EERN Church Outreach to New Areas: Rickshaw Taxis
Niger is ranked by the UN as one of the least developed countries in the world, and Christians make up only about 1% of its population. Yet, the activities of the Evangelical Church of the Republic of Niger (EERN) are well-respected in their communities. They have been able to establish 48 churches with 72 evangelism posts in six out of eight regions of the country. But the church yearns to reach other regions where a Christian witness is crucial. The EERN seeks to expand into more locations with a project that will generate ongoing income to buy property in these places, provide for evangelists with things like community engaging business opportunities, and fund short-term campaigns to launch evangelists in new areas.
The EERN would like to start a motorized rickshaw taxi business to accomplish these goals. Rickshaw taxis have recently become popular in Maradi, one of the main cities of Niger, as they provide a more comfortable and socially acceptable ride for women than motorcycle taxis. Rickshaw owners make a steady income as rickshaws are starting to dominate the market. The EERN plans to buy five rickshaw taxis. Drivers with good character will be selected by local pastors from among young adults in their congregations. Each driver will pay the EERN a portion of their fare revenue daily, and the EERN should net approximately $6,300 per year. The EERN believes this project will be successful because of the growing popularity of rickshaws and the lack of Christian taxi drivers, which should encourage the Christian community to support these rickshaws for their transportation needs. A portion of the net income will be invested back into the business with plans to expand rickshaws into cities where the market is untapped.
In the first three years of the project the EERN will buy properties in and send evangelists to the regional capitals of Agadez and Tillabery where there are few established churches. Other strategic cities will be selected in subsequent years. The EERN also hopes to be able to make better provision for pastors and evangelists to carry out their work and take care of their families. Within the first three years the EERN will begin giving loans to those who demonstrate viable business plans that will enhance their outreach efforts. The EERN will also begin offering assistance to pastor’s and evangelist’s families who have special needs.
Minimum Goal for 2016