In Zimbabwe, a fleet of Hambas – electric tricycles designed for women – are helping farmers to get their business moving. Mobility for Africa manufactures the vehicles, loans them to farmers, and also takes care of batteries, charging and swapping, and repairs. Women are using their Hambas to get milk and other products quickly to market. The tough and reliable tricycles help users save time and boost their incomes.
Mobility for Africa’s 190 Hambas are serving three communities, with a charging station in each. The service is designed for areas with a limited electricity supply, where power might reach a town or village centre, but not individual households.
Hambas are designed for women – drivers and riders don’t need to straddle the vehicle. Each Hamba can travel for 100km on a single charge of MFA’s bespoke batteries, with a carrying capacity of up to 400kg. Their rugged design includes a steel frame and 12-inch wheels – perfect for tough terrain.
At charging stations, empty batteries are swapped for fully charged replacements, so there’s no need for the vehicles to be off the road for long. The vehicles are assembled in Zimbabwe, from parts manufactured overseas.
Cultural barriers can stop women in rural Zimbabwe from learning to drive – Mobility for Africa works to change attitudes and also offers a five-day driver training course to get Hamba users up to speed.
The Hambas are leased to groups of farmers in Chipinge for an affordable 30 USD each a month. Mobility for Africa also partners with NGOs and government bodies to supply the vehicles. As well as taking farm produce to market, some drivers use their Hamba to offer a taxi service to their neighbours – and they are also used by rural healthcare workers. Mobility for Africa also creates transport and logistics fleets for organisations in the agribusiness sector.
Drivers make the most of their vehicles
Betty’s neighbour Pauline Ndlovu is also a dairy farmer. Before getting access to a Hamba, she had to carry 20 litres of milk 7km to the nearest milk collection centre, making the trip twice a day. Betty was sometimes too tired or lacking in time to carry out this journey. She estimates the vehicle has raised her income by up to 120USD a month.
Another neighbour, Grace Mhlaba, boosts her dairy farming income with work as a nurse aid in a local clinic. The ways she uses her Hamba include taking patients to the health centre and offering a taxi service to fellow healthcare workers, taking them to and from work for a small fee. It has also spared her daughters from having to go out to search for firewood and water – something that used to take up to four hours a day.
1 November 2023
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