The Kenya Country Director was sent to Nigeria, Imo state to train on an HIV/AIDS workshop targeting primary school. He stayed at Owerri town in South East Nigeria. He was amazed by the levels of micro enterprise in the country. One thing that got his attention was the opportunity that young men had to own a motor bike and use them to offer transport service to the community in exchange for money. This allowed them to earn a living.
At the time, Kenya had a similar thing, but people were using bicycles instead of motor bikes. Bicycles are slow and inoperable in muddy areas (causing one to walk anyway). The Country Director dreamed of a day when motor bikes would be cheap enough to purchase so that young entrepreneurs could use them to make a living. He saw this potential in Western Kenya and began to share the ideas with others. Uganda had started a similar enterprise earlier and it was working with some success. Soon, teachers in Western Kenya began to get loans and purchase motor bikes and lease them to the young men who were originally idle. The idea is picking up great momentum throughout the whole region. The price of one bike costs between 80,000ksh to 150,000ksh depending on the brand or type.
Nicholas comes from Western Kenya in Butere District, he is a Primary school graduate. His dad could not afford the secondary education fees which is not free in Kenya. He never gave up and begun offering bicycle transport as a way of earning school fees. Recently, loaning facilities from Teacher Commission Association has enabled teachers to purchase motorbikes, which they lease out daily at a fee of 300ksh (about $4), to young men like Nicholas. The young men are then able to offer transport service and make enough to pay the owners their leasing fee and keep something for themselves. Nicholas for example, does not own the motorcycle but leases on a daily basis. Sometime when the season is good, like when boarding schools are opening or closing, he can make as much as 3000ksh (about $40) a day after paying off the leasing fee to the owner of the bike. On average though, he makes about 900ksh; of which he pays 300ksh rent, buys fuel of about 300ksh and remains with a profit of about 300ksh.
Nicholas enjoys this kind of business because it allows young men who had been idle to earn a living and support their families and it gives teachers extra income also. Each rider must make sure that the owner of the bike is paid his/her 300ksh per bike per day or the teacher may stop leasing to that rider and he would lose his ability to earn a living. The rider is also responsible to return the bike in good condition, so sometimes they experience other costs like repair. Thus, this business has been a school for these young men to learn how to manage business. They must make sure that they save for emergencies, such as when spare parts need to be purchased or repaired.
Nicholas used to work in Bukura Agricultural college as a cleaner on a casual basis with a daily pay of Ksh 150.00. This daily pay was not enough for his family to live. Sometimes they could go months without pay. This forced Nicholas to look for an alternative way to make a living. Nicholas says that he would make more money if he owned his own motorbike and that is his goal. He knows of his friends who have used leased bikes and saved a small amount of funds each day until they could buy their own bike.