MJ Piki is the local Community Based Organisation in Mwanza, Tanzania that is supported by Pikilily and works exclusively with women to train them to ride and maintain motorcycles safely. Currently our women then go on to use motorcycles to generate an income for themselves e.g. by becoming a delivery rider or working as a motorcycle taxi driver.
These women are not only getting a rare opportunity to learn skills and earn much-needed money for themselves and their children, but are also gently challenging gender stereotypes by doing these jobs. Out of the circa 5000 motorcycle taxi drivers in Mwanza region, only our four are women, so they really are brave pioneers and role-models. In fact, that's what MJ Piki stands for: "Mwanamke Jasiri ya PikiPiki" in Swahili or "Brave women on motorcycles" in English.
In addition, all four women are trained to ride and maintain eRanger style motorcycle ambulances. We had great hopes that, in 2019, we would be able to embark on delivering a special rural ambulance service for labouring mothers in tandem with a project partner. Alas, the partner, who was set to bring much needed medical expertise as well as funding to the union, has had to pull out due to insurmountable bureaucratic issues that they faced. For now, this work is on hold until we can identify a new partnership or working framework but we very much hope to return to this in future.
In 2019 our team has grown from four women riders to six with another to join by the year-end. This has been made possible with the help of a generous grant awarded in Dec 2018 from the Cotswold Foundation in the USA. In addition, our women will enhance their roles by bringing road safety skills to three hundred motorcycle taxi drivers and two hundred school children, thereby safeguarding futures and helping the community to avoid accidents.