The government of Rwanda is hoping to change the dominance of men in the commercial bike riding sector in the country.
A project to train women to drive electric-powered motorbikes has been launched in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. The first phase of the project, involving one hundred and twenty women, has been completed with a three-month training in motorbike riding and maintenance.
The project, jointly owned by the city authorities and a private company, is aimed at employing poor women who are given the motorbikes for free.
The main trainer of the 120 women is Ornella Uwobasa. Speaking to the BBC, she asserts that the project exists to challenge people’s perception of women and improve the environment. She says they want “to change the mentality” to show that women can do the job. “We want to see women on the roads, and everyone to know that women can work on the road,” she continued.
Presently, there are around 3500 bikes registered in Kigali, almost all of them operated by men. The Kigali municipality hopes to change this with the current project. They also hope it will bring down carbon emissions and reduce the rates of unemployment, particularly among the most vulnerable women. The vice-mayor of Kigali explained, “We focused on vulnerable women like single mothers – divorced and widows – because we want to improve their lives.”