- Jean Claude Mwambutsa
- BBC News – Kigali, Rwanda
A project to empower women and reduce air pollution in Rwanda’s capital Kigali is about to begin with 120 women behind electric motorbike taxis.
He has completed a three-month training course on driving and repairing these new generation motorcycles and says he is ready to “change the mindset” on the roads while saving the city’s environment.
To read exclusively on BBC Africa:
Men dominate this popular activity in Rwandan cities, but female trainer Ornella Uwobasa says it is possible.
Jasmine Niigaba is ready to take up this activity which can be done all night while on the streets.
“Working till midnight is not mandatory, I will organize myself to finish work by 5 pm. I am already excited about the idea of doing it,” she tells the BBC.
Vulnerable women targeted by the city of Kigali and the project, owned by a private company, will receive free motorcycles.
Kigali City Deputy Mayor Martín Urugeni believes that the project will reduce carbon emissions and reduce unemployment among young people, and especially young women.
“We focused on vulnerable women like single moms, divorcees and widows… because we want to make their lives better,” says Ms. Urugeni.
There are about 35,000 motorcycle taxis registered in Kigali, and most are driven by men. According to officials, this project will prove to be a game-changer.
“We want to see women on the streets. And everyone knows women can work on the streets,” says Ornella Uwobasa.
Rwanda is encouraging the use of electric motor vehicles, but their numbers are still small, with only 150 registered this year.
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