Kenya's 1st female locomotive driver

Added On August 6, 2019

The Mombasa-Nairobi SGR stretches 480 kilometers.It was built at a cost of 3.8 billion U.S. dollars, with 90 percent financed by China.
Concilia Owire has been working as the first female driver since its inception.
Before she became a locomotive driver, Owire was picked among many eligible candidates to be trained by the Chinese railway construction company China Roads and Bridge.
"I started working when I joined the railway training institute, back in 2016, I was trained there for around 4 months and was sponsored by company CRBC to China to go further my studies. We came back in 2017 on March, by then we were preparing to launch the line Mombasa-Nairobi line and I also continued practicing this time and on maiden trip I was delegated to drive the train."
Owire said that infrastructure projects such as the China-built railway have boosted economic development and offered opportunities for electrical engineers like herself to be trained as locomotive technicians.
"Actually my family has benefited so much because the line runs from Nairobi to Mombasa, and my family travels so much to the coastal side Malindi. This one has improved the transportation costs for them because of timing, the timing has been short compared to the road transport and much cheaper as compared to road transport. For my friends they really like it, the coast is fun, so they use it a lot."
Owire said she appreciates the chance of training in China. She is passing on the knowledge she acquired to others.
"Now I am also a team leader, the passenger train team leader so I am in charge of training others concerning the working conditions and how we do services in the passenger train so I conduct classes once a week."
"I have really received so much support from my family and the country at large, and when you have this kind of support you have to give your best. This job as I said earlier is really challenging. It's more kind of a male-dominated job, but the support you get from family, friends the country, you have to make them proud. And also people are looking up to you so you give them your best."