The Social Innovation of Pedal Power in Uganda Brings Ape Films to Life

Dec 20, 2011 12:38 PM ET
Campaign: CSR Blogs

Posted by Sangeeta Haindl

This is a story about social innovation and the Great Apes Film Initiative, an organisation that aims to bring conservation education to communities located on the edge of the Mgahinga national park, Uganda, by showing films about the primates. The screenings are effective in teaching people about the plight of the gorillas and their natural habitat. For many locals, this would be the first time that they would have seen the images of the gorillas, even though they live right next to the national park set up to protect the great apes.

However, this charity has been a victim of its own successtoo many people would turn up for a showing and would have to be turned away due to overcrowding, including children who had walked more than 20 miles. Madeleine Westwood, director and founder of the charity, realised the project needed an affordable, sustainable and eco-friendly way of bringing the films to life. So, her organisation partnered with Electric Pedals to find a social innovation solution to create the world's first a pedal-powered field cinema. The technology is simple. The back wheel of a stationary bike is fed into a generator, which powers the projector and sound system.

Madeline Westwood, says, "So many of the children and their teachers have never seen a film before, and to add to this novelty we also have a bicycle that generated the power to show the film...

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Sangeeta Haindl is a staff writer for Justmeans on Social Enterprise. When not writing for Justmeans, Sangeeta wears her other hat as a PR professional. Over the years, she has worked with high-profile organizations within the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors; and won awards from her industry. She now runs her own UK consultancy: Serendipity PR & Media.