Thursday, May 24, 2012

34 people, 5 days, 305 miles -- Bike Zambia to fight AIDS and poverty in Africa

Next month, 34 people -- including 13 Kiva employees -- will trek 305 miles across Zambia in just five days, entirely on bikes. The project: Bike Zambia. Its mission: to raise money and awareness to combat AIDS and poverty in Africa.

Spearheaded by Kivans, the bike ride will raise $150,000 for these causes. The initiative has already raised 85% of this target and is looking for help to put it over the top.

You can also choose individual cyclists to sponsor. While they're there, they'll be stopping in villages, talking to newspapers, sharing meals with locals and inviting anyone with a bike to join them -- all to build a community of people dedicated to stopping the spread of AIDS and poverty in this part of the world.

Recently, we sat down with JD Bergeron, Kiva's busy director of social performance and Bike Zambia leader, to hear why this project inspires so much passion among cyclists:

In Zambia, more than one in seven adults lives with AIDS. Life expectancy for those diagnosed is 39 years. Opposition to condoms, social stigma and gender inequality have kept HIV levels disturbingly high for over a decade -- contributing to a generation of parentless children. But, there is hope.

HIV testing is becoming more prevalent, young people are eager to learn how to protect themselves, and the country-wide literacy rate is on the rise. Bike Zambia is all about encouraging these positive trends by promoting a supportive community and raising meaningful funds for organizations working toward the same goals.

You can find out much more on Bike Zambia's excellent website. We look forward to following these intrepid cyclists on their journey on Facebook, Twitter and Bike Zambia's blog. Look for more updates from Kiva too! Send any questions about Bike Zambia or how to get involved to