boda_2A Boda-boda Ride!

Ever had a ride on the famous boda-boda? I know most of us have had it as it one of the most used form of transport in the city and in the rural areas.  I have always wondered why the title boda-boda until I learnt the title goes way back to 1950s as people crossing the border between Kenya and Uganda used bicycles or motorcycle couriers to either dodge customs officials or beat the fatigue of walking through the various checkpoints of the two countries’ borders. Thus, the name boda-boda.

Boda-boda later resurged around 1997 when after several years of using bicycles for the business; its players explored with buying motor cycles. The rising urban populations necessitated the use of this type of transport as it is convenient for moving across a large area without spending much.

The Boda-boda industry has become an expansive employing quite a large number. Most youths have ventured into the boda-boda business as a way of getting employment. Many have been successful and are able to support their families comfortably.

Regardless of its attractiveness, the boda-boda industry is seen as a bother to areas where they operate. While boda-boda have proven to be the most convenient mode of transport in recent time, not so many people are happy with the antiques being displayed by some operators.

Women and girls are now living in fear of riding the boda-boda due to sexual harassment. Fingers are being pointed at boda-boda operators as the notorious perpetrators. Some female users of boda-boda claim that some riders go as far as ensuring that they struggle to get on board the motor-bike so as to expose their inner wear for other riders or colleagues to see. Sadly, the other operators then giggle and some go to the extent of shouting the colour of the inner leaving the women embarrassed.

Once the victims report the incidents, the suspected boda-boda riders usually go on exile by changing the route of operations once word gets out that a warrant of arrest has been issued. Some go as far as changing their boda-boda plate number to avoid being traced. Notoriously, some go as far as offering women a ride in exchange for sex, while others rape and defile women and girls customers on the way.

So as to have safe rides the following is recommended for the women and girls;

  • Do not entertain sexual advancement from the boda-boda operators
  • Only use familiar boda-boda operators
  • Do not to entertain riders who take wrong routes or talk vulgar.
  • Wear protective gear; a Helmet, Eye and Face protection, long pants, gloves, boots and a durable long-sleeved jacket

Boda-boda industry is a lucrative business in Kenya and it supports the livelihood of many families. However, if safety regulations were to be followed the business would be a venture in which women would feel safe and comfortable to venture into. Let’s all be Safe!

Research by:

Lucy Wambui,  B.A in Gender and Development Studies graduate from Kenyatta University. She is an intern with
FloNe initiative. She has also worked with Kenyatta University Gender  Association  Movement as a Trainer of Trainers. All her work has been based on creating awareness on Gender Based violence, Sexual harassment  and social cohesion.She has also been involved in research work on gender and transport with he latest work being on ” effects of boda boda caused accidents on men and women a case of Githurai , Nairobi County.
Her motivation is drawn from personal experiences and her passion on women and girls’ issues.

Your Support Counts!
Our new Women in Transportation program works to advance the transport industry and the professional women who are a growing part of it.
Good news! For our U.S.A supporters, your donation is now tax-deductible within the guidelines of U.S.A law.
Try our new donation platform here!


This week in our new program Women In Transportation(#WITrans) program focuses on non motorized transport (cycling, walking, handcarts, wheelbarrows and animal drawn carts).  In Kenya, more than 90% of rural trips are on foot, 4% by bicycles and 2% by paratransit.

In Africa, women are responsible for most transportation demand yet they have been mainly ignored by the transport industry. Both rural and urban women carry out a variety of tasks that often require trips of considerable distance. Women traditionally have been responsible for almost all household production and transport labour associated with agricultural production.

Assessing and addressing the non motorized transport needs of low-income women are crucial to environmentally sustainable transport and economic development. Chores requiring transportation are carried out using carts, shoulder poles, and bicycles.

However, transportation planners, development professionals, and policy makers continue to address mobility needs with projects and policies that are based on motorization. If the intended outcome of transportation planning in Africa is economic development and an increased standard of living, alternatives to a transportation system based on motorization must be a primary part of any policy and planning effort.

On our International #WITrans outlook, we feature a quote by Shannon Galipin of Afghanistan Women’s Cycling Team:
“Riding bikes for girls is one of the most seated taboos that’s left in Afghanistan…..the girls (cyclists) have been slingshot, rocks have been thrown at them, they are insulted and their families are insulted. They are not cycling to be revolutionary, they are simply cycling because they feel they have a right to……Through cycling these girls are normalizing biking in the country, enabling young girls to bike school, midwives to use bikes to access rural communities…..literally changing lives”

Your Support Counts!
Our new Women in Transportation program works to advance the transport industry and the professional women who are a growing part of it.
Good news! For our U.S.A supporters, your donation is now tax-deductible within the guidelines of U.S.A law.
Try our new donation platform here!

Forbes articleForbes 2

Forbes Woman features Flone Initiative Founder and Executive Director, Naomi Mwaura for the great work being carried out by the initiative  towards ending sexual harassment on our public transport terminals. She is at the forefront ensuring that women and girls feel and are safe while commuting using the public transport system in Kenya. In November 2014, Naomi was among the lead organizers of the #MyDressMyChoice protest that highlighted the sexual violence meted on women in the Kenyan public transport industry. Currently through Flone Initiative, Naomi is working with public transport operators by training them on gender equality and prevention of sexual violence, improving customer service, and in personal and professional development.To Join her in creating safe spaces for you and your loved ones sponsor a PSV driver or conductor/tout for Ksh. 1,000(USD$ 12.5) or a session by donating Ksh. 30,000(USD $375) here


Flone Initiative is introducing a Women in Transportation (#WITrans) program. #WITrans mission is to advance the transport industry and the women who are a growing part of it.

This week’s newsletter focuses on the status of women in the Kenyan transport industry. The transport industry is predominately male dominated with women taking up lower management positions such as call girls, booking clerks, stage clerks, drivers and conductors. Women who choose  transportation as a career choice is a rarity not just in Kenya, but through Africa and the world. Women workers face sexism, physical violence, passive aggressive threats and stigmatization from their male counterparts. By entering a male dominated industry, women test boundaries, real and imagined, as their traverses streets and highways. Due to the sexism faced by female taxi drivers there are several sexual harassment and discrimination cases in the Kenyan court cases. Socialization and cultural restrictions still subjugate most Kenyan women and girls. Discrimination and limited access to opportunities are the norm.

WITrans aims to identify and bridge workforce gap in the transportation industry by promoting careers for women in the transportation industry. WITrans ultimately aims to to attract, retain and advance women in the transportation industry.

This week’s #WITrans quotes *Emma a taxi driver in Kenya:
“I have been beaten, spit on and my car hit by fellow taxi drivers. I have always loved driving and I love my job. Being a woman, a lot of clients prefer and trust me (as opposed to male counterparts). But it’s not an easy job for a woman” 
*The name has been changed.

Your Support Counts!
Our new Women in Transportation program works to support  the  professional women who are a growing part of transportation industry.
Good news! For our U.S.A supporters, your donation is now tax-deductible within the guidelines of U.S.A law.
Try our new donation platform HERE!