Over 400 boda boda and tuk tuk riders in Kisumu over the weekend benefited from free training on road safety and self-first aid courtesy of Watu Credit, the County Government of Kisumu, and the National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA).
The initiative, dubbed ‘Tujenge Msingi’ targets to equip the riders with the necessary skills to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on the road.
This comes amidst the rising number of boda boda accidents, with the sector reporting 1,670 accidents last year.
Speaking during the training, Wetu Credit Country Manager Erick Massawe said the safety training targets to ensure the riders operate within the law and at the same time contribute to their overall wellness.
The riders were taken through comprehensive training on safety, which covered creating awareness of safety rules that they should adhere to on the road.
Furthermore, they were trained on how to provide self-medical aid and aid to others in cases of accidents; they were given free medical check-ups to promote good health while on the road; free checkups for their motorbikes, including oil changes; and a second-hand motorbike marketplace with affordable options.
Besides the training, he added that the campaign was pushing for the adoption of electric motorbikes to reduce the number of accidents involving motorbikes.
“We are also sensitising them on new developments in the sector. We have electric motorcycles which are less complicated mechanically, and we believe this will go a long way in reducing the number of accidents on our roads,” he said.
Watu Credit East Africa General Manager Andrii Volokha said the boda boda sector was set to benefit immensely with the adoption of electric motorbikes in the country.
“This will help them sustain themselves during these tough times and at the same time help to conserve the environment,” he said.
Watu Credit, he said, was already providing affordable and flexible financing for electric boda bodas with a wide network of dealers in the country.
So far, he said some 100 electric motorbikes have already been procured through the flexible financing, adding that since its inception, the company has financed over 730,000 boda boda in the country.
“We are driven by the goal to support entrepreneurship by providing financial inclusion for unbanked and underserved individuals,” he said.
NTSA Programme Director Samuel Musumba said the training was timely and critical to address the rising number of accidents in the sector.
Musumba said most of the accidents were the result of human error and the riders failure to observe traffic rules.
“Most of these accidents are caused by human error. We have operators who don’t wear helmets. Some even engage in alcohol before venturing out to pick up passengers,” he said.
“Initiatives like this will continue to address the rising number of accidents annually and add to the positive contribution that the sector brings to economic development,” he added.