Like in many parts of the world, the Covid-19 Pandemic has had major impacts in Africa as it has affected the society and economy at its core. Despite the negative effects of Covid-19 on the economy globally, Boda Bodas (motorcycle taxis commonly found in East Africa) – continue to thrive as they are not only a means of transport but also a way of doing business by millions of people who subsist on daily earnings.
Boda Boda operators are highly mobile and experience high contact through their daily errand and with the assumption that one motorbike makes an average of three (3) new contacts per day, this makes the effect of one Boda Boda operator massive.
Africa Lion Advisory (ALA) in partnership with Mastercard Foundation saw the need to convert Boda Boda Operators to Super Savers through training and creating awareness on COVID-19. Since 2020 the organization has been engaging the Boda Boda operators to mitigate the spread of the deadly virus.
Through the partnership in phase 1, ALA formulated and rolled out a USSD Based Curriculum on COVID- 19 focused on Boda Boda Operators in Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda. This training included the issuance of awareness creating merchandise (masks, reflector jackets with COVID-19 safety messaging and sanitizers) after the training coupled with the sharing of an animated video series with key messages on COVID-19.
For Phase 2, ALA has successfully been able to formulate the USSD curriculum, activated the USSD’s for the three countries, designed and printed the awareness creating merchandise (Reflector jackets and masks), trained over 6,292 operators in Kenya, 3,595 in Uganda and 2,934 in Rwanda. ALA has also enhanced linkages with regulators and associations to promote awareness on Covid-19 among Boda Boda Operators and created an animation series.
Overall, the project has had such a positive impact on all the people involved as the communities we are impacting.
For example, the Boda Boda Operators have benefited from the training as it has helped them to continue protecting themselves and their families while still being able to provide for their needs.
Moses Njuguna, a Boda Boda Operator said: “Before I carry any passenger, I sanitize the pillion, the passenger and myself because Corona is real. I ensure that both of us take precautions including sanitizing and wearing a face mask.”
Covid-19 caused many businesses to shut down and the most affected were SME’s. This project has also greatly impacted the small businesses. By making bulk orders of the merchandise from small businesses, ALA has been able to not only bring back business to the companies we work with but also enable them to create employment for others.
Njoki Njogu, one of the Business Owner said: “Covid-19, in the beginning, was really bad…but now business has begun to pick up. And through this training with ALA and Mastercard Foundation, we have been able to see a lot of sales because guys are coming for the training but at the same time, they are managing to get bikes and spares from us. The measures we are going to employ after this training is that each client will have to wash their hands when they come in, everyone must mask up and we shall try as much as possible to maintain social distance in the shop.”
ALA in support of the Mastercard Foundation continues to sensitise and train Boda Boda Operators across the respective countries about Covid-19 and thus be able to improve their livelihoods and that of the communities they live in.
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