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New partnership between UNFPA, SafeBoda aims to reduce gender-based violence among Boda Boda riders

KAMPALA, 26 February 2020 - UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, has signed a one-year partnership agreement with SafeBoda, to work towards reducing cases of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) among Boda Boda (motorcycle taxi) riders in Uganda. According to a study on the effects of drought on Sexual and Reproductive Health and gender-based violence, 92% of all respondents cited male boda boda riders as perpetrators of GBV (UNFPA and OPM 2017).

Under this partnership, UNFPA will support SafeBoda to integrate Gender-Based Violence prevention and Sexual and reproductive health and rights into their SafeBoda Curriculum, which is currently used to equip riders with safe riding skills.

Through integrated community activations and health camps targeting riders and their communities, SafeBoda will promote increased access to sexual and reproductive health information and GBV prevention services.  In addition, the SafeBoda riders will be trained to act as agents of change, by creating awareness and influencing fellow Boda Boda riders to take action to end gender-based violence in their communities.

“The Boda Boda community has direct, wide reach, and is, therefore, able to reach communities with information and services in a timely manner. These attributes make this engagement unique when linking it to health, achieving freedom from violence and increasing the awareness of rights among women, men and young people in Uganda,” said UNFPA Representative, Alain Sibenaler.

 SafeBoda, Uganda’s leading ride-hailing company has a community of over 10,000 trained Boda Boda riders.  “We are excited to bring life-changing messages on GBV to our community of riders and their families,” said Ricky Rapa Thomson, SafeBoda’s co-founder and director. “This initiative aligns with SafeBoda’s mission to empower communities in Africa to thrive. Together with UNFPA, we intend to do just that,” he added.

To kick off the partnership, SafeBoda and UNFPA launched a Health Camp at the SafeBoda Academy in Kyebando. The  launch was presided over by UNFPA Representative, Alain Sibenaler;  the Minister of State for Kampala Hon. Benny Namugwanya; the Commissioner of Emergency Care services at the Ministry of Health, Dr. John Baptist Waniaye and SafeBoda Co-Founders Ricky Rapa Thompson and Maxime Dieudonné.

During the first day of the  camp 310 people including Boda Boda riders, members of  their families and the surrounding community received GBV prevention, family planning, HIV counselling and testing and Safe Male Circumcision services.

Through the one-year partnership, SafeBoda and UNFPA aim to reach over 15,000 SafeBoda drivers and their families and communities with information and services to enable them  make healthy choices and become agents of change in the prevention, response and mitigation of Gender-Based Violence.

 

Story by: Rakiya Abby-Farrah, UNFPA Uganda