Journal article: The lived experiences of women workers in Africa’s transport sector: Reflections from Abuja, Cape Town and Tunis

This paper draws on ethnographic research conducted 2019–2022 in three quite diverse city regions – Abuja, Cape Town and Tunis – to understand women’s lived experiences of work in the road transport sector.  The strength of connection between male identity and motor-mobility in Africa is ubiquitous and has rarely been questioned by transport sector actors. Women are still largely absent from the story, constrained at least partly by hegemonic norms of femininity and an ‘affective atmosphere’ that deters female entry. However, there are occasional cases across Africa where women have dared to disrupt this masculinist enterprise, either as employees or entrepreneurs.

This study explores and compares women transport workers’ everyday experiences, drawing principally on in-depth interviews with those in customer-facing roles (taxi and bus drivers, bus conductors). Relevant public sector organisations and major transport employers were also consulted, while focus groups with community groups of men and women explored their attitudes to women employed as transport workers, and with school-girls investigated their career aspirations and views regarding employment in the sector. A final section looks to the future, post-COVID-19. Although new opportunities occasionally emerge for women, they need much more support, not only in terms of skills training, but also through flexible working opportunities, union recognition and action, microfinance and financial management training. This support is essential in order to expand the visibility of women transport workers and thus make the wider transport milieu less overwhelmingly male and more welcoming to women transport users.

Webinar slides: Diversifying Uganda’s Professional Driver Workforce

As part of the BMZ funded Professional Driver Training – Uganda 2 (PDT-U II), Transaid and Safe Way Right Way have sought to improve the gender imbalance within Uganda’s transport industry by bringing more women through professional bus and truck driver training and supporting them into employment.

Women face many obstacles in becoming professional drivers such as the prohibitive cost of training, a licence progression system that favours men, and discriminating work environments.

In this webinar we discussed the approaches taken during the programme, and highlighted the insights and learnings that were gathered.

Click below to download the webinar slides.

Technical Brief: Youth Engagement and Skills Acquisition within Africa’s Transport Sector – promoting a gender agenda towards transitions into meaningful work

Public transport in sub-Saharan Africa provides an essential means for young women to access education and employment opportunities. However, the sector is highly gendered, and results in limiting access to women both as users, and as workers within the sector.

The project “Youth engagement and skills acquisition within Africa’s transport sector: promoting a gender agenda towards transitions into meaningful work”, supported by the Economic and Social Research Council,
commenced in 2019 and sought to broaden our understanding of the challenges faced by women as users of public transport, as well as employees within the public transport sector.

The pilot interventions targeting female users focused on addressing the primary concerns of women as revealed by the research. For female employees within the public transport sector, employment skills training was delivered to facilitate the advancement  within their respective organisations or companies.

Click below to read the full technical brief.

Webinar slides: Public Transport Through a Gender Lens

Transaid hosted a webinar with partners from Durham University on August 11th 2022, to present an overview of the ESRC-funded research project “Youth engagement and skills acquisition within Africa’s transport sector: promoting a gender agenda towards transitions into meaningful work”, that examined the everyday challenges experienced by women in accessing public transport both as users and as employees in Abuja, Cape Town and Tunis.

Many women in these three cities experience daily challenges relating to their personal safety in the access to and use of public transport, which further constrain their opportunities to access education, employment and healthcare. These challenges are further exacerbated by a male dominated transport sector, which limits women’s influence in decision-making, service planning and delivery.

This webinar was an opportunity to share the key learnings from this project, including a more detailed understanding of the challenges faced by women in accessing public transport, and the impact of the pilot activities implemented to respond to some of the findings of the research in each of the three cities.

Speakers included:

  • Sam Clark (Transaid)
  • Gina Porter (Durham University)
  • Emma Murphy (Durham University)
  • Fatima Adamu (Usaman Danfodio University)
  • Shadi Ambrosini (Transaid)

Click below to download the webinar slides.

Evidence brief: Scaling up Safe Motherhood Action Groups in Zambia

The Mobilising Access to Maternal Health Services in Zambia programme (MAMaZ) and its successor programme, MORE MAMaZ, supported the scaling up of the national Safe Motherhood Action Groups (SMAG) initiative between 2010 and 2016. Government efforts to roll SMAG activities out to new areas (horizontal scale-up) and to build institutional ownership, thereby placing the initiative on a sustainable footing (vertical scale-up) were supported. These scaling up experiences are highly relevant in a context where current global health policy gives high priority to accelerated implementation of evidence-based initiatives to ensure the survival of every newborn, mother and child.

This brief sets out to capture the changes that have occurred in communities where Safe Motherhood Action Groups (SMAGs) are operational.

Click below to read the full document.

Evidence brief: Addressing Gender-based Violence through Safe Motherhood Action Groups in Zambia

The term gender-based violence (GBV) includes any form of violence against women. Despite a favourable policy environment with the introduction of the anti-GBV law, GBV statistics in Zambia remain high. Of women aged 15-49 years, 43% have experienced physical violence at some point in their lives, 37% in the previous 12 months. Moreover, 17% of women and girls have experienced sexual violence, and 10% have experienced violence while pregnant (2014 Zambia Demographic and Health Survey).

Continuing the work of a predecessor programme, MAMaZ (2010-2013), which was funded by UK aid from the UK government, the Comic Relief-funded MORE MAMaZ programme (2014-2016) took steps to integrate a focus on GBV into the training of Safe Motherhood Action Group (SMAG) volunteers.

The MORE MAMaZ GBV interventions resulted in transformative change for women. Intervention communities reported a very significant reduction in GBV. Some communities perceived that GBV had been eliminated, with these changes attributed to the work of the SMAG volunteers.

Click below to read the full document.

Literature Review: An Investigation into the Impact on Social Inclusion of High Volume Transport Corridors and Potential Solutions to Identifying and Preventing Human Trafficking

This report presents a literature review and annotated bibliography undertaken as part of the research project: An Investigation into the Impact on Social Inclusion of High Volume Traffic (HVT) Corridors, and Potential Solutions to Identifying and Preventing Human Trafficking. The literature review followed the core principles of a systematic literature review process. The review found that very little is known about the relationship between Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and HVT corridors, other major trade routes and border crossings along these routes. It also found that the role of transport sector operators within the human trafficking process is not well understood. This validates the choice of research topic and confirms the need to strengthen the evidence base on these issues.

Click below to download the report.

Evidence Brief: Importance of gender empowerment to reducing malaria mortality in Zambia

Gender equality and women’s empowerment are key to achieving universal health coverage. They are also important in their own right as a means to achieve sustainable development. Building on a successful gender mainstreaming approach used in three earlier projects, MAM@Scale integrated a focus on gender into the design of a severe malaria intervention in Zambia. Community health volunteers (CHVs) were trained to administer quality assured 100 mg rectal artesunate to children with severe malaria danger signs at community level and to refer patients to the health facility for further treatment. The project’s gender strategy aimed to address the wide range of social norms and gender stereotypes that prevented rural households from responding promptly to severe malaria and other child health emergencies.

Click below to read the full brief.

MAM@Scale COVID-19 Response: Gender Based Violence Poster

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, many have faced unprecedented challenges around the world. Like many organisations, Transaid has been adapting and finding new ways of working, and making sure that all staff, consultants and volunteers are protected and safe. Consequently, Transaid has been working to introduce new protocols and ways of working for our colleagues in the field.

As part of this, Transaid have been focusing on awareness raising, establishing hand washing stations and topping up the community food banks as part of the preparedness planning in the MAM@Scale intervention sites in Zambia. This also included the development of materials aimed at supporting awareness raising activities, and to ensure that the people on the frontline of project operations, as well as the people they are supporting, are safe and protected at all times.

The stresses and strains of the pandemic have led to an increase of Gender Based Violence (GBV) reported in communities. MAM@Scale COVID-19 Response has therefore begun to incorporate a GBV campaign in its activities.

Click below to view the Gender Based Violence Poster in English and Bemba.

Study on Gender Empowerment Outcomes in MAM@Scale Intervention Sites

This report is a study on empowerment outcomes undertaken on behalf of the MAMaZ Against Malaria At Scale project (MAM@Scale). The study looked at the extent to which women and girls in the project’s intervention sites had transitioned from a situation where they had limited power to one where they could challenge power inequalities and access new opportunities for development.

The study was undertaken in December 2019. This was an internally commissioned study, designed and led by a MAM@Scale Senior Technical Adviser who worked alongside the project’s technical team in the project’s two core intervention districts: Chitambo and Serenje in Central Province.

In the project intervention sites a number of gender empowerment-related gains were evident. The extent of change varied depending on the length of time trained CHVs and ETS riders had been active in the community.

The seven ‘gender-smart’ strategies that comprise MAM@Scale’s gender empowerment approach were integral to driving the empowerment gains achieved by the project. There are lessons here for other interventions wishing to achieve empowerment-related outcomes that extend beyond health.

Please click below to read the full report.