According to research conducted by Flone Initiative, 88% of Kenyan commuters surveyed have witnessed violence against women in matatus, buses, and motorcycle taxis. Over half reported personally experiencing some form of sexual harassment in public transportation spaces. Additionally, public transportation is a male dominated sector. In Kenya, representation of women working in operational and decision-making transportation jobs are extremely low. Obstacles facing their recruitment and professional development include sexual assault, job insecurity and social stigmatization.
Engrained patriarchal attitudes frequently held by public transport operators plays a central role in the perpetration of violence against women and girls. In order to ensure that women and girls have safe access to public transportation, Naomi Mwaura, founder of Flone Initiative, spearheaded the implementation of the Usalama wa Uma program, which works in partnership with various organizations to train public transport operators on gender equality, prevention of sexual harassment, as well as personal and professional development. Flone Initiative also works to attract, retain and promote women’s employment in the public transportation sector. Through capacity building workshops, collaborative research with SACCO managers and public sensitization, Flone Initiative’s Women in Transportation program seeks to create economic opportunities for women within the public transport system of Kenya.