Shell Foundation Launches Campaign To Encourage Women Learn Driving Skills, Boost Mobility

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Shell Foundation Launches Campaign To Encourage Women Learn Driving Skills, Boost Mobility

The campaign 'Moving Boundaries' aims to empower women to be independent by offering them two and three-wheeler training and related income opportunities. It seeks to promote awareness of the importance of women obtaining the power of driving and travelling safely to enlarge their horizons in all aspects of their lives.

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Shell Foundation, a UK based charity and the UK Government in association with Moving Women Social Initiatives Foundation (MOWO) has launched 'Moving Boundaries', a campaign to encourage women learn driving skills and pull out roadblocks within the ecosystem to up their job prospects in transportation businesses. This includes taxi and e-rickshaw drivers or as delivery agents for e-commerce companies.

Jai Bharathi, founder of MOWO is touring India on her motorbike from October 11 for over 40 days under this campaign. She is covering over 20 cities to create awareness and encourage women to learn driving to increase their job opportunities. Starting from Hyderabad, she has covered Bangalore, Kochi, Chennai, Goa, Pune, Mumbai, Surat, Udaipur, Jaipur and would now be covering Lucknow, Varanasi, Patna, Guwahati, Kolkata, Ranchi, Bhubaneshwar, among others.

MOWO is a revolutionary initiative based in Hyderabad to empower women to be independent by offering them two and three-wheeler training and related income opportunities.

The campaign seeks to promote awareness of the importance of women obtaining the power of driving and travelling safely to enlarge their horizons in all aspects of their lives. The focus is on enabling women to learn driving and own electric vehicles to generate livelihood, which in turn can also lessen carbon emissions from transport.

'Even Cargo'

'Even Cargo', a social enterprise providing training, employment and electric vehicle ownership to women drivers, also supports the campaign. Even livelihoods ensures sustainable and equal access to mobility and livelihoods with dignity through women-centric modules of training, social and financial support. They help women acquire electric bikes to work as delivery associates with major e-commerce partners and many more. Since 2016, Even Livelihoods has trained 500 and employed 250 women as Delivery Associates, with presence in more than seven geographies in India.

As part of this initiative, a WhatsApp based chatbot has been started out for females who would like to learn to drive a two or three-wheeler or apply for a job as a taxi, auto or delivery person. Any interested individual can express their interest by dropping a text on their WhatsApp number and the chatbot will connect them to nearby partner organisations like Even Cargo offering training and employment opportunities to females. The chat support is available in different languages.

"Women all over the world face restrictions on their mobility. They cannot travel long distances to acquire decent education or take up jobs that involve a complex or unsafe commute, resulting in a restricted pool of job opportunities. I am excited to take on this 40-day long journey on my motorbike across India to meet women from all classes and hold workshops to make driving an aspirational and achievable employment choice for them," Jai Bharathi, Founder of MOWO said.

Access To Reliable Transportation

Creating a safe and sound environment where women have access to reliable transportation and can drive their vehicles for employment is a great way to increase employment opportunities for women in a sector which has predominantly been male-centric," she added.

"We launched 'Moving Boundaries' to promote safe, clean and affordable transportation for women for better access to basic amenities like healthcare, jobs and education. The focus is also to create an environment where more women can enter the workforce by learning how to drive and become owner-entrepreneurs of their vehicles in transportation-linked sectors such as e-rickshaws and delivery agents. Our ambition is to allow equal access to opportunities for women by helping them become more versatile," Shipra Nayyar of Shell Foundation explained.

Sizable Number Of Women Drivers

She said that in the next five years, the foundation will see a sizable number of women drivers owning and driving electric vehicles in over 100 cities and villages across the country. She said that this is possible by supporting and helping build capacity of more such enterprises that train and offer jobs to women from low-income households.

Promoting employment and business opportunities for women is an essential goal for Shell Foundation. Together with the Government of UK, it launched POWERED (Promotion of Women in Energy-Related Enterprises for Development) in 2017, a women-focused programme to increase their participation across the clean energy and mobility value chain in India. POWERED programme supports enterprises that promote the women inclusion in jobs in the transportation and logistics sector and enable them to own electric vehicles to earn an income.

Also Read: Edtech Learning Platform 'Unlu' Announces India's First Online Cohort For Aspiring Singers


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