Community Transport Models, Agriculture, Economic Growth and Trade and 2 MoreSEE ALL
Community Transport Models, Agriculture, Economic Growth and Trade, Education and HealthSEE LESS
In the world’s remote farmlands, walking is the primary mode of transportation. The World Bank estimates that nearly a billion people lack access to a road that is passable year-round, due to rainy seasons that are both critical to agriculture and dangerous for the very people that rely on those seasonal rains. When rivers swell, reaching school, the doctor, work, or the market can become life-threatening without a bridge to cross. Studies from rural communities throughout the world have demonstrated that safe access to reliable pedestrian transportation infrastructure can have dramatic effects on the ability of residents to meet their own needs, care for their families, earn stable incomes, and build resiliency against unpredictable weather (Rural Access Index: A Key Development Indicator, World Bank, 2006). Recently, the United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS) published a report on how infrastructure supports the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), highlighting its role in connecting populations, interventions, and resources for economic growth - “Networked infrastructure is shown to influence 72% of the 169 SDG targets…This broad array of influences emerges due to the vital role networked infrastructure plays in delivering essential services to communities, working as the life-support to many of societies functions” (Infrastructure: Underpinning Sustainable Development, UNOPS, 2008). In creating significant, long-term disparities in access to education, healthcare, emergency services, and economic opportunity, failing to address the need for physical connection disenables other investments intended to more directly (but singularly) address key development indicators, such as improved teacher training, low-cost fertilizer production, or innovation vaccination delivery methods. Entire communities are unable to reach these resources for months of each year, significantly decreasing the return on these investments and increasing the perception of insecurity for the residents of those communities, a factor that has been shown to directly correlate with a perpetuation of the generational cycle of poverty (UNOPS, 2008). When residents are not certain that they will be able to cross a river to reach markets, schools, or clinics, they are less likely to invest in farming more of their land, prioritizing school attendance for their children, or accessing preventative healthcare. They make decisions based on the risk of being cut off from resources and this perception of risk can cripple potential opportunities to improve key outcomes (Design and Appraisal of Rural Transport Infrastructure: Ensuring Basic Access for Rural Communities, World Bank, 2001). Efforts to resource the cost of rural infrastructure have largely been geographically localized, with district- or municipal-level governments responsible for determining how to prioritize connectivity for their own constituents. The cost of a single footbridge, however, represents a significant portion of a district government’s annual budget, meaning each district is unable to commit to fund more than a few structures each year. Coupled with a lack of technical expertise to design and build safe, lasting and affordable bridge structures, this fact becomes prohibitive to providing critical infrastructure to the rural poor.
Bridges to Prosperity (B2P) works by targeting a key, common driver of many of the factors culminating in rural poverty: isolation. With a single innovation (footbridges), the organization is able to target a root cause of poverty that affects rural households across multiple dimensions. Footbridges are a cost-effective, scalable infrastructure intervention that connects rural communities that face extreme isolation to road networks and urban centers. This connection creates consistent access to critical economic, health, and education opportunities, expands the market of beneficiaries and the efficacy of services for surrounding development interventions, and serves as a demonstrable solution for alleviating poverty.
|Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted||3,000,000|
|New Implemented Countries||Bolivia, Rwanda, Uganda|
|Recruit||Board Members and Management-Level Staff|
|New Feature||We look forward to successfully constructing all 355 footbridges in Rwanda and launching two additional national scale programs in the next five years, connecting millions more people.|