Things have progressed massively this year at the Pikilily workshop, far more than we could have ever expected, which is hugely encouraging.
Here’s how things have evolved over the four seasons of the year (if you’re in the northern hemisphere that is –the same rules don’t strictly apply here!). I’ve skipped over the desperately dull but numerous bureaucratic hoops we’ve jumped through this year but believe me, it’s been full on!
Spring – the workshop build is completed and we buy our first tools. Mechanics Juma and Kipara join the team and Selina is brought in to manage our reception/gate-keeping area. Claire travels to Mali on our first piece of corporate work, training around 200 workers in life-saving motorcycle safety and maintenance skills. Claire is also invited to speak at the PINC conference in NL about our work, a fantastic event! In the school half-term, we are invited to train a group of school kids on how to stay safe as a motorcycle passenger – great fun and a great success!
Summer – we take delivery of the two motorcycle ambulances. Juma and Kipara begin the extensive cleaning, renovation and assessment work to ascertain what parts can be salvaged and what must be replaced. We hire 5 amazing female apprentices, who start training to become motorcycle ambulance riders. Claire and Khalid travel to UK to present at HUBB UK and further fuel interest in our work. Tool Aid in Ringwood, UK, kindly donate a substantial volume of renovated, pre-loved tools for the Pikilily workshop, which (with no small effort), Claire and Khalid manage to cram into their return hold luggage allowance for safe arrival back into Mwanza. Later, our first two official Pikilily volunteers, Ellie and Monty, join us over the summer to focus in on social media coverage and bodaboda support. Pikilily is generously awarded a grant from WIMA/MoR to help us fund our motorcycle ambulance training and renovation work.
Autumn – Claire travels again on corporate training work, this time to train over 600 community members (men, women and children) in the DRC in motorcycle maintenance, repair and passenger safety. The spare parts arrive for the eRangers, kindly gifted by the eRanger company in SA. The apprentices continue their training, learning to maintain as well as ride a simple motorcycle and receive their riding licences. Pikilily is granted a strategic partnership with VETA, the Tanzanian government’s vocational educational college, to train riders in essential riding skills, in particular women, so that they are ready for certification at VETA – the first organisation to be granted this. The apprentices, keen to learn as much as possible, volunteer to collect much needed data on the habits of local moto-taxis drivers including wearing helmets (a legal requirement here), using their mobile phone while driving, riding with more than one passenger etc – a vital task considering that the hospital “motorcycle crash” wards here are full of broken bodies but a formal analysis on what is happening pre-crash doesn’t exist. On the motorcycle ambulance service side, we commence talks with the Cedar Foundation, who have just constructed a brand new, much needed Health Centre in Nyamatongo ward, Sengerema District, to see about basing our ambulance service there. Pikilily receives multiple indications of interest from other organisations and NGOs who are keen to collaborate to refurbish the dilapidated motorcycle ambulances in their area and train up female riders/mechanics.
Winter – the apprentices continue with their training, now taking 24 hours of self-defence training from Zachary Ouko, Africa’s national martial arts champion as well as an intensive first aid course, courtesy of Chris Buege’s MakeSafe International. Through kind contacts at MakeSafe and Kibo in Kenya, the apprentices are donated 5 brand new, high quality motorcycle helmets. Claire travels again on corporate work, this time to the Ivory Coast, to train over 200 workers and community members in motorcycle maintenance and road safety. Furthermore, Pikilily is approached by numerous local motorcycle taxi drivers seeking urgent riding licences, as President Magufuli’s campaign of reducing corruption and ensuring the right standards by every actor in the country now reaches the largely unlicenced and untrained bodabodas. Seeing that this represents an incredible one time opportunity to not only licence but also raise standards and awareness in all levels of motorcycle maintenance and road safety, we meet with the Regional Traffic Officer to propose that Pikilily should host mass training events at cost price for the bodas of Mwanza in collaboration with the road authorities, at the end of which attendees reaching the desired standard will receive a licence. The RTO is very enthusiastic about this prospect and advises us that we will be inundated with attendees. Lastly, Claire travelled to Sarasota, Florida, to speak at the PINC conference there – link coming soon!
Suffice to say, none of this could have been possible without every member of the Pikilily team as well as the incredible support and generosity of so many individuals, organisations and companies all over the world. Thank you all and here's to 2018!