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CTS Webinar: Bicycles as a Social and Community Development Strategy—An International Perspective 

Wednesday, March 27, 2024, 12:00–1:00 pm

About the Webinar

When we think of bicycles, we often associate them with transportation, exercise, and environmental sustainability. Yet, bicycles hold much more promise and potential beyond these common benefits, particularly when they are used to address pressing social issues in rural communities around the world. In fact, the United Nations (UN) and hundreds of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have turned increased attention to the power of bicycles to achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

Globally, thousands of stakeholders in the "bicycles-for-development" social movement are distributing bicycles to marginalized populations and providing workshops to respond to pressing social issues. The bicycles-for-development movement is made up of NGOs, corporations, governments, international organizations, and communities promoting and using the bicycle to achieve community, domestic, and international development goals. In this presentation, Mitchell McSweeney and Janet Otte discussed the opportunities, challenges, and unintended consequences that bicycles-for-development may hold for rural communities in Northern Uganda—and how bicycles and their transformative potential might be used in other rural contexts in the US and beyond.

This event was held as a part of CTS's Rural Needs, Statewide Answers: Improving Transportation for All thematic focus in 2024.

Watch the recording


Mitch McSweeney
Mitchell McSweeney

Mitchell McSweeney, PhD, is an assistant professor of sport management in the School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota. He conducts research into the use of sport and physical activity to contribute to development aims such as economic empowerment, social inclusion, and gender inequality. He has also worked with colleagues for the last seven years investigating the use of the bicycle to address social issues in Canada, Uganda, and Nicaragua. He often uses an interdisciplinary approach, participatory action research, and visual and digital methods to collaborate with organizations and communities.

Janet Otte
Janet Otte

Janet Otte is a Ugandan with over 10 years of experience managing development projects on refugees, women’s rights, and clinical research in communities within Uganda. She has also played a critical role in ensuring compliance to all the regulatory and ethical issues of bicycles-for-development digital participatory research among rural communities in Uganda. Additionally, Otte seeks to explore the intersections between sports and the social and cultural factors affecting gender relations and community health in sub-Saharan Africa. She has an MSc in development and security from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom.

More Information

Please contact Kyle Shelton, CTS director, at