The initiative to recruit and train more female bus drivers in Ghanaian capital Accra, has now passed the halfway mark. Having undergone weeks of training, the women are now well on their way to becomming qualified bus drivers.
The aim of the ‘Women Moving The City’ project has been to even out the gender imbalance in the transport industry. Meanwhile, it provides women with free access to training and improved career prospects. The women are not yet qualified as bus drivers but after six weeks of theory and only eight weeks of driving, their skills are impressive. But these are no ordinary women. And the world is watching.
The programme has been internationally recognised. Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has referred to the project as a successful example of bilateral ties between the African Union and European Union. The President of Ghana, Nana Akofu-Addo, is another supporter and a few months ago the German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, together with the German Minister of Economics and Energy, Brigitte Zypries, visited the bus trainees.’
The meeting with the German President quickly turned informal with enthusiastic discussions, laughter and cheering, and some refreshingly spontaneous selfies. “We need to instil hope and create meaningful opportunities for young people locally, President Steinmeier said. “We saw encouraging examples in the area of vocational training here in Accra.”
“Working on a project like this, where people’s lives are actually changing in front of our eyes, is so fulfilling,” says Billy Amedro, Scania’s Project Manager for bus systems. “Not even one of them has indicated that the programme is burdensome or that they’re pondering dropping out. They are all so determined.”
Esenam Nyador, nationally known as Miss Taxi Ghana for her pioneering role as a female driver acts as a public ambassador for the training programme. She noted that the trainees with no prior skills have now “amassed the technical expertise to move, handle and intelligently manoeuvre three tonnes commuter buses. The enthusiasm brought on board by trainees can only be described as souring by the day, as they continue to gain mastery of their professional trade skills.”