Three ways to support girls and women to get into technical industries and entrepreneurship:
- Have a role model
- Have a positive mindset that the girls and women can do whatever they set their minds to
- Create space and support the girls to do what they want to do
I am Generation Equality because…
People never thought that with my small stature, I could hold a spanner and work on a car. They couldn't imagine a woman can leave the makeup and deal with oil and grease. Before I was trained by Toyota Kenya Academy, I was trying to fix motorcycles but I didn't have the right knowledge. I was trying to make ends meet so I could take care of my children. People never believed that a woman could do automotive mechanics, I had to convince my relatives and community to let me do it. They thought I was just joking.
The training has really improved my life. It is different from what it was. I've moved from doing motorcycle mechanics to a higher level, working on motor vehicles and it means I can earn much more. During the training, they also taught us soft skills like self-identity, self-esteem and interacting with other people. They also taught us technical skills like braking systems and the engine. We learnt about time management, interacting with clients and other entrepreneurship skills.
The benefits from these skills are that I can employ myself now. I can open my own spare parts shop, car wash, tire puncture repair, or garage. My dream for the future is to become a great mechanic and a driver. My family has also benefited because now I'm able to provide for their needs much easier than before. They also now know that a woman can do anything. They never knew an interest in mechanics could get someone to board a plane.
My daughter will grow up knowing that women can successfully stand up for themselves. Girls in my community and my relatives can see me as a role model because I came up, made a decision and became successful as a mechanic.
Brenda Kwemoi is a 26-year-old trainee auto mechanic who took part in trainings at Toyota Kenya Academy that were sponsored by UN Women Kenya through Peace Winds Japan. Peace Winds is implementing economic empowerment initiatives under the Leadership, Empowerment, Access and Protection (LEAP) project to support refugee and host communities’ women and girls in accessing new sources of income and economic opportunities through skills and livelihoods development.