Some of the members of M’barakachembe Junction Bodaboda Youth Group in Watamu
In a remarkable display of resilience and determination, a group of boda riders in Watamu location known as ‘M’barakachembe Junction Bodaboda Youth Group’ has formed a unique group, setting their sights on a new venture that promises to transform their lives.
Supported by the European Union through Coast Development Authority in collaboration with National Counter Terrorism Centre is implementing a livelihood programme designed to uplift vulnerable communities, providing them with sustainable income-generating activities in Kilifi County. This collaboration has also offered a great opportunity to counter violent extremism (CVE) along the coast that mostly depend on the socio-political landscape of the communities which serve as recruitment hubs.
‘M’barakachembe Junction Boda-boda Youth Group’ traditionally known for their role in transportation, these boda riders are now carving out a new niche as event service providers. Recognizing the potential for growth and income diversification, this group of riders came together to create a team dedicated to offer a range of services tailored for events.
The Kenya-EU project’s funding has played a pivotal role in empowering these riders with the resources they need to kick-start their entrepreneurial journey with capacity building on business skills and provision of the initial inputs. The project’s mission to Counter Violent Extremism extends beyond security measures, emphasizing on the importance of economic opportunities and sustainable livelihoods as key factors in creating resilient communities is in line with CDA’s mandate. The group received one 100-seater tent, one 50-seater tent and 120 chairs as inputs to support their business between December 2022 and January 2023.
Tents and Chairs
“By supporting these boda riders in their pursuit of new business venture, we are not only enhancing their economic prospects, but also promoting social cohesion and resilience within the community”, stated Rose Mweni, CDA Kilifi County Coordinator.
As the news of their unique services spread throughout Watamu location, the boda-boda riders’ new venture has gained significant attraction. Event organizers and individuals seeking reliable and affordable event services can now turn to this innovative group of riders, appreciating their commitment to professionalism and attention to detail.
“It’s a win-win situation for everyone,” shared Mr. Kelvin Kai, Chairman of the boda-boda group. “We are expanding our horizons, earning a better income, and contributing positively to the local economy. Our clients appreciate the convenience and affordability of the services we offer, and we take pride in delivering exceptional service”, he said.
The shift from transportation to event services has not only improved the livelihoods of these boda riders but has also had a positive impact on their families and the community at large. With increased earnings, they are now able to provide better education, healthcare, and improved living conditions for their loved ones. Furthermore, their success story serves as an inspiration for other youth in the area, encouraging them to explore entrepreneurial opportunities and create positive change in their lives. The group is doing well and has future plans of purchasing more seats and expanding their business.
Grateful to the support of the CDA-NCTC livelihood project funded by the EU, these riders have not only diversified their enterprise, but also uplifted their community. As their story continues to unfold, it serves as a beacon of hope and a reminder that change begins with a single decision to embrace new possibilities.