Project #2284

Mobilizing Grassroots Health Workers

by Riders for Health

Our program in Kenya continues to grow.  Recently Riders worked with community-based organizations (CBO) to train their health care workers how to ride their motorbikes safely and with confidence.  In this last training session there were 20 people that participated.  Riders has gotten some great feedback from trainees on their experience at the newly registered training school in Kenya.

Prior to the training, 68% of the 20 attendees had never ridden a motorcycle and three had never even ridden a bicycle. When they were asked what their worries were going into the training, the main concerns noted were accidents and others on the roads who haven’t received proper training.

 After the training, the trainees left feeling “empowered”, “safe” and “confident”. Every attendee said they were either satisfied or very satisfied in terms of their experience, the professionalism of the school and the training they received.  On a scale of one to five,  90% gave a rating of five out of five and the remaining gave four out of five.

 Here are some of the things trainees had to say.

Benard Ochieng' Sigunga, Clinical Community Health Assistant with KEMRI- FACES, said, “The instructors seem to have a good academic and professional background, they are very good at theory and fantastic at technical demonstrations.”

Jacknne O. Hamisi, a Social Worker with KEMRI- FACES, said, “I am very confident, skilled and in control of the motorbike.”

Every donation we receive brings us an important step closer to our vision of a world in which people do not suffer or die simply because the health care they need does not reach them.


With your support Riders for Health has been able to provide transportation to outreach workers from Support Activities in Poverty Eradication and Health (SAIPEH). 

Before partnering, SAIPEH had one motorcycle which was to cover a geographic area of 70 kms.  It was estimated that the motorcycle covered 2,000 km a month.  Their staff had not received formal training in safe riding or preventative maintenance or been provided with protective clothing.  The staff's time was not used efficiently or effectively as many had to rely on public transportation or walking to travel the long distances necessary to reach patients. Other times their work was interrupted due to the motorcycle breaking down.   

SAIPEH recently received 4 motorcycles from Riders for Health as well as the necessary training. Their outreach workers have since put 30,000 kms on these motorcycles and provided over 43,000 people with services.  On average, each rider covers a distance of 200 kns, visits 11 villages, and sees over 340 people each month.

Health workers mobilized in Kenya
Health workers mobilized in Kenya

Recent Impact

Below are a couple examples of the impact Riders has made to our partners in Kenya and what they have managed to achieve with our support.

More households reached -- we have helped Vumilia increase their capacity so that they are now able to offer 8 more programs, with motorcycles easing their transportation issues.  Before Vumilia started working with Riders they were covering 150 households.  They are now reaching 500 households with regular support and care.  "There has been increased area coverage over four locations.  Initially, staff used to cover an estimated 3 miles.  This has all changed since we started working with Riders," reports Rose Moon, Vumilia's founder.

More motivation -- Busia Family Life Education Program noted low motivation among care givers due to fatigue and because, at times, they had to use their own resources for transportation, which resulted in delays in response and some volunteers dropping out.  Feedback from health workers suggests that not only do they see the benefit to their work that a motorcycle can provide, but there is also a boost to their motivation. Pamela Wandera, Community Health Worker said, "I offer my thanks to Riders for Health for providing the motorcycle to enable us to serve the community effectively."

Preparing for the Future

Riders has a new Program Director and Sales and Marketing Officer in Kisumu and also employs a Project Manager and Finance Manager in Nairobi.  All of these people are local, as are staff in all our field programs.  This commitment to using local teams, coupled with the emphasis on ensuring that bikes and 4-wheel vehicles run to their full potential, means Riders is helping provide a sustainable transportation system for health care. 

Riders' staff in Kenya are building our program and establishing new relationships and partnerships.  In many of our other programs we partner with the Ministry of Health to roll out the use of motorcycles by public health officers throughout the country.  We look forward to doing the same in Kenya. 

Vumilia's Rose Moon with program recipients
A carer from Vumilia visiting children.
A carer from Vumilia visiting children.

Dear friends,

Thank you for all your continued support towards Riders for Health and our work in Kenya.

At Riders we hear every day of the amazing difference reliable transport is making in western Kenya amongst some of the poorest communities. And we know we would not be able to achieve without all the amazing support we receive so thank you to all those who have donated to support our work through GlobalGiving. I hope that this report will give you all an idea of the work you are supporting and the difference it is making to the lives of people living in rural Kenya.

The impact of mobility for grass-root organisations Since 2007, Riders has been mobilising carers from Vumilia. Vumilia is a grass-roots women’s self-help group based in the Kabras district, in Western Kenya by providing them with motorcycles and training them to ride them and maintain them to ensure that they run to a zero-breakdown standard. Vumilia is working to overcome HIV/AIDS in their community, through the psychological, social and economic empowerment of women.

Reliable transport makes a huge difference to organisations like Vumilia as it means they can not only reach more people, but also spend longer with them. The mobility and technical knowledge is the vital missing link that is allowing them to reach many more women and children.

The increased number of mobile staff has allowed Vumilia to increase the area coverage of over four locations. Over the last three months they have reached over 1,600 men, women and children from some of the poorest communities of western Kenya with regular care and support. “Since I started riding the motorcycle I manage to reach 10 clients per day, compared to the times when I had to use the boda boda*. Also the bike has helped us to cover long distances. Some of the people live about 20km away from the centre but now I can reach them all,” reported Susy Nambute, home-based carer from Vumilia. The story of Caleb Omomo When Rosemary Mani, one of Vumilia’s outreach carers, first visited 36 year old Caleb Omomo, he was bed-ridden. His wife Beatrice was exhausted from nursing him, working on the family food stand and caring for their one year old baby. Rosemary encouraged Caleb to be tested for HIV and after he was found to be positive, took Beatrice and the baby too. They were both also diagnosed as HIV positive.

Thanks to her motorcycle, Rosemary has been able to visit the family three times a week to support and counsel them to accept their status. Rosemary is also able to monitor the progress of the family and ensure that they do not default on their anti-retroviral treatment.

“When Rosemary visits me I feel encouraged,” said Caleb. “I don’t know how to thank Rosemary for all her help. My weight had gone down to 40kg but now I am 55kg.”

Rosemary is proud that thanks to her motorcycle she is able to reach those in need in her community and make a real difference to their lives.

I hope that you have found this report of interest and feel the impact that your support is having. For more information on Riders and our work, please don’t hesitate to visit or contact me at

With thanks and best wishes,

Astrid Astrid Jenkinson Fundraising Officer Riders for Health

*Boda-bodas are bicycle taxis commonly used in Kenya and other eastern African countries.

Rosemary visiting Beatrice and the baby.
Rosemary visiting Beatrice and the baby.
Simiyu’s legs were painfully swollen
Simiyu’s legs were painfully swollen

Dear friends,

Thank you for all your support towards Riders for Health and our work in Kenya. Riders are thrilled by the way the GlobalGiving donors continue to support our work in Kenya which is making such a difference to communities living in some of the poorest and most remote regions of the Western Province.

At Riders we know that mobilising health workers has a huge impact on their productivity and on the well-being of the communities they are responsible for. Riders is working in Kenya to mobilise carers from grass-roots organisations by training them in safe motorcycle riding and basic preventive maintenance to ensure that the vehicle never breaks down, leaving a health worker stranded and a community unreached. Bungoma Home Based Care and Supprt is one the the grass-roots organisations that Riders have been partnering with.

Bungoma Home Based Care and Support Bungoma Home Based Care and Support (Bungoma) offer home-based care to people living with HIV/AIDS and support and education to orphans and vulnerable children. Before the donation of six Riders motorcycles, Bungoma were covering three districts in the Western Province of Kenya. Now, they are covering all seven districts of the Province.

One of the key areas that reliable transport has allowed Bungoma to develop is the tracing and counselling of men and women who default on their antiretroviral treatment (ARVs). This kind of counselling is very important as once off ARVs, a person living with HIV/AIDS’s health can deteriorate very rapidly, leaving them susceptible to a range of infections and opportunitstic diseases.

The story of Simiyu Simiyu had been on a course of ARVs for a year but ignored the doctor’s ordered and stopped taking them once he started to feel well again. When Dorothy Wafula, a carer from Bungoma, found Simiyu he was hungry, bed-ridden and unable to walk due to his painfully swollen legs and feet. He had given up all hope of recovery.

“I had decided to come and be buried home so that the community may know that HIV/AIDS is bad” said Simiyu.

Dorothy immediately referred Simiyu to hospital where he was treated for a range of conditions including diarrhoea and a severe cough.

Thanks to her motorcycle, Dorothy was able to visit Simiyu three times a week after he was released from hospital to ensure that he continued to recover and that he was thoroughly counselled in the importance of adherence to ARVs. She provided him with immune-system boosters and ensured he was getting the right level of nutrition. Dorothy also delivered the ARVs to Simiyu’s home as he could not walk to hospital to collect them himself. Simiyu has now vowed never to miss a single pill again.

“Were it not for a community health worker who was on a routine visit in the village using their bike, Simiyu would have been dead. He’s now back in the community and on his feet again, taking ARVs,” reported Martin Lukhale, Director of Bungoma.

I hope that you have found this report of interest and feel the impact that your support is having. For more information on Riders and our work, please don’t hesitate to visit or contact me at

With thanks and best wishes,

Astrid Astrid Jenkinson Fundraising Officer Riders for Health

A health worker on the road
A health worker on the road

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Organization Information

Riders for Health

Location: Chicago, IL - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Riders for Health
Project Leader:
Jake Fuchs
Chicago, IL United States

Funded Project!

Thanks to 26 donors like you, a total of $3,688 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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