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.

Professional Driver Training Mozambique: radio jingle

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.

Article: Transforming Public Transport: Harnessing Local Collaborations to Combat Gender-Based Violence in Cape Town’s Minibus Taxi Industry

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.

Click below to read the full article.

Article: Reflecting on the changing landscape of Emergency Transport Systems (ETS) in rural Zambia, a year after the conclusion of the MAM at Scale programme

In Zambia, through the MAMaZ Against Malaria (MAM) and MAMaZ Against Malaria at Scale (MAM@Scale) projects, Transaid delivered its largest scale-up ETS intervention to date which has reached nearly one million community members since its inception in 2017. Trained Community Health Volunteers (CHV) were instrumental in the running of a community-based ETS consisting of 70 bicycle ambulances. In an effort to prevent mortality in children under six due to severe malaria, the project sought to tackle the practical barriers and delays in accessing healthcare services at the primary healthcare level.

The MAM@Scale project shows the value of investing in rural mobility. When interventions are implemented in a manner that generates community ownership and are responsive to community needs, the benefits are far-reaching and sustainable. This approach changes the way communities are able to access vital health services and for health care to become people-centred as envisioned in the Sustainable Development Goals. At the very least, it is an incremental step in the right direction towards achieving universal access.

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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.

Safe Taxi Charter – Cape Town

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.