Female bus Conductress_ Zambezi FM_ August 2016

Date: August 2, 2016
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Name of the story: Female bus Conductress

Name of the station: Zambezi FM

Country: Zambiaa


Brief description of the item of work you submitted and motivation of why it is a good example of gender awareness and sensitivity in advancing gender equality Post-2015.

This is a Radio piece I did about a woman who is a bus Conductress – which in Zambia is a male dominated job. Her peers call her Mbesuma but her real names are Brenda Mulonda. Her role as a bus Conductress is to shout calling people to come get into her bus, and when it gets full. She gets in too and stands at the door charging passengers bus fares and generally attending to them in as asking where they are going or disembarking from, opening the door and loading all the language they may have.

Her role is not driving but merely calling people to get on the bus, charge them, assist them with any language they have, direct them where to sit and helping them get off the bus by telling the driver to stop and she helps them out.

She stands all the way for a distance of over 20 kilometres and has to load again when they get to their destination heading back to Kitwe town – in short; she has little time to rest from 5am until late 8pm or 9pm when she knocks off.

This is a good example of gender awareness because the person involved is female and doing a male dominated job. Besides, this is her only job where she gets an income.

This piece aired on Zambezi FM Radio based in Livingstone, Zambia. The station streams too and I am based in the capital Lusaka.


Why did you produce the story? What problem or context is it responding to?

I did this story because it is unusual and new in the Zambian set up to have a female person taking up such a role. Mostly men involved in this job have to be tough, vulgar, arrogant, untidy, lucking respect and other negative aspects, but her being female and working with men considering that that job is considered in the negative and tough for women, I wanted to tell her story and encourage other women to take up any job that men do. In addition, true to it, after being in her bus and seeing how she attended to passengers including me, I discovered she is different and unique in her work. She is extra ordinary in her duties, dress code, and good approach to clients and respectful.

It is trying to respond to norms surrounding the job that women cannot do such a job but only men alone can. So women upon hearing this can get encouraged to take up the challenge.

It is responding to gender equity and that women can do what men are doing without challenges and further some women can do even a better job than some men.

Key objectives

What did you hope to achieve with this coverage?

I wanted to tell her story for women get encouraged and take up such roles. Further, wanted to make her a role mode to other women and young girls that not all hope is lost if one does not do well or drops out of school.

I wanted to uplift this woman’s stature in society by portraying her hard work to being something yielding positive results in her life. This was also done to encourage the protagonist to push further in life.

I further wanted to break the negative perception some people have that women cannot perform certain roles.

Target audience

Whom did you hope to reach? Did you succeed in reaching this audience? What evidence do you have to that effect?

I targeted all women especially those that feel vulnerable or low in society’s standing. I also targeted young women that are having challenges in life and tell them not everything can be lost when they find challenges in life.

Further to encourage women not to resort to doing illicit activities such as engaging in prostitution, drug dealing, stealing or extra marital relationships for them to earn a living, but that through such hard work and determination they can make it too in life.

Yes, I managed to reach my targeted audience in that most people in Livingstone where my station is based listen a lot to

Zambezi FM Radio (My station) and the evidence is that some people like Civil Society organisation that deal with women issues was interested in the story and commented.

How did you go about producing the programme?

How did you gather the data, how many sources, female and male did you consult? Why did you choose these sources and how were their voices important?

I gathered my data through getting on her bus and observing how she was attending to us as passengers, then I did an interview with her immediately after getting of the 20 kilometres journey I was on (from Kalulushi to Kitwe).

I had two women (herself and Zambia largest Women’s movement called Non-Governmental Coordinating Council) and a man who happens to be a colleague from the same station where she operates.

I chose to use her as the main person, to speak for herself then I got a man she works to give an account of her works. If men have any challenges working with her, (of which he said none of them have had a challenge working with her for the last eight years she started) these were key voices in this piece because they completed and made the story balanced.


What impact did it have? What evidence do you have to illustrate impact?

Please provide any examples of feedback that you received from the articles (from websites, letters, etc.)

I received phone calls from women movements saying it was a nice piece and that I needed to do more of such. In addition, my Editor was impressed with the article.

Attach all relevant feedback documentation here:

Follow up

How would you conduct a follow up to your story and why?

I interviewed other CSOs just to add more emphasis to the piece and the greatness of this woman. Moreover, these were done after the piece had aired. I did this because I want to see and know that women are not just being taken as second class to men. They can do and achieve that which men can and are.