Circumstances made her venture into a male-dominated field, where she endured resistance from men and ridicule from women to find her place in it.
Amina Karisa Wanje a gratified boda rider, is a member of Kisiki Bombi Youth Group located in Shakahola village, Chakama Location, Malindi Sub-County. She has been riding a boda boda for the last four years. She says she has no regrets though it was not easy when she first embarked on the profession to earn a living.
In the midday hustle and bustle of the town, she stands out from the pack. This mother of not one, but two children is poised to defy the odds. “I tried farming for few years but because of the unreliable rainfall, I was not successful. I had a young family then, and one income was not enough to provide basic needs for my family,” says Amina. “That’s why I opted for a boda business, which was lying at home after my husband got greener pastures in Nakuru County.”
Balancing home and work
At the beginning, members of the community were very supportive. On the days when she fails to turn up for work, her fellow boda boda riders always call to find out if she is okay. “And if the day has been ‘dry’, the customers who come around are given to me, especially he women who feel comfortable being carried by a fellow woman,” she says.
Amina’s day begins with preparing her Children, aged seven and nine, for school. She then begins her workday at 7am, but goes back home to prepare lunch at midday. In the evening, she always stops work at around 7pm so she can be with them at home. She says she now has a loyal regular customer base, both women and men, who know her as a diligent and responsible rider: “I have customers because of how careful Iam.” Though she has managed to make ends meet—she earns between Shs2000 and Shs3000 per day, which helps meet her family needs.
Coast Development Authority in partnership with National Counter Terrorism Centre supported Kisiki Bombi Youth Group with two motorbikes to boost their income generating livelihood activity. Kisiki Neema Women Group is a neighbouring group in Chakama that is also a beneficiary under the livelihood support project where CDA collaborates with NCTC. This group was supported with farm inputs to boost their irrigation farming project. The were first trained on business skills, record keeping, leadership, savings and credit, group dynamics, financial management and how to identify and prevent early signs of violent extremism in the society.
Kisiki Nema Women Group comprises of fifteen women who practice irrigation farming of fresh vegetables in a two-acre piece of land in Malindi. Despite the erratic weather patterns experienced in the region, the group has defied all odds and identified farming as a viable economic activity that has enabled them gain control of their lives. They rent water pipes to help them access water from River Sabaki for irrigation. On a normal day they harvest fifteen crates of tomatoes and sell to nearby market outlets. One crate of tomato costs Ksh.1500. They were also supported with farm inputs such as collapsible water pipes, seeds, fertilisers and two motorbikes that help transport their farm produce to market.
Both of these groups are among the 29 benefiting groups supported under the CDA/NCTC collaboration. The growth in small-scale agriculture has largely contributed to reducing hunger and poverty than any other sector, and women farmers are playing a central role. The practice of agribusiness has proven to be effective to tackle food insecurity and build the community’s resilience to climate change.