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 essential street into Sokoto metropolis. Behind its sliding iron gate, Zainab Dayyabu stomps round in heavy work boots and a blue jumpsuit, her fingers 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 certainly one of 25 younger apprentices at the first all-female garage to open in the northern Nigerian state of Sokoto.

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


‘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 develop into in life.’ {Photograph}: Abiodun Jamiu/Nana

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

“We would like it to be of worldwide normal, the place girls particularly can get the greatest companies. And for that to occur, we should actually prepare the ladies. We wish to be scientific.”

Apprentices had been chosen from an enormous vary of candidates, from unemployed graduates to girls from poorer households with few alternatives in a state the place lower than 2% of girls finish secondary school and the literacy rate for ladies 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 girls are skilled in all features of automotive upkeep and given a weekly allowance of two,100 naira (£3.75). In addition they have entry to a shared laptop to browse studying assets on-line.

We can’t succeed in northern Nigeria with out expertise, and girls have to be a part of that journeyFatima Adamu

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 car 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 girls 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 girls have to be a part of that journey.”


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

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

A man instructs a circle of young women in the workshopThe younger girls accepted as apprentices are skilled for 2 years in all features of automotive 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 can even construct up a buyer base of feminine drivers.

“We’ve many ladies who’re automotive 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 automobiles 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 informed 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 beneath the Peugeot bonnet. “My gender shouldn’t be a barrier to what I wish to develop into in life.”

She says her mother and father are actually her largest cheerleaders. “In some unspecified time in the future, I wished to drop out … however my mum stored encouraging me. In the subsequent few years, most likely two or three, I wish to be impartial and have my very own garage.”

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