HYDERABAD: Moving Women Social Initiatives Foundation (MOWO) in association with Shell Foundation, a UK based charity and the UK Government conclude the 11,111 kms Moving Boundaries tour around the border of India. Across 40 days, Ms. Jai Bharathi (founder, MOWO) and her team travelled across 20 Indian cities to raise awareness about gender inclusive mobility and encourage more women to pick up the skill of driving.
Shell Foundation is an independent UK registered charity (Reg Charity No: 1080999) that exists to support people living in low-income communities to escape poverty and ease hardship. We create and scale business solutions to enhance access to energy and affordable transport as a means to achieve this.
Starting from Hyderabad, Jai Bharathi and her team have covered 20 cities such as Bangalore, Chennai, Kochi, Goa, Pune, Mumbai, Surat, Ahmedabad, Udaipur, Jaipur, Amritsar, Srinagar, Chandigarh, New Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi, Patna, Guwahati, Ranchi, Bhubaneshwar among others.
On 26th November, the journey will conclude in Hyderabad – the starting point of the tour – where MOWO along with Minister of Scheduled Tribal, Women & Child Welfare of Telangana Smt. Sathyavathi Rathod and Special Secretary, Dept. of Women & Child Welfare Govt of Telangana Smt. Divya Devaranjan launched the first motor training school exclusively for women in India.
From the women e-rickshaw drivers in Kevadia to the women delivery partners of Jaipur; From stories of grit and determination of the women auto rickshaw drivers in Chennai, to conversations about the future with school girls in Chandigarh; From meeting women who’ve empowered thousands of other women, to meeting those who are just starting out on their mobility journey; the team met some powerful people and organisations across the mobility spectrum.
Groups such as Aatmnirbhar, Bikerni, Taxshe, Metro Ride India, and more are taking wonderful strides towards putting women on the driver’s seat and making the streets more safe and equal. This historic trip would not have been possible without the women who’ve inspired so much hope and confidence in us to collaborate and take the movement forward. The ride may come to an end, but the journey towards inclusive mobility is just beginning.
Moving Boundaries campaign seeks to promote awareness on the importance of women acquiring the power of driving and travelling safely to expand their horizons in all aspects of their lives. The focus is on enabling women to not only learn driving but also own electric vehicles to generate income which in turn can also reduce carbon emissions from transport.
Working as a joint force for good the UK-India partnership helps enhance investment and trade; increase prosperity and jobs in both countries; strengthen joint action on global issues of mutual concern including poverty and climate change; and widen access to knowledge and technology.
‘Even Cargo’, a social enterprise providing training, employment, and electric vehicle ownership to women drivers is also supporting this campaign.
As part of the campaign, a WhatsApp based chatbot has been rolled out for women who would like to learn driving a two or three-wheeler vehicle or apply for a job as taxi, auto or delivery rider. Any interested person can express their interest by dropping “Hi” on the WhatsApp number +91 8885916606 and the chatbot will connect them to nearby partner organisations like Even Cargo which offer training and employment opportunities to women. The chat support is available in multiple languages.
Commenting on concluding ‘Moving Boundaries’ Tour, Ms. Jai Bharathi, Founder of MOWO said, “The roads have always given me unforgettable experiences since the time I started riding. This expedition will always be special because I found my tribe of passionate individuals who are working hard towards encouraging more women to sit on the driver’s seat. One woman driver influences more women around her in her community to drive, I cant wait to witness how this journey cascades into a wave of women drivers on the roads across India.”
Even Cargo- India’s first women only logistics delivery company trains women on mobility and logistics and employs them as delivery agents to enable them to reclaim public places. 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 7 geographies in India.
Speaking on the partnership, Mrs. Shipra Nayyar of Shell Foundation said, “Moving Boundaries tour is to promote safe, affordable, and clean transportation for women for better access to basic amenities like healthcare, education, and jobs. The focus is also to create an environment whereby more women can enter the workforce by learning how to drive and becoming owner-entrepreneurs of their vehicles in the transportation linked sectors such as e-rickshaws and as delivery agents. Our ambition is to enable equal access to opportunities for women by helping them become more mobile. We hope that in the next 5 years, by supporting and helping build capacity of more such enterprises that train and employ women from low-income households, we will see a sizable number of women drivers owning and driving electric vehicles in over 100 cities and villages across India increasing safe transportation and connectivity for other women”
Promoting employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for women is an important goal for Shell Foundation. Together with the Government of UK, Shell Foundation launched POWERED (Promotion of Women in Energy Related Enterprises for Development) in 2017, a women-focused programme to increase participation of women across the clean energy and mobility value chain in India. POWERED programme supports enterprises that promote inclusion of women in jobs in the transportation and logistics sector as well as enable them to own electric vehicles to earn an income.