Male Ally Training
Empowering Male Allies for Boda Girls’ Success
When Tiba talks about Boda Girls – a group of women trained as motorcycle taxi (called bodas) owners providing vital services such as free hospital transport, menstrual health education, and support for women’s education and entrepreneurship – we often encounter a common question: How do male motorcycle taxi drivers respond to the presence of Boda Girls in an industry that has historically been male-dominated?
This question is asked frequently, and rightfully so. It reminds us of the long history of careers deemed exclusive to men, and the need for women to overcome numerous obstacles, fighting for their rights to learn the skills and proving their capabilities to participate, let alone be accepted.
Boda Girls face similar challenges and have developed some critical Male Allies taking leadership roles in welcoming them into the Boda Taxi business. These allies emerged even before the launch of Boda Girls when the Matibabu Foundation conducted an extensive community assessment involving male boda drivers.
The survey uncovered the lives, challenges, needs, and aspirations of male drivers and their willingness to address negative stereotypes associated with male boda drivers, such as being womanizers, perpetrators of assault, or users of alcohol and drugs, and expressed a strong desire to remove this stigma. They also shared their financial struggles with the price of fuel, difficulty getting licenses, and police harassment. Most of these male drivers are young family men who cannot afford health insurance, making illness a threat to their entire families. Most importantly, we learned that more than 90% of the male drivers were open to sharing the road with the Boda Girls, offering to mentor them in client acquisition, best routes, tire repairs, and ensuring their safety.
At the Boda Girls program launch, numerous male boda drivers attended as our special guests. We continue to engage with them because we recognize the importance of involving male drivers and appreciating their significant role in transforming the transportation sector. They are not just drivers; they can be first responders and community supporters in emergencies.
In April, we organized a day-long training event and invited the leaders of the Boda Taxi Stands to become certified Boda Girl Male Allies. Eighteen local male boda leaders participated in training sessions covering first aid/CPR, understanding menstruation and sexual reproductive health (Days for Girls), and gender-based violence. They pledged to support the Boda Girls and females in their communities and to stop and provide aid in emergencies on the road. They registered their names and motorcycles as Boda Girls Male Allies, proudly displaying official Male Ally stickers on their bikes for riders in the community to know that they support women. They received hip packs with first aid supplies, sustainable menstrual kits for the women in their lives, and three months of national health insurance for their families.
Since then, the Male Allies have stayed connected through a dedicated WhatsApp group, sharing updates and addressing issues, and Boda Girls have officially joined the male taxi stand groups.
We are immensely proud of our Male Allies and the positive changes they are making. We hope this transformation continues to enhance their lives and benefit the entire community. Extending equity measures to one marginalized group has the power to bring universal improvements, making our community safer and producing more opportunities. Together, Boda Girls and Male Allies are creating a brighter future for everyone.