PROF, AST -
Homelessness and its associated health and social issues continues to be a persistent public health issue globally. In South Africa specifically, it is estimated that there are 200,000 homeless individuals (Rule-Groenewald, 2015) and 2 million individuals living in sub-standard unsafe housing, known as townships (Statistics South Africa, 2016). Reliable transportation is one of the greatest needs of these individuals that is not being met. Transportation is key to accessing basic goods, employment, and healthcare. Bicycles are a reliable, low-cost solution. Anecdotal evidence suggests that access to a bike has greater impacts on the individual than just access to transportation. I’m currently conducting qualitative interviews with local homeless men that have graduated from an earn-a-bike program through the project, “Effects of Earn-a-Bike Among Homeless Men”. Preliminary analysis of these interviews reveals graduates have experienced strengthened relationships with family, gained affordable reliable transportation to work, and have increased confidence and self-esteem. The purpose of this study is to examine how ownership of a bike and learning basic maintenance skills as well as safe and productive riding impact the homeless, township residents, and disadvantaged peoples’ (1) physical health, (2) access to health care, (3) self-esteem, (4) social capital, and (5) employment status. An additional purpose of this study is to identify best practices of earn-a-bike type programs that produce sustainable benefits. Quantitative surveys will be developed to analyze the variables of interest before and after earning a bike. Additionally, Qualitative interviews will be conducted to identify best practices associated with positive sustainable outcomes of earn-a-bike type programs. Non-profit agencies that deliver earn-a-bike programming will be asked to participate in interviews and help identify participants who have earned a bike through their agency, specifically, Bicycle Empowerment Network and Qhubeka. Quantitative and Qualitative data will be analyzed to determine significant effects and themes. Bicycles are an affordable, reliable mode of transportation that may be both a solution that allows an individual to access employment, healthcare, and basic goods as well as increasing self-esteem and social capital.
Cape Town, South Africa
Feb 20, 2018
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