Meet Nelima, the PDT-U graduate paving the way for female drivers

Nelima Muyobo is one of the female drivers challenging the assumption that truck driving is a male profession. Earlier this year when Nelima expressed an interest in learning how to drive trucks, she faced a setback because she could only drive automatic cars. However, this did not hold her back and she remained determined to pursue her long-held dream. She went back to a driving school to learn how to drive manual vehicles and returned to the Safe Way Right Way Driver Training Centre in Mukono ready to take on the challenge.

Nelima went on to complete her four-week Heavy Goods Vehicle driving course and currently holds a CM driving licence. She hopes to drive trucks through East Africa and beyond. Speaking about her experience at the training centre Nelima said: “When I first came to the school, I was a little scared and did not know what to expect, but the team was very supportive, the instructors were very professional and patient with me, and this filled me with confidence. I had been driving for a long time but when I enrolled, I realised that I still had so much to learn to be a better driver. I strongly recommend that every driver goes through this training.”

The 36-year-old mother of two encourages more women to take on this opportunity: “There is still a thinking in Uganda that truck driving is for men only, but having done it myself I don’t see what should stop fellow women. I would encourage women who have this passion to use this opportunity and increase their chances of employment.”

The driver training is based on the standardised East African Community (EAC) Curriculum for drivers of large commercial vehicles and is conducted by experienced trainers who are deemed to be some of the best in the region. To maintain the quality of training, the trainers also undergo regular remedial training delivered by experts in field seconded from the UK by Transaid. The training is currently free for women and men get a 50% discount.

The Professional Driver Training – Uganda project is an initiative implemented by Transaid and Safe Way Right Way (SWRW) aimed at improving road safety through professional driver training for Heavy Goods Vehicles and soon Passenger Service Vehicles. The PDT-U project was set up with support from GIZ E4D/SOGA, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation, the UK Department for International Development, and the Norwegian Agency for Development.