July 25, 2002 - Friends of Niger: The Niger AIDS Education Bike Ride

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By Admin1 (admin) on Thursday, August 01, 2002 - 3:28 pm: Edit Post

The Niger AIDS Education Bike Ride

Visit the web site the Friends of Niger are hosting for the 2002 Niger AIDS Education Bike Ride and read and comment on this event organized to raise awareness and to teach people with no formal education about how they can protect themselves from HIV/AIDS. Friends of Niger is one of the partner organizations officially supporting the Ride along with Africare, CARE International and Family Care International. Visit the Site at:

The Niger AIDS Bike Ride*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

The Niger AIDS Bike Ride

The 2002 version of the Niger AIDS Bike Ride will be take place this year between October 27 and November 2. As in previous years, the Bike Ride will be participated in by Niger volunteers as well as by Nigeriens. The 2002 route starts in Tigonous, north of Filingue, and will coninue through Filingue, Baleyara and Hamdallaye. The caravan will cover a distance of approximately 170 kilometers and will pass through Hausa, Tamachek, and Zarma ethnic regions and reach an audience of roughly 8,000 people in 36 villages.

This year's ride will take place from October 27th to November 2nd. A group of approximately thirty volunteer riders and thirty support staff will ride their bikes along the selected route for six days, eating and sleeping in villages along the route. They will be biking 20-40 kilometers and stopping in 3-4 villages each day to give presentations in local languages to men and women about the transmission and prevention of HIV/AIDS. Evening video presentations will be held in those villages in which they spend the night. Throughout the route, they will also be talking about where to find condoms locally and how to use them correctly.

We will also be introducing two pilot programs in an attempt to increase both the effectiveness of relaying our message and the level of collaboration with host country nationals. A team of amateur cyclists from the Nigerien Cyclists Association, all of whom will be trained in basic information, education, and communication techniques, will be joining the volunteers on their bicycles and helping educators and volunteers with their village sessions. The education program itself will also be expanded to include the performance of a professional educational theater group. Entertaining people by recreating scenarios common to village life and in local language have the potential to communicate the message better than any video or oral presentation alone. Seeing the disease explained in a context that they can relate to enables rural audiences to identify with the roles presented and brings them one step closer to changing their behavior. These performances, combined with thorough explanantions, question-and-answer sessions, and film viewings of people living with HIV/AIDS, will result in a comprehensive, engaging, and interactive message.

The ride will include three large evening presentations at public venues in the towns of Filigue, Balleyara, and Hamdallaye. After the final presentation in Hamdallaye, there will be a small celebration dinner for all those who made the ride possible as well as a formal gathering in Niamey to thank our contacts at the U.S. Embassy and the Nigerien government.

The caravan will consist of volunteers on bicycles (30 American, six Nigerien) and four vehicles. The vehicles will carry the educators (4), actors (8), a bike repairman, spare bike parts, food, water, sleeping mats, luggage, educational materials, and medical supplies. There will also be policemen (either on motorcycles or trucks) escorting the caravan from both the front and the rear. When approaching each stopping village, the lead vehicle will drive ahead, forewarning the villagers of our arrival so that they may begin to organize the meeting. The end vehicle will drive with its flashers on, warning drivers of our presence. Vehicles will also have large signs advertising the ride, and riders will wear helmets at all times. Participants who become sick or injured will be transported by vehicle to the next village, and those unable to continue the ride will be transported to Niamey via bush taxi or caravan vehicle, depending on the extent of their injuries.


The tour will include a new route in the Tillaberi Department, starting in Tigonous, north of Filingue, and continuing down to Hamdallaye on the road to Niamey. The ride will have an approximate distance of 170 kilometers and will pass through Hausa, Tamachek, and Zarma ethnic regions and reach an audience of roughly 8,000 people in 36 villages. Prostitution is common along the intended cycling route, so we will be reaching a significant number of high-risk individuals.

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