Ann Sokoto @PeopleDailyKE
With the cost of living soaring daily, surviving these harsh economic times requires not only resilience but going the extra mile.
So staring at an unemployment rate of seven million according to latest Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) reports, 26-year-old Lilian Muyonga, a single parent, decided to ride on the male-dominated motorbike business to eke out a living and feed her child.
She says the idea was to leverage on the 4.8 million Kenyans who use motorbikes daily, adding that her choice of business looked appealing going by the number of men who appear to happily make a tidy sum from the business daily.
Last year, the boda-boda sub-sector is estimated to have fetched Sh219 billion, according to the Motorcycle Assemblers Association of Kenya.
For Muyonga, a mother to a seven-year-old, her decision is proof that women can also thrive in the male-dominated industry by working smarter.
“What a man can do, a woman can do better,” she says.
She is among riders who have partnered with the online courier, Sendy, to deliver letters, parcels and food through a mobile phone App. For the six months, Muyonga has been toughing it out as a rider, she now believes she made the right decision because business is paying.
On average she pockets up to Sh1,500 a day after working for approximately five hours giving her time to take care of her child as she works without much hustle.
“This job has helped me achieve a level of financial independence I did not expect. I do not need to depend on anyone to cater for my needs and my child’s,” says Lilian.
She urges other young girls to embrace jobs “reserved” for men to make a living. Muyonga appreciates her job because it gives her freedom and guarantees her job security.
“I love my job. I have previously worked under so much pressure in the formal sector. But my current job allows me to spend time with my son. It is sad that only a few riders break the rules, but we all end up being banned from town. The city-county government should find a way of controlling boda-bodas within the central business district.”
Muyonga started training other girls in her neighbourhood and says among her biggest challenges as a rider is lack of parking bases in town and the high cost of fuel.
She appeals to the Nairobi County Government to give riders parking slots and licences to operate within the central business district.