99% of all riders both private and commercial (boda boda and courier services) in Kenya are men. Though the motorcycle industry has tremendously grown, in the last 10 years, the women riders still remain a small percentage. However, the numbers are now significant and you can always spot a woman on a motorcycle on our roads. The risky but lucrative Boda Boda industry has also attracted its good share of women riders.
Photo credit Nation Africa.
The Boda bodas industry is now a necessity in our daily lives. Their services are fast, efficient and cost effective. They offer transport ferrying people to work, hospitals and schools. Delivering urgent documents to various offices, food and groceries to homes as well as keeping the online businesses afloat. They are however, a largely ignored mass. Their world is murky filled with little appreciation and more of accusations and stereotyping. Very little love is expressed towards them.
IRIDE4HELMETS is an initiative that started purely out of love for the boda bodas. The initiative focuses on safety of the riders in the commercial sector with emphasis on helmet safety as the bear minimum safety gear a rider should wear. In addition, the campaign also addresses, Training and licensing as well as Medical cover stressing on the importance of enrolment with NHIF (National Hospital Insurance Fund) and continuously keeping your cover active. While carrying out the campaign, Wamuyu who is the founder donates helmets to Boda Boda riders who have been unable to purchase one or have a dilapidated one . The helmets are donated to the initiative by well wishers. Mostly second hand helmets that are in good condition, certified and accident free. However, some of the well wishers have donated brand new helmets towards the cause. Just like the name of the initiative, Iride4helmet, Wamuyu rides out to meet with the boda bodas at their stations of work where she conducts the safety talks and donates the helmets. The initiative that begun in August, 2020 has so far reached over sixty riders in two months and donated 20 helmets. Among the beneficiaries of the helmets is a group of women Boda Boda riders that Women Bikers Association together with Iride4helmet have managed to bring together.
10 Boda Boda women riders benefited from helmets donated by Women Bikers Association. During the ceremony, we also had the honour of having Angela and Joseph from NHIF who came to speak about the importance of National Hospital Insurance Fund. The riders who are also mothers, had the opportunity to receive guidance in registration, hospital selection and addition of children and spouses to the scheme. NHIF staff also answered question that arose from past experiences. Wambu, one of the lady riders, had her two month’s daughter join us and get on the scheme as well.
The Chairlady of Women Bikers Association, Alexandra Chege emphasised the importance of a structured group for the ladies. She said a club or association would see more well wishers be able to support the ladies. Amanya, a member of Women Bikers Association and a riding instructor spoke about getting the right training and acquiring the license while Angela from NHIF spoke about the benefits of enrolling with NHIF.
The team was taken through the safety gear and the importance of having a certified helmet that is in good condition by Wamuyu. She demonstrated how to identify a certified helmet, measuring the right helmet size and correctly wearing it for utmost safety.
We at IRIDE4HELMET are grateful for the support from Women Bikers Association and HNIF team. We are looking forward to many more partnerships that will see the helmet safety message reach as many riders as possible. The best gift we can share with our fellow riders is knowledge.
If you would like to support or partner with IRIDE4HELMETS in any of the educational events, kindly write to us and we shall get back to you with more details. Currently there are so many riders in need of helmets than we can provide.
Saving lives one helmet at a time.