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Sometimes sexual harassment occurs without our knowledge!

Come be part of a gender forum like no other courtesy of Flone Initiative and Heinrich Böll Stiftung this Thursday 29th September 2016 at Lilian Towers, Nairobi Safari Club from 4:00pm – 6:30pm | Free entry to all audiences.

The goal of this forum is to bring together scholars, activists and women who have faced sexual harassment,to push the dialogue of rights further and explore alternative ways in which sexual harassment can be addressed.

Key discussion points:

  • Should sexual harassment be a political priority?
  • What are some of the ways that sexual harassment takes shape?
  • What are some of the ways that women can be assured of justice?

Invited Speakers:

  1. Esther Muthoni Passaris OGW
  2. Naomi Njeri Mwaura – Flone Initiative, a workforce development organization working in the matatu industry
  3. Fredrick J.K. Nyagah – Gender Advisor in Global Communities (formerly CHF International) and Founder National Chairman of MenEngage Kenya Network
  4. Saida Ali – International Policy Analyst
  5. Simon Mbevi – Founder and Director of Transform Nations

Moderator: Patience Nyange – Senior Human Rights Officer, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights

Format of Discussion:

A panel discussion contextualizes issues to the audience. This is infused with public dialogue and Q&A where the audience engages with the panel and forum.

Your Support Counts!

Flone Initiative  Usalama wa Uma program aims to create safe spaces for women and girls who use the public transport by engaging public transport operators by offering them training on gender equality and prevention of sexual violence, improving customer service, and in personal and professional development.
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!

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The problem for Kenya transport modes is not the network but the road’s standard and their maintenance; it is primarily a quality rather than a quantity issue. In most parts, the road network consists of paved, gravel and earth roads. The dilapidated, dirty state of public transport vehicles and terminals coupled with the poor service makes mobility for women a nightmare. Additionally, security is a serious mobility constraint for women, this because they suffer verbal and   physical harassment and theft in public spaces.

Though poor infrastructure and limited transport services hamper male and female mobility, women suffer additional socio-cultural constraints. Many women travel by foot in the village thus wasting a lot of time which could have been used undertaking productive work. Furthermore, the available modes of transport available in most rural areas are either bicycles or motorcycles which are culturally regarded as unfit for women. Sadly very few women in Kenya owns motorized mode of transport, thus have to depend on public transport or travel by foot to reach markets to sell produce , buy food and to engage in jobs in urban centres.

Motorized transport costs more per trip for women because they need to use more expensive modes of transport. Consequently women are forced to dig deeper in their pockets to access the safe and comfortable mode of transport. Lack of appropriate transport severely limits female access to employment, markets, education and health care. Subsequently, women’s productivity is greatly affected by the mode of transport available.

Flone Initiative hope to create a situation where women and girls can comfortably use the available transport modes thus enhancing their productivity.Let’s all be Safe!

Dates worth saving;

October 11th, 2016: #Njeris case hearing shall be at Kilimani law courts from 9.am.( Nyeri who was 18yrs at her death was from Gatundu North. She was raped and killed at Kikuyu by a known perpetrator)

September 20th, 2016: #MyDressMyChoice Kayole striping case has been on-going. The 6 perpetrators are still in jail after being denied bail again. The mention of their case shall be at Makadara Courts on the 20/9/2016 at 9.am

5th October, 2016: #MyDressMyChoice Kayole striping case hearing  at Makadara Courts at 9.am.

Let us join hands to ensure justice is finally served!

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!

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!

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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!

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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

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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!

 

 

 

Combating sexual harrassment banner

Sexual harassment in the public transport terminals and spaces is real. Most of us have been victims or have witnessed this vice in play. Join us in the fight against street and sexual harassment by taking part in this survey. Together we can ensure our women and girls are safe along our streets at all time. Support us to do so by participating in this simple survey.
The survey will take only a few minutes, yet you can change a life.

Join us in creating safe spaces for women and girls in the public transport networks and changing the public transport industry for the better.

Take the Survey

 

We are excited to share that in partnership with One Billion Rising-Kenya, we won the Sanaa Theatre Awards for 2015 Best Theatre Production on Women’s Rights and Empowerment. Thank you for Voting! We took a while to announce the good news because we were busy tracking the trophy through snail mail! We are incredibly honored and humbled by the award. Our charity plays are part of our sustainability strategy developed to ensure that Flone Initiative continues to serve the community.
In light of this award, we thought we share a couple more sustainability strategies that you can expect from us in 2016:

  • We are developing a revenue model around our Usalama Wa Uma Program. PSV SACCOs and driving schools will be expected to pay for the training. More details coming soon.
  • This year, we will be hosting two charity plays: ‘For colored girls who commit suicide when the rainbow is enuf’ and ‘Avocado’. The Play ‘For colored girls who commit suicide when the rainbow is enuf’ consists of a series of poetic monologues accompanied by dance movements and music that tells the stories of seven women who have suffered oppression in a racist and sexist society. The play ‘Avocado’ explores the horror of human trafficking in the most harrowing terms. We are currently looking for a director. If you know one, refer them to us.
  • In addition, the Good Food for the Greater Good Gala Dinner will be a fundraising event for our new program Women in Transportation (WIT);
  • To encourage more individual sponsors, we have a new donation platform that is easy and secure to use, accommodates several payment methods and provides receipts. For our U.S.A supporters, your donation is now tax-deductible within the guidelines of U.S.A law.

So on behalf of everyone at Flone Initiative, we are more excited than ever to deliver on our promise of a safe and professional public transport industry.

As always, we thank you for your continued feedback and support and look forward to an exciting 2016!

Try out our new donation platform HERE.

Creating a safe anf professional public transport industry.

Creating a safe and professional public transport industry.

Usalama Wa Uma program, which is a partnership between Flone Initiative and Men Engage Kenya Network (MenKen), aims to create a safe and professional public transport industry in Kenya.
We are concerned with the safety and security of Uber drivers and Kenyan public that makes use of this service. We condemn the use of intimidation and violence in the public transport industry to resolve the fight for market share. Our concern has been fueled by the recent intimidation, physical attacks and trickery used against Uber drivers. The most popular incident involves an uber car that was stoned and the windshield broken at Valley Arcade on Sunday the 31st January. Uber is offering security to its drivers by having policemen patrol violence-prone areas such as Westlands. Unfortunately, this is not a sustainable way to deal with the issue at hand that calls for safe public spaces.
As per our understanding, local taxis are blaming Uber for the City Council’s recent move to remove local cabs from the Central Business District. In addition, the taxi wrangels are being viewed as the fight between the Rich man (Uber) versus the common wananchi (local cab drivers). The local cab drivers are disgruntled that unlike Easy Taxis who work with local taxi community, Uber has requirements that cut off the local taxi driver from joining Uber such as the taxi must be only 4-5 years old.
The above notwithstanding, we as stakeholders are concerned with the rising violent attacks which may spill over even to Uber clients and continue to work against having safe public spaces that we are currently working to create.

Our recommendation and Call for Action:
a) National Police Device to immediately arrest and prosecute those promoting violence attacks on Uber drivers and avert further attacks.
b) Nairobi City Council to initiate, as a matter of urgency, meetings with Uber and other Taxi operators to resolve the current wrangles.
c) NTSA to assure the public of safety in the taxi industry by ensuring a definite solution to the current issue in conjunction with the relevant institutions.

For more information contact us on:
info@floneinitiative.org
info@menken.or.ke

The original article first appeared on KenyaBuzz: http://www.kenyabuzz.com/lifestyle/local-program-takes-aim-at-kenyas-public-transport

One of the most challenging and urgent issues we face in terms of the travel needs and challenges of commuters is ensuring the safety of everyone using public transport.

For most commuters, daily annoyances are limited to loud phone conversations or music. But a sense of safety and security, especially for women and girls, has been crucial component that affects their day -to -day life. Gender-based violence against women and girls in public spaces poses a major obstacle to improving our public transport system. A series of brutal attacks, video recorded and posted on social media in 2014, left Kiambu-based development organization Flone Initiative uniquely positioned to tackle this global epidemic.

Flone Initiative’s Public Safety Certification Stakeholder’s Forum was held on Thursday, 21 January at 5:30 pm at Clarion Hotel (Opposite Jeevanjee Gardens) This one-day event will bring together Nairobi public transport stakeholders and community leaders. These people are committed to improving and expanding development related to public transport.

The transport sector makes up a large part of the Kenyan economy, with PSV SACCOs employing up to 160,000 people. In the past, few women have sought a career in the public transport industry despite having equal skills and education to their male counterparts. Flone Initiative’s Public Safety Certification program provides training on customer service, gender relations, professional development, and other topics of interest to the community. The program aims to improve employment prospects in the industry for both men and women, and the ability of these people to earn a livelihood.

Flone Initiative is bringing principal industry stakeholders into a network advocating for a safer, better and more productive transport sector. The participation of those attending the Stakeholder’s Forum is a real opportunity for community leaders to commit to a smart, sustainable public transit system for Kenya.

Event Invite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/public-safety-certificate-program-stakeholders-forum-tickets-20670743751