“This is too strong for me,” the attacker said, smiling and shaking his head. Uganda’s new all-female ride-hailing service, then, was another woman’s turn to prepare drivers for Diva Taxi.
At the beginning of the coronovirus outbreak, a local woman who had lost her logistics job started the taxi service in June and recruited over 70 drivers. They expect from college students to mothers to make good use of their second-hand toyotas.
“It started as a joke, supported by close friends and family, but eventually picked up on the idea,” said company spokesperson Rebecca Makili. He said, ‘Why not? As women, you know that we can no longer kill externally on Instagram, so we do not kill Divyang as a reason. ‘That’s why we called it Diva Taxi. ”
It is unusual to find female taxi drivers in Uganda in a socially conservative East African country, where most women work in fields or work in the informal sector.
Diva Taxi believes that countless women are seeking job opportunities in times of severe economic crisis. The International Labor Organization states that women’s employment epidemics in developing countries are likely to be hit harder than men.
“I should say that I was personally influenced by COVID,” said Gillian Kobusinge, the founder of Diva Taxi.
A regular traveler, he found himself indefinitely as authorities banned the movement to slow the spread of the virus. For several weeks, even taxis were not authorized to operate in Uganda.
Nevertheless, Kobusinge was optimistic. “Regardless of any situation in the world, something will be needed to reach someone… and how does it happen? Through transportation, “she said.
He believed that a woman who wanted to become a driver was more likely than any man. And she supported women to be more credible.
“Our women are very hardworking, very motivated and I like the feeling of pride in doing this job,” she said. “They do it with one heart compared to other people, and that is the difference with our rivals.”
Some customers, including men, agree.
“Divas are always on time,” said Jemimah Bamwebez, a Kampala-based auditor, a regular user. She also feels “being driven by a fellow woman.”
A prospective driver must have a car in good condition and a smartphone equipped with a mobile app that customers use with a valid driving license and a certificate of good conduct issued by Interpol.
With Diva Taxi, 85% of the income from the trip goes to the driver, which is lower in Uganda, but part of the plan to shape the market, Makyeli said.
Driver Donna Ochen, a FedEx accountant, created a furore in March by caring for three children who said she was doing “nothing” at home when she saw a Diva taxi employee on television discussing opportunities for women Seen while doing. With the consent of her confused husband, she contacted the company and got recruited.
“I decided to take it because it would be an opportunity for me to serve my family and earn and support it,” Ochen said. And “It will empower me to do something for myself rather than sit.”
Another driver, college student Tracy Abola, said his mother, a teacher, had been out of work since the schools closed in March. Abola was driving a 1998 Toyota “to show off with friends” until she learned that she could make money from a Diva taxi.
“So I decided to do something so that I too could be of little help at home,” she said.
Makyeli said that the Diva Taxi app has been downloaded at least 500 times, and that each of the company’s 72 drivers rides an average of 30. The company expects to have 2,000 active users by the end of this year, a modest target in a city of over 3 million people where taxis and passenger motorcycles are the main modes of transport for the working class.
Despite safety training – each driver also receives a can of pepper spray – safety is a concern.
Ochen said she drives during the day only “to avoid being trapped in any difficult situations,” including a drunk group.
Even when she hopes to return to her job as an accountant, she plans to remain a diva taxi driver for as long as possible.
“We love what we’re doing and it’s really fun,” said founder Kobusinge, an occasional driver. “I can’t wait there with every woman who is willing to be part of the Diva Taxi.”