Women employed as motorbike taxi drivers in Rwanda

A project employing women to drive electric-powered motorcycle taxis is being launched in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali.

Male drivers currently dominate the sector.

The first group of 120 women has just finished three months' training on riding as well as maintaining the new bikes.

The project both challenges people's perception of women and is hoping to improve the environment.

Ornella Uwobasa, who trained the women, says they want “to change the mentality” to show that women can do the job.

“We want to see women on the roads, and everyone to know that women can work on the road,” she tells the BBC.

The project, jointly owned by the city authorities and a private company, is aimed at employing poor women who are given the motorbikes for free.

The city's vice-mayor, Martine Urujeni, said the project will cut carbon emissions and reduce unemployment.

“We focused on vulnerable women like single mothers - divorced and widows - because we want to improve their lives.”

Around 35,000 motorbike taxis are registered in Kigali but most are operated by men.

Rwanda encourages the use of electric motor vehicles but their numbers are still low, with only 150 registered so far this year.