The ‘Women Moving The City!’ initiative set out to recruit and train more female bus drivers in Ghana’s capital city Accra. The project’s aim is to even out the gender gap in the transport industry while providing women with free access to training and improved career prospects.
Accra’s population has grown to over four million inhabitants, creating increased levels of traffic, a greater need for employment and sustainable transport solutions. Gaining a useful qualification in the transport sector provides applicants with a direct route to employment. Participants selected for the initiative have reduced social mobility and were less likely to find employment elsewhere.
A hands-on approach
An open day helped potential candidates better understand the profession, while providing an opportunity to look around the buses and ask questions to other women already working in the transport industry.
The popularity of the initiative has led to 100s of applications being submitted. Initially 60 women have been selected to undertake six months training with the Government Technical Training Centre (GTTC) in Accra. Constant Tsedzah, principal of GTTC said, “I wish we could train them all.”
“Scania has a high ambition to offer equal career opportunities to men and women. We believe in a more balanced workforce and more women driving busses in Accra will have a positive impact on traffic safety and customer service,” says Fredrik Morsing, the Managing Director of Scania West Africa. “We hope this initiative will not only be an opportunity for at least 60 women in Accra to start a new career, but also challenge the existing drivers to further improve their performance.”
A comprehensive commitment by multiple organisations
The six-month course is designed to turn learners into skilled bus drivers ready to embark on their new career. Upon successful completion of the training course they will receive their licence. Most will go straight into employment with Aayalolo buses, which is operated by the Greater Accra Passenger Transport Executive (GAPTE).
Scania’s partners have matched their commitment to social equality. As well as GAPTE, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (the German body for international cooperation) is also helping tackle the challenge of gender imbalance in the transport sector.
The initiative is also supported by Miss Taxi Ghana. Esenam Nyador, the company’s owner, has always been a huge advocate of gender equality in the transport sector. “In a profession where women constitute a decimal percentage, the Women Moving the City! project can only be celebrated as a well collaborated effort to help desegregate the driving profession. With such an impactful start to a socio-economic development project, hope can only anticipate a successful execution phase with a possible scale-up in other major cities across the country.”
Embracing sustainable transport and employment
A comment from an attendee at the open day demonstrates the level of anticipation. “I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for so long and it has now come. I have to do it,” she said.
“Embrace this opportunity. From our experience female drivers are often better than the male drivers. We would love to see you give them a challenge and push them to do better.” Morsing said.