington, USA, Kona bicycles are distributed worldwide in more than 60 countries through independent specialty bicycle dealers and networks.
Kona funds several professional mountain and cyclo-cross racing teams that include world cup champions, world champions and national champions such as Roland Green, Fabien Barel, Tracy Moseley, and Ann Knapp For more information, visit www.konaworld.com
Copyright Business Wire 2005