Access of Healthcare to the Last Mile
Riders grew out of a humanitarian impulse from within the worldwide motorcycle community.
Where it all started
At first it was a matter of raising money for a good cause because a young American motorcycle racer, Randy Mamola, saw a chance to help. Soon it became clear that there was another kind of work to be done, and Randy and his lifelong friends, Barry and Andrea Coleman, began thinking about how to build a new kind of organisation. Randy worked on building support in the racing community, Andrea concentrated on telling the world about the old need and the new initiative, and Barry began developing large-scale vehicle support systems with the African colleagues who were attracted to the work amongst them Mohale Moshoeshoe, Ali Ceesay, Saaka Dumba, Tsitsi Kahari Gwese, Alfred Gonga and Ngwarati Mashonga
The early successes
Riders built a fleet of 47 bikes in Lesotho managed by Mohale Moshoeshoe that delivered health-care services from 1991 to 1996 without a single breakdown. In Zimbabwe from 1993 to 2006, Mike Gatton, Alfred Gonga, Tsitsi Kahari Gwese and Ngwarati Mashonga managed the first national scale fleet of mixed fleet to include motor vehicles and the coining of the main financial model the cost per kilometre, Transport Resource Management (TRM). And in Nigeria (1999) the first partnership with WHO exclusively on motor vehicles managed by Ngozi Nebuwa. The Gambia (2002) and in 2006 the birth of Transport Asset Management managed by Therese Drammeh for the management of the entire MoH fleet. Kenya (2007), Malawi (2011) and, most recently, Liberia (2015) to respond to the Ebola outbreak partnering USAID/OFDA, WHO, CDC etc
Riders for Health International
In May 2016 Riders announced the closure of its UK fundraising office and stated that Riders programs and operations work in Africa continues. That pronouncement made Riders Africa programs independent organisations in their own right serving in the countries.
In June 2016 Riders Africa programs and International operations teams met in Nairobi and agreed that an organisation be set to continue to advance the Vision and Mission of Riders for Health, this resulted in the birth of Riders for Health International. Amongst other things
- To ensure that everyone knew that the vital work of Riders is continuing in Africa,
- To help sustain the existing programs particularly those severely affected by the closure of the UK office.
- To expand into new program areas and share best practices horned over many years of managing transport in harsh environments, through partnering with Ministries of Health, Bilateral Institutions and other Health focused organization to ensure access to vital health services in remote, and often underserved, communities in sub Saharan Africa utilising over 30 years of experience.
- Encourage African governments to include in their fiscus enough funding for maintenance of vehicles (motor-vehicles and motorcycles), sustainable, value for money and transparent equipment maintenance system
- To find solutions to maintenance of equipment and proper management of vehicles and motorcycles to ensure effective access for health in rural Africa and beyond .
Riders International has an effective replication team formed up of African experts of Riders system with many years of experience replication, capacity and building Riders system in any country or in any project of any size. This makes this tried-and-tested Riders system available to be used anywhere in rural Africa and perhaps beyond.