As Transaid continues to implement a project to establish a National Helmet Wearing Coalition in Kenya, funded by global road safety philanthropy the FIA Foundation, one thing that has become clear is the complexity of the determining factors linked to motorcycle safety.
The National Helmet Wearing Coalition currently comprises representatives from 17 different organisations including government, civil society, academia, private sector and rider associations. The Coalition has identified the urgent need for stronger enforcement to save lives on Kenya’s roads, and plans to support this objective in a number of ways.
The collective voice that a coalition of organisations and agencies offers is definitely a strength when it comes to instigating positive change, as is the pool of expertise that member organisations from various sectors bring to this particular Coalition. Indeed, there are challenges, not least building relationships and understanding the dynamics between members, but this approach is vital particularly where complex issues such as those influencing motorcycle rider safety are concerned.
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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.
Transaid’s Road Safety work continues in Mozambique, as part of an initiative led by GIZ Employment and Skills for Development in Africa (E4D), by supporting refresher training for heavy goods vehicle drivers within small and medium-size enterprises. This important work employs our proven ‘train the trainer’ model in helping to deliver a sustainable change to driver training standards in Mozambique.
As part of efforts to reach as many potential driver trainees as possible, the project produced radio spots to promote the initiative. These radio spots were publicised in Mozambique during prime time.
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a pervasive issue globally, and Cape Town, South Africa, is no exception. Here, women face numerous challenges as users of public transport.
Safety is a major concern for women using the minibus taxi system in Cape Town. Women are vulnerable to physical and sexual assault, particularly when travelling alone or at night. There have been reports of women being robbed, harassed, and even raped while using minibus taxis.
Another challenge that women face in the minibus taxi system is a lack of access to information and resources. Many women are not aware of their rights as passengers or of the services and support available to them. This can include access to emergency services or helplines or information on how to report incidents of harassment or assault.
All of these factors make it difficult for women to feel safe and secure when using public transport in Cape Town. In response to these challenges, the project “Youth engagement and skills acquisition within Africa’s transport sector: promoting a gender agenda towards transitions into meaningful work” was implemented in Cape Town (2019-2023). This action research project aimed to understand more about the vulnerability of women as both users and employees within the public transport sector, and, implement pilot projects to address these challenges.
The project team employed a multi-pronged approach, engaging female commuters and minibus taxi industry employees through skills development training, awareness campaigns, and the creation of a Safe Taxi Charter. Supported by strong local partnerships, including a gender justice non-governmental organization (NGO), academic and peer researchers, and the private sector, the project sought to foster a gender-sensitive and violence-free environment.
This article explores the impact of these interventions and highlights the potential of locally-led, interdisciplinary collaborations in driving positive change.
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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.
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.
This Safe Taxi Charter was co-created in consultation with the SANTACO Women’s Desk, the Taxi Industry and taxi passengers in Greater Cape Town.
This document was developed in the hopes of promoting a safer and more inclusive transport environment, meeting and setting the standards within the Public Transport Industry.
This is part of a pilot initiative implemented with the Bellville Operators Taxi Association (B.O.T.A.) which aims to set the benchmark of best practice in the Taxi Industry in the Western Cape.
This slide deck was used during the webinar “HVT corridors, and potential solutions to identifying and preventing human trafficking”. The webinar first broadcasted on 28.11.2022 and was the final dissemination event for a research project that investigated the impact on social inclusion of high-volume transport corridors, and potential solutions to identifying and preventing human trafficking.
The aim of this project was to broaden understandings of the relationship between human trafficking and long-distance transport corridors and cross-border posts in sub-Saharan Africa. This research was funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) through the High-Volume Transport (HVT) applied research programme (2017–2023), which is managed by IMC Worldwide Ltd (IMC).
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This training manual is an output of the research project “An Investigation into the Impact on Social Inclusion of High Volume Transport (HVT) Corridors and Potential Solutions to Identifying and Preventing Human Trafficking”.
This training manual outlines a training approach that can be used to:
- Train drivers and related vehicle operators (i.e. conductors and turn-boys) in human trafficking and steps that can be taken to combat it;
- Increase vehicle operators’ awareness of human trafficking, their ability to recognise it and their confidence to respond appropriately.
This manual focuses on Uganda. However, it can easily be adapted for use in other countries.
The research was funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) through the High Volume Transport (HVT) applied research programme (2017–2023), and was implemented by a consortium led by DT Global Emerging Markets UK Ltd and included Transaid, North Star Alliance and Scriptoria.