“I want to buy a boda boda.”
I never expected that sentence to come out of the mouth of one of our Sseko women. If you’re familiar with Ugandan forms of transportation, then you certainly know what a boda boda is. But for those of you who are thinking “boda, what?” here’s a quick run-down: a boda boda is a motorcycle that acts like a taxi; you hail down a driver, tell him where you want to go, negotiate the price, and then hop on the back!
But you still might be wondering… why would one of our women want to buy a motorcycle-taxi? Well, this all started when I gave our team of women a lesson on budgeting and personal savings. I taught them how to predict their expenses and then estimate how much of their pay they could put into savings. I asked each of them to think about their personal savings goals, and the next day I had meetings with them individually to discuss their finacial goals for the future.
Hearing these women talk about their hopes and dreams for savings made for a wonderful afternoon. In addition to saving for their university tuition, one of them wants to save up to buy furniture for her parent’s house. Another wants to be able to pay for her younger cousin’s school fees. And yes, one wants to buy a boda boda. Apparently she went home and discussed several different opportunities with her family, and they came up with the idea to buy a boda boda and rent it out to drivers. It’s a pretty common practice here to own a fleet of bodas and rent them to drivers who in turn give back a percentage of their earnings or in some cases pay a flat rental rate.
I loved the entrepreneurial thought that went into her idea of saving for a boda boda. This little business venture could become a great source of income for her whole family. It is growth like this that is exactly what I love to see in the women of Sseko. They are becoming forward thinking. They are considering the needs of their families and how they as employed women can help. They are contributing to the growth of Uganda.