At the end of February some of our team members went to Ghana again. For this journey we had a bulging schedule. We planned to experience a lot.
For Maximilian, Jonas, Chris, Jannis, and our photographer Robert (from the magazine WE RIDE LEIPZIG) the journey started in Hamburg. After a stop in Istanbul they landed in the capital of Ghana: Accra. From there they had to ride seven hours by bus to finally arrive at the small Ghanaian village of Yonso; the location of our bamboo bike production and the Yonso Project Model School. We started building the school in 2016 and it is going to be finished by September this year. Of course, one of the most important things on our to-do-list was to see the development of the school building process. Just because of that there was someone else joining the trip: Oliver from the Umweltbank (a German bank that connects finances and ecological goals). They collected a lot of money due to their “Banker on Bike” campaign and later donated part of that money to us. Their generosity supported us a lot in getting closer to reaching our vision. For us, it is totally understandable that Oliver wanted to see the progress and how much the donation helped the Ghanaian children.
Because there is so much we want to tell you about the development of the school, we are going to publish another blog post focusing specifically on that.
The second big plan on our list was to improve the different processes and working routines in Ghana. For us, it is not only important that our employees get fair wages, but also that they can work under pleasant circumstances. We regularly have a look at al processes in Ghana and exchange ideas with the Ghanaian team members to see what can possibly be optimized. We noticed that the working life had developed increasingly.
We are proud to say that meanwhile there are also a lot of women working in the Ghanaian Team. They are known to be important workers in Ghana. Many of them must withstand a double burden of taking care of their children and working at the same time. That´s why they can be seen as modest pioneers of the Ghanaian economy.
Another aspect of our journey was to continue to perfect our bamboo frames. That´s why our new team member Jannis came with us. As a product designer he is the one who takes care of the appearance of the bikes and is responsible for how good they feel while riding them.
Jannis, Jonas and some of the Ghanaian team members discussed some new ideas, designs and renewal options. The aim of that was to prepare the production of the new models as thoroughly as possible. Abdul had an important role in that process. As the quality manager of the Ghanaian team, he is in charge of getting high-quality final results. In addition to that, Abdul is a passionate rider of racing bikes and part of the national team.
One focus of the product development was to adjust the frames to new motor supports. In the summer, our e-bikes are going to be equipped with the new Shimano Steps mid engines E6100, E5000 and E8000. Those motors have been developed to give optimal support while riding. In addition to that, they are lighter than former models. The bike is perfectly equipped, even for steep distances.
The program continued with handing over an award we won in Germany for working on a sustainable project. We are proud about that but certain that this wouldn´t have been possible without Kwabena, the Yonso Project and the whole Ghanaian team. That’s why we were pretty exited to take the award with us and hand it over to them.
Although we had a lot of work to do, we had some time for things that were not on the to-do-list. We spent some great evenings with Kwabena and the team, ate typical Ghanaian food, played football with the team, explored Yonso and again learned a lot about Ghana, its people and its culture.
We had a time that wasn´t only successful but also very instructive. As always, we learned a lot in Ghana and were able to fly home with a lot of motivation to continue working. Stay tuned for the results!