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jole rider's Blog

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Posted by on in jole rider's Blog

We've landed in The Gambia! All good so far!

Jo and I are quickly learning the local ways and starting to feel attuned.

The beaches are beautiful and deserted.
The "bath warm" Atlantic Ocean is bliss.
We've taken to swimming after work as a way to cool down and wash off the day's grime. 

And I've fallen in love already... 
with the colours here in Africa, which have inspired our choice of paint for the BikeFactory.
The doors will be Green, the tool boards Blue and the work-stands Red.

I really think we're going to have a vibrant atmosphere here in the BikeFactory next week,
when we start training local Gambians in bike maintenance and repair.

David McKinven

David and Lammin  - jole rider's bike factory 

Me with Lamin at the BikeFactory at Brikama

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Towards the end of this calendar year, jole rider will be setting up a new bike workshop in The Gambia.

The "Bike Factory", in the town of Gunjur, will be a dedicated workshop fitted out with tooling, equipment and storage.

It will be the place where bikes will be refurbished prior to distribution to schools, complementing the work carried on in the UK prior to shipping. 

The Bike Factory will also support the school bike fleets by training local people in bike maintenance and repair.

This will boost the local economy, by providing paid work for the local young people.

Key to the success of the Bike Factory is having a Project Manager for between nine months and a year.

This essential role involves running the workshop on a day to day basis, and leading skills training for the local bike engineers.

You can see a full job description and person specification under Bike Engineer: Africa on our Work With us page.

If you would like to help fund this most valuable and exciting project, through an Investment Bond, please get in touch.   
 

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Vodafone are once again making a World of Difference to jole rider.

Steve Atyeo has been successful in his application to be funded by Vodafone while he works for jole rider, following Tony Oliver who succeeded in 2011.

Working closely with Saidu Gbla, jole rider’s Education Director in The Gambia, Steve will not only help to improve the lives of young people in Africa but also help young people in the UK to understand how their own actions can have a positive impact on other people 1000's of miles away.

Steve will lead primary and secondary schools in The Gambia and the UK in jole rider’s curriculum-centred “Partner Projects” including Gardening, Renewable Energy, Sports, Fitness and Tourism.  Pupils and students work together on these Projects, learning from one another’s approaches, exchanging written and digital work.

Steve will also lead school trips from the UK to The Gambia, and run Teacher Development Workshops  for Gambian teachers at the Learning Development Centre.

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World of Difference on Facebook
Tony's Vodafone blog
Steve's Vodafone blog

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Our Learning Development Centre at Sifoe Senior Secondary School ends this year on two high points.

World Wide Web
Our Centre, headed by jole rider Gambia Director Mr Saidu Gbla, is now connected to the Internet.
jole rider's Gambian and UK partner schools will use this connection to work together on joint curriculum projects.
They will also use it to exchange stories, photos, ideas and much more in the year ahead. 

Institute of Physics Partnership
In December jole rider and the UK's Institute of Physics conducted a series of training workshops for Gambian science teachers.
The Teacher Development workshops were hosted at our Learning Development Centre and Sifoe Senior Secondary School.
The training comprised the first phase of the IOP's Physics for Development programme in The Gambia.
This programme dovetails with the Gambian Education Ministry's objectives to place a much needed focus on science teaching.

The workshops, delivered to more than 30 science teachers from more than 15 schools, were led by:
Laurie Mansfield, IOP International Coordinator 
Steve Atyeo and Saidu Gbla of jole rider and
Jide Johnson, Head of Science at Sifoe Senior Secondary School

The training was reported in the Gambian media
We will have more news on this story in the New Year.

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Posted by on in le jole 2011

In our update on Eddie [Sedgmore] this week we can tell you he came face to face with jole rider's man in The Gambia.
Eddie met Boyo Touray, who was over in the UK for a flying visit.
Boyo runs bikes4Africa for jole rider in The Gambia and has been involved with jole rider since the very beginning. 
Eddie was able to get a full account of life, as it is for a child without a bike in Africa, trying to get to school.
Not that Eddie needed any more inspiration, but he certainly got it - listening to Boyo's real life stories!

On the exercise front, tapering is the practice of reducing an exercise regime in the days or weeks leading up to a big sporting event and is key to ensuring that athletes are rested and rejuvenated.  And so recently, Eddie took some time out from his training regime for LE JOLE 2011 to get involved with a little light work for jole rider.

So thinking of taking it steady - the day before his 69th birthday - Eddie had a day out on the road helping his son Les, a regular team member for jole rider.  After loosening up cycling the short hop from Marshfield to Hullavington, he was out in the “JOLE Van” to collect bikes from Wiltshire recycler, Hills Waste  where the two of them netted 90 bikes4Africa out of the Household Recycling Centres.

Some of these bikes were then swiftly turned around and reloaded in the rig for Les to take into Liverpool Prison's refurbishing workshop the following day. We know that heaving bikes around can be exhausting and after Wednesday we think Eddie prefers cycling. 
Frankly, I think there are times when we do, too!  

Happy Birthday Eddie!

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Eddie with Boyo

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Posted by on in jole rider's Blog

On 06 March 2006 jole rider loaded its first sea container of 303 bikes for school children in The Gambia. 
We had no thought, then, as to what jole rider would be doing 5 years on.

But 5 years on, jole rider has expanded its involvement with bikes, literacy and education. 
This month, jole rider will have delivered more than 8,500 bicycles, enabling thousands of children to access education in Africa.
Children also have chairs to sit on, books to read and, as a result, better life chances for themselves and their families. 

“We cannot believe we have sent 25 containers,” director Helen King explains.
“But we regard this as a reasonable start – and, with enough help, the next 25 shouldn’t take as long!”

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The LDP [in short] is about injecting valuable learning resources into African schools, linking teachers to share pathways to learning and, not least, hitting curriculum targets through real-life studies - in and outside the classroom - with students and teachers on two very different continents.  The Learning Development Project is hugely exciting in its brief, its concept and especially its function - to be a massive boost for education. 

Saidu Gbla heads the Learning Development Centre [LDC], the base for the Project, in Sifoe, The Gambia, West Africa.  Leading the Project at the African end, Saidu works with the many schools in The Gambia involved with the Project.

Recently the UK based team was strengthened.  Steve Atyeo, being an ex-head of Department secondary school teacher, joined the team bringing with him a wealth of experience, together with a passion for teaching and learning development both in the UK and in Africa.  Steve acts as Saidu’s counterpart in the UK and will be working with schools - primary, secondary and special – to coordinate their involvement with the Project and their work with partner schools in Africa.

Also on board are Cristina Bennett and Laurie Mansfield. Cristina is also an experienced secondary school teacher, and acts as global education consultant to the team, whilst Laurie, another ex-head of department teacher, heads an Institute of Physics programme to be delivered at Sifoe in partnership with jole rider.  Laurie will be working closely with Steve, Saidu and Jide Johnson – head of Science at Sifoe Senior Secondary School - developing science teaching in Gambian schools.

Pictured: from rear - Steve, Saidu, Cristina, Jide and Laurie at the LDC in Sifoe

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Poor literacy is almost more damaging than poverty, as the London Evening Standard pointed out recently.
Its effect on lives and job prospects can be devastating.

Being able to read well is crucial to African children. Without good literacy skills, they will struggle in lessons, and even more in exams. Not having books to read badly affects their confidence and self-esteem, as well as education achievement.

Well, the pupils at St John's First School and Blaise Primary School have done something small to help with this big problem. The schools held Story Book Days, and each pupil brought one or two of their own books to school to give to us to give to schools in The Gambia. The children chose books they’d enjoyed reading knowing that the book’s new readers would also like the stories.

At St John’s the pupils added their own artwork on the bookplates they put inside the books.
At Blaise the children wrote messages about why they liked the books.

Thank you, George – for organising Story Book Day at St John’s – and Rebecca and Katie for helping with the event at Blaise.

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Posted by on in le jole 2011

While training for his 2011 mile bike ride, LE JOLE 2011, Eddie has been electrified by an email to jole rider from Duncan Walker, a VSO volunteer based in Basse, The Gambia.

Duncan says: ”Every morning as I ride to work I see a massive migration of children on your bikes going down the Mansajang Highway to school.
Even beyond enabling kids to get to school, the bikes have made a big impact on the town as a whole. The more bikes/parts/skills there are in the town, the cheaper it is to cycle.

“I have seen bikes used to transport pretty much anything you can think of, I've even since people with their whole shop strapped to their panniers.
Bikes seem to be a vital link for people in the villages who want to have access to education, employment or the clinic.”

It’s just this kind of message which spurs on Eddie, and ourselves at jole rider.
Thank you Duncan. Thank you Eddie.

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