Episode 7: Naomi Mwaura – Creating Safe Public Transportation in Kenya


A note before we begin.  Please be advised this episode may be triggering for some listeners.  In this episode, there is a conversation about assault, sexual violence, and harassment.  Listener discretion is advised.

Public transport can be a valuable service to a community, and it can provide a unique and fun experience for workers and passengers alike.  But depending on where you are—or in some cases, who you are—this isn’t always the case.

Hello everyone, and welcome to the Humanitarian Entrepreneur podcast.  My guest today is Naomi Mwaura. 

Naomi is a Global TED speaker with over 10 years of experience running not-for-profit organizations.  She is the founder of Flone Initiative, an organization working to create a safe and professional public transport industry in Kenya. Flone Initiative has worked with over 3,000 public transport workers, over 100 transportation stakeholders, and 1,000 women professionals to implement interventions.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • The challenges of public transport in Kenya
  • How Naomi’s organization is able to address these challenges to help women feel more supported as workers and as riders
  • The value of self-care when working in a nonprofit with the darker side of humanity
  • And much more!

If there’s someone that you know who is just starting on their entrepreneurial journey in the nonprofit space, please share this episode with them.  Together, we’ll change the world on our own terms, we’ll question everything, and we won’t just accept what is being handed to us and what we’ve been told to be true.

And be sure to leave us a review wherever you’re listening.  Thanks for joining me on this ride, and enjoy my conversation with Naomi!

In This Episode:

[01:22] – An introduction to our guest today, Naomi Mwaura.

[02:34] – Naomi discusses her feminist perspective of the public transport industry in Kenya.

[04:40] – We hear about the public transport culture of Kenya and how riding on colorful matatus is a part of life.

[07:03] – This is how Naomi is addressing Kenya’s broken system of public transport.

[09:45] – Kenya’s public transport industry has issues with harassment, public stigmatization of the women working in the industry, and sexual violence.

[10:35] – How do women navigate the city if they don’t feel safe riding on matatus?

[12:45] – We learn what Naomi’s organization is able to do to help women to feel more supported as workers and riders in Kenyan public transport.

[15:20] – These are the challenges Naomi faced when first starting her organization.

[17:01] – The future of Flone Initiative, according to Naomi.

[18:52] – Naomi gives her advice for those who have the calling to start a nonprofit.

[22:13] – What Naomi wishes she knew when she first started out working in the nonprofit space.

[25:27] – Naomi shares her tips for self-care.

[28:23] – A professional third-party individual, like a therapist, can act as a neutral sounding board for helping people work through difficult experiences when working with the darker side of humanity.


Website – Humanitarian Entrepreneur

Instagram – Humanitarian Entrepreneur

Connect with Naomi

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Donate

TED talk:  go.ted.com/naomimwaura

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