Updated May 13, 2021
Agriculture, Economic Growth and Trade, Community Transport Models and 2 MoreSEE ALL
Agriculture, Economic Growth and Trade, Community Transport Models, 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). As COVID-19 continues to spread, its arrival in low-income countries will be hard-felt. Deficient healthcare systems are ill-equipped to handle the burden of a quickly-moving disease, and the fragility of those healthcare systems make prevention efforts all the more important. However, implementing and enforcing social distancing in low-income countries is complex and challenging. The populations in many of these countries are already experiencing extreme poverty, and limited government resources are insufficient to meet the basic needs of constituencies. Stimulus checks and food programs are insufficient, and social distancing policies have profound economic consequences for people who are unable to make a living or feed their families if they stay home (IDInsight, 2020). And in low-income countries where communication channels are limited or not trusted, literacy rates are low, and physical, cultural, and contextual obstacles impede communication, ensuring that accurate information is widely disseminated is challenging, as well. This interferes with efforts to slow virus spread and focuses the impact of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable populations - those already living in poverty (Oxfam, 2020).
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 (trailbridges), the organization is able to target a root cause of poverty that affects rural households across multiple dimensions. Trailbridges 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. Transport connectivity is critical in responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Learnings gathered from outbreaks of highly-contagious diseases, such as Ebola and Lassa Fever, show that access to health resources is key to prevention and treatment (WHO, World Bank). For the world’s last-mile communities, roads and bridges ensure that community health workers can reach residents to share information, teach hygiene and distancing procedures, diagnose infection early, and deliver vaccines when they become available. They also offer a reliable route to a health clinic when emergency care is needed. As the COVID-19 virus has a higher rate of severe, life-threatening complications for vulnerable populations such as those living in the last mile (the malnourished, those with comorbidities, the elderly, etc.), this access can be, in a very literal sense, life-saving. Physical connectivity is also crucial for food security during times of social distancing. Smallholder farmers, such as those living in the last mile, provide the bulk of food consumed in low-income countries (International Fund for Agricultural Development, 2013). Roads and bridges provide access to markets, cooperatives, and storage facilities, all crucial to keeping food systems running. They also ensure that rural residents are able to secure food and other goods for their families, as they do not have the privilege of home delivery. On the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic, transport connectivity will play a vital role in recovery. Roads and bridges are integral to improving the speed at which governments, aid organizations, and NGOs can mobilize to reach rural populations and ensure they have the supplies and resources they need to begin re-engaging in economic and social functions (Transport Research Board, 2013). Physical connectivity to goods and labor markets is also crucial for rural residents trying to rebuild – trailbridges, and the access they provide, are proven to increase farm profits and afford rural residents alternative, off-farm wage-earning opportunities, which means that they earn more, store less crop for personal consumption, and re-invest in their farms, businesses, and communities (Brooks and Donovan, 2017). Also, transportation infrastructure provides connectivity to schools, churches, government facilities, and community centers, ensuring that when they reopen, rural residents will be able to attend, engage, and benefit from the restoration of services, activities, and collaboration.
|Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted||3,000,000|
|New Implemented Countries||Rwanda, Uganda|
|Recruit||Board Members and Management-Level Staff|
|New Feature||As the world copes with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bridges to Prosperity is committed to ensuring that rural communities are included in the distribution of information, resources, and support.|
The Bridges to Prosperity team is composed of diverse perspectives and backgrounds, which each bring to the table a unique skill set and viewpoint. Members of the Executive Team have a broad but deep range of experience, and many of them served with Bridges to Prosperity in a country program before transitioning to a management role. In-country program teams are largely hired locally, and include management, technical, and skilled talent spanning project management, procurement, finance, engineering, construction, fabrication, and masonry work.
EXECUTIVE TEAM INCLUDES WOMEN