A partnership between Riders for Health and the FIM that is helping people in rural Africa receive lifesaving health care was nominated for the Spirit of Sport Award which was presented during the 10th annual SportAccord Convention in Quebec, Canada on 24 May 2012.
Riders for Health is the official charity and Associate Member of the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme and MotoGP. The organisation not only grew out of the Grand Prix racing paddock in the 1980s, it continues to receive support from motorcyclists around the world.
Co-founder of Riders for Health, 13-times Grand Prix winner, Randy Mamola said ‘What makes Riders for Health special is that the thing that we all love, and that allowed me to have such a fantastic career, is the same thing that is saving lives in Africa. We are very proud to have been nominated for this award. Without the support of the FIM and the motorcycle community Riders for Health would not exist. This nomination is for all of us.’
The annual Spirit of Sport awards commend the commitment and humanitarian spirit of SportAccord members who have made an exceptional and lasting contribution to using sport as a tool for positive social change.
Riders’ CEO, Andrea Coleman added ‘It is the spirit of sport – the passion, commitment and energy – that enabled us to create Riders for Health. Without that desire to achieve our goal we would not have been able to make the impact we have. We will now maintain this focus to help us meet our goal of reaching 25 million people by 2015.’
FIM President, Vito Ippolito said, ‘The FIM is proud to have Riders for Health as an Associate Member and that we have such a strong and fruitful collaboration. On behalf of the FIM and all the motorcycle community I warmly congratulate Riders for Health for this nomination and for putting motorcycling on the road to help save lives’.
Not only does the motorcycle community support Riders for Health, the machine that binds them all together, the motorcycle, is at the heart of the organisation’s work in Africa.
Riders for Health uses motorcycles, as well as ambulances and other four wheeled vehicles, to help local health workers reach isolated villages in Africa predictably and reliably with health care.
Thanks to Riders for Health’s work an outreach health worker can reach five times more people than on foot or by bicycle. This means that over 30,000 extra people across Africa receive health care services each week thanks to Riders for Health – that is 1.5 million each year.
The key to Riders for Health’s work is their focus on maintenance and training. By employing local technicians and carrying out regular, monthly maintenance on all their vehicles, Riders makes sure they almost never breakdown. This means that health care always reaches the people who need it.
Riders for Health was founded by one of the most popular and exciting racers of the 1980s, Randy Mamola and Andrea and Barry Coleman. Andrea was born into a motorcycle racing family, and not only raced motorcycles herself, but managed a grand prix team. Formerly a journalist, Barry persuaded the Guardian to cover motorcycle racing and reported on the sport for many years.
While raising money in the motorcycle racing paddock in the 1980s, the group were invited to see the impact of that work in Africa. However, on several trips to the continent, they saw motorcycles intended for the delivery of health care that had broken down due to a lack of basic maintenance.
In 1991, with the support of the motorcycle community they established Riders for Health, an organisation focused on managing and maintaining vehicles so that health workers in Africa can reach even the most isolated villages with health care.
The FIM and the motorcycle racing community continue to be at the core of Riders for Health’s support. Riders hold fundraising events before MotoGP races in the UK, USA and Spain, giving fans the chance to see behind the scenes of the sport. They also earn money by providing helmet and leather storage at races and events, and they receive donations from motorcyclists around the world.