Female Mechanic Workshop
Female Auto-mechanic Business to Challenge Gender Stereotype in Muslim Northern Nigeria states
Car repairs in Nigeria and particularly in Northern Nigeria is completely done and managed by men despite the shift in attitude that no longer see engineering training for men only. Further, there is no restriction in the University and Polytechnics engineering faculties against women enrolment. Yet, women especially the vulnerable once hardly enrolled in these courses probably because there are no opportunities to practice despite the family social security that provides support to vulnerable women is collapsing. Traditional petty businesses that women conduct at home are inadequate to cater for a widow with children to feed and pay school expenses
In addition, women are increasingly becoming owners of cars and they have to depend on their male counterpart, especially husbands and brothers to take their cars to garage for repair. This is because cars repair, either as clients or as mechanics are associated with men. Furthermore, the way car repairs are conducted and managed is a day event and therefore not women friendly.
The need to think outside the box becomes imperative. This partnership will provide training and tools to women to become mechanics to service women car owners by making the auto-mechanic business women friendly and ‘legitimate’ for women, working with religious leaders and government institutions. Nana has secured land and is in consultation with three institutions. The Institutions will provide the training, send student for internship and Nana will provide the space, the tools and mobilize women and Islamic scholars. The project will:
- Break the gender stereotype that makes car repairs as only for men.
- Create job opportunities and provide income to women in the field of mechanical engineering.
- Pilot an auto repair workshop that is women friendly and to service women.
- Create a training, apprentice and internship opportunities for women in engineering courses and other women interested in mechanical automobile services.
The activities include
- Collaborating with state auto mechanical workshop Centre and polytechnic engineering faculties for training and to serve as industrial training and internship
- Mobilize women to go into engineering training and apprentices in all categories of auto mobile repairs.
- Establish women managed workshop that is female friendly both in training and service provision
- Document our experience by establishing a one year monitoring system
We envisage two categories of beneficiaries: The first category is female graduates from Polytechnics, Federal College of Education Technical, and University. The second category is ordinary women interested in taking automobile repairs as a source of income. Priority will be given to vulnerable women such as widowed and divorcees and adolescent girls. Specifically, NANA imagine a widow whose four children have stopped schooling because she cannot afford. After being trained as a mechanics, she either stays in NANA garage to work or sets up a garage as a group, including selling vehicle spare parts. The garage becomes popular because of the way it is organized in an efficient and digital manner with honesty and sincerity. NANA is confident the services of the garage will be oversubscribed. NANA also envisages encountering resistance at the beginning that will not last as the benefit becomes obvious. NANA expects the project to motivate young women to study engineering courses and provide a platform for intergenerational cross-fertilization of ideas between degree holding engineers and apprentices. Some women have expressed interest.
NANA Girls and Women Empowerment Initiative (NANA), Umaru Ali Shinkafi Polytechnics, Sokoto and Waziri Umaru Federal Polytechnics, Birnin Kebbi and Usman Danfodiyo University Sokoto. The partnership will open windows of business opportunities in areas closed for women. It will improve the income of women, especially vulnerable women and shift their business from traditional to a more formal and organized businesses. This will have multiplying impact on the education and health status of their children. The partnership will also provide linkage between the collaborating institutions and ordinary women, opening up interaction between institutions of high learning and ordinary women outside the class room environment. Perhaps the far-reaching impact is changing attitude to women’s role in engineering, increasing number of young women studying engineering as well as challenging the norms that restrict women’s business to the home because of the Muslim practice of seclusion.
The partnership will be designed to sustain itself with the initial investment provided by NANA. Any service rendered in NANA garage, 80% of the payment is for the mechanic and 20% will go to NANA. The garage will also sell motor spare parts. All the organizations involved in the partnership are well established. NANA has the plan to replicate the idea in other Muslim states in Northern Nigeria. NANA will establish M&E system to monitor and document experience and impact for publication, sharing lessons and replication