PREVENTIVE MEASURE

City matatu women operators get Covid-19 tips via SMS

They get two text messages daily on various coronavirus preventive measures

In Summary

• The teaching platform provides clear and practical information on Covid-19 prevention to women drivers, conductors, managers, stage attendants and touts.

• The training was a result of a survey that showed PSV women workers had problems like headaches associated with fear of Covid-19, loss of jobs, children at home, rent and food insecurity. 

A Citi Hoppa woman conductor at Kencom bus station.
WELCOME: A Citi Hoppa woman conductor at Kencom bus station.
Image: COURTESY

Women public service vehicle workers in Nairobi are being taught how to prevent Covid-19 transmission through a short message service (SMS) training programme.

Already, 102 out of the targeted 150 women have been taught under the programme spearheaded by Flone Initiative and Zydii, an online learning and teaching platform.

The platform provides clear and practical information on Covid-19 prevention to women matatu drivers, conductors, managers, stage attendants and touts.

 
 

"All you need is any type of mobile phone and five minutes of your time every day, for the next two weeks to complete the course," according to Flone Initiative. 

Mathias Kinyoda, the initiative's communications officer, told the Star that the course was a result of a survey conducted on the impact of Covid-19 on women in the transport industry. 

The survey sampled 30 out of 70 women in the transport business, among them drivers, conductors, booking clerks and a mechanic with an average family size of three. 

"One of their main concerns is that they did not know how to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 because their jobs entail interacting with people and dealing with money," Kinyoda said. 

According to the survey, the women had problems like headaches due to loss of jobs, presence of children at home, rent, fear of Covid-19 and food insecurity. 

"They also lacked clarity of thought and had general anxiety. Fifty-two per cent of them stated that they are no longer in employment after the owners of the vehicles closed business," the survey said. 

Women who enrol receive two text messages daily. 

 
 

"The training is delivered in sheng and provides practical Covid-19 prevention measures. The lessons include an introduction to Covid-19, signs and symptoms, protecting oneself from Covid-19,  government directives and the measures in place. Hotline numbers are provided in case of infection," Kinyoda said. 

At the end of the training, each participant gets a free e-book on the course as well as a podcast.

"The training is ongoing and we invite more women in this sector to enrol by sending a text message with the word join to 20409," the communications officer said.

A 2017 Flone Initiative baseline finding on female operators and commuters showed that 73 per cent of women in the PSV industry were conductors.

The rest were clerks and stage attendants.

 

- mwaniki fm