Driving change: the all-female garage shifting attitudes in northern Nigeria | Women’s rights and gender equality

The green-and-red Nana Feminine Mechanic Garage signal is seen from the important highway into Sokoto metropolis. Behind its sliding iron gate, Zainab Dayyabu stomps round in heavy work boots and a blue jumpsuit, her palms callused and oily.

“I really like the job I’m doing,” says the 23-year-old, as she opens the bonnet of a Peugeot van to check its battery.

Zainab is one in all 25 younger apprentices at the first all-female garage to open in the northern Nigerian state of Sokoto.

The workshop goals to supply jobs for girls in an trade dominated by males and problem conventional gender roles in this conservative and extremely insecure area of the nation.

A woman in overalls works under the bonnet of a van
‘I really like the job I’m doing,’ says Zainab Dayyabu, an apprentice mechanic. ‘My gender shouldn’t be a barrier to what I wish to change into in life.’ {Photograph}: Abiodun Jamiu/Nana

“It isn’t simply an strange feminine mechanic store,” says Fatima Adamu, founding father of the non-profit organisation Nana: Women and Ladies Empowerment Initiative, which opened the workshop in 2019.

“We wish it to be of worldwide customary, the place ladies particularly can get the greatest providers. And for that to occur, we should actually prepare the women. We wish to be scientific.”

Apprentices had been chosen from an unlimited vary of candidates, from unemployed graduates to ladies from poorer households with few alternatives in a state the place lower than 2% of girls finish secondary school and the literacy rate for girls is simply 10% in contrast with 40% for males. About 35% of 15- to 34-year-olds throughout Nigeria are unemployed.

Over a two-year apprenticeship, the ladies are skilled in all points of automobile upkeep and given a weekly allowance of two,100 naira (£3.75). Additionally they have entry to a shared laptop to browse studying assets on-line.

The primary cohort is coming to the finish of their apprenticeship and most will keep on, says Adamu. “After being skilled as mechanics, we’re hopeful a few of them would keep in the garage to work or arrange a garage as a bunch, together with promoting automobile spare components.” She hopes plans for an vehicle centre in Sokoto being thought of by state authorities will present additional jobs for Nana mechanics.

“I would like our ladies to get out of the societal norms that bind them,” she says. “There are such a lot of technology-related actions that girls are excluded from in this a part of the nation. We can’t succeed in northern Nigeria with out expertise, and ladies should be a part of that journey.”

Adamu says the scheme has obtained assist from the predominantly Muslim state’s conventional and spiritual leaders, who’re starting to recognise that girls must be economically unbiased.

And prospects similar to Abba Lawal are satisfied. He repeatedly brings his automobile to the garage and says the apprentices do higher work than different garages in the metropolis: “I come to the garage to encourage the women and additionally I like the manner they work on vehicles with out delays.”

A man instructs a circle of young women in the workshop
The younger ladies accepted as apprentices are skilled for 2 years in all points of automobile upkeep. {Photograph}: Nana Feminine Mechanic Garage

The programme has been so profitable that there’s already a ready listing for the new apprentice scheme beginning this month.

Hindatu Dayyabu (no relation to Zainab), a supervisor at the garage, hopes Nana’s may also construct up a buyer base of feminine drivers.


“We have now many ladies who’re automobile house owners now in contrast with the 70s and 80s,” she says. “We did an evaluation and realised that girls discover it troublesome to take their autos to the garage for restore as a result of it’s a male-dominated house. They don’t really feel snug.”

Zainab’s mother and father had been initially involved when she advised them she wished to coach to be a mechanic.

“They [her parents] mentioned I wouldn’t discover a suitor, that it’s heavy work for females. However I made a decision to use,” she says from underneath the Peugeot bonnet. “My gender shouldn’t be a barrier to what I wish to change into in life.”

She says her mother and father at the moment are her largest cheerleaders. “Sooner or later, I wished to drop out … however my mum saved encouraging me. In the subsequent few years, most likely two or three, I wish to be unbiased and have my very own garage.”

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