Boda boda association launches female chapter

Brenda Mbalilwa, a boda boda rider in Nakuru town on duty, on May 26, 2020. The Boda Boda Safety Association of Kenya has launched a female chapter to improve the welfare of boda boda women entrepreneurs.


Photo credit: Cheboite Kigen | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The Boda boda Safety Association of Kenya (BAK) has launched a female chapter that entails women riders.
  • Association seeks to improve the welfare of boda boda women entrepreneurs through training on road safety, social-economic empowerment and security.
  • UNFPA Kenya director Mr Oladije Demola called on the leadership of BAK to ensure they implement the two-thirds gender rule as soon as possible.
  • Gender CS Prof Margaret Kobia, said the government will support the boda boda women entrepreneurs through the Women Enterprise Fund to help them expand their businesses.

The boda boda business has been dominated by men since its inception in Kenya. Despite the industry’s growth in leaps and bounds in the last one decade, only a small percentage of women have joined in.

To enhance gender equality in the sector and encourage more women to venture into the field, the Boda boda Safety Association of Kenya (BAK) has launched a female chapter that entails women riders.

The association seeks to improve the welfare of boda boda women entrepreneurs through training on road safety, social-economic empowerment and security.

The women riders will be trained on self-defence to secure themselves and their customers in case of danger.

Women entrepreneurs

Public Service and Gender Cabinet Secretary Prof Margaret Kobia, who officiated the launch in Nairobi this week, said the government will support the boda boda women entrepreneurs through the Women Enterprise Fund to help them expand their businesses.

Prof Kobia applauded the women for venturing into the motorcycle business, perceived to be a male-dominated field.

“I congratulate the women in the boda boda business for taking a bold step to transform their lives by exploiting motorcycle business opportunities. We celebrate these hardworking women who have proved that they can work and excel in a male-dominated field,” said Prof Kobia.

The CS called on women to go an extra mile and create a sisterhood to enable them to face challenges that come with running a business.

Equal opportunities

She also challenged them to be a pillar of strength and change makers in the sector, which she said has been characterized by chaos, indiscipline and lack of regulation.

Prof Kobia commended BAK for the inclusion of women in the sector terming it as a step in the right direction.

“As a ministry in charge of gender affairs that advocates for equal opportunities for both men and women, I am pleased to see the inclusion of women in this growing sector,” she said.

The CS also said they will partner with the association in fighting against gender-based violence (GBV), teenage pregnancies and female genital mutilation (FGM) vices that have affected young girls and women in the country.

Impact society

BAK Chairman Kevin Mubadi, said they will support women riders to help them achieve their goals and dreams.

Dorcas Oundo a BAK representative, said women boda boda riders should be empowered financially and be trained for them to positively impact society.

The Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of ICT Ms Nadia Ahmed Abdalla said women are confronted with challenges such as menstrual health, but they still forge ahead.

“I have had the privilege of being transported by a female boda rider in the past and so I celebrate you as women riders,” said Ms Abdala.

UNFPA Kenya director Mr Oladije Demola said the launch would optimally benefit from creativity and resilience women bring to the sector.

Gender divide

“I call on the leadership of BAK to ensure they implement the two-thirds gender rule as soon as possible. We would like to commend the leadership of the association who have realised the gender divide in the sector and seek to empower women,” said Mr Demola.

The few female boda boda riders in the country often complain of challenges including gender stereotypes and bias, and access to capital.

The launch was also attended by Interior CS Dr Fred Matiang’i, his ICT counterpart Mr Joe Mucheru and Eve Maina the CEO Taxiye among others.

The number of boda bodas in Kenya has risen to more than two million as at May 2020.The move has been attributed by the  government’s move to zero-rated all motorcycles below 250cc, a step aimed at enticing the youth into alternative mode of transport.

A recent country survey report by Africa Community Access Partnership (AfCAP) conducted in June 2019; “Enhancing Understanding on safe motorcycle and three-wheeler use for rural transport” indicates a majority of riders in Kenya are untrained, have no license, no insurance and are not members of any association.


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