Madjiguène Samba, Female driver at UNOWAS and then!
Establishing oneself as a woman in a sector of trade traditionally reserved for men is not an easy task, particularly in Africa. But Madjiguène Samba knew with obstinacy and serenity how to twist the blow to this reality, often maintained by the male genius.
“I like driving,” she says with a smile that almost never leaves her lips. She started working as a driver in 2007. She was one of the top 10 female taxi drivers in West Africa. “At first, everyone was surprised to see me driving a taxi. It was not a profession that left room for women. Especially in Africa. »
Indeed, with the help of prejudice, some people could not have bet that this forty-year-old married woman could be a “yellow and black” taxi driver in a city like Dakar.
From this experience, Madjiguène has acquired a good knowledge of Dakar and a good knowledge of urban traffic. This allowed her to be recruited by UNOWAS, first as a contract worker in 2015 and then permanently in 2016, after competitive driving and mechanical tests.
Madjiguène is the only female driver in the entire United Nations system in Senegal
With a barely concealed determination, Madjiguène has been able to impose herself in this world which is generally the preserve of men. Today, she has found her place among UNOWAS’ team of drivers. Better still, Madjiguène is the only female driver in the entire United Nations system in Senegal. “I was welcomed when I arrived, and I feel like a family with my colleagues,” she says.
Now, as a professional female driver among her male colleagues, this woman who dreamed of being a great businesswoman, does her job with pride and without complexes: “Even if it is my job, and I am proud of it, I do not consider myself only as a driver. I like to interact with my colleagues at the office and with the visiting colleagues I drive during their mission in Dakar,” says Madjiguene.
As an act of recognition and trust, Madjiguene is designated by the office the driver of the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Amina Mohamed during her visit to Dakar in 2017, Madjiguene remembers as if it was yesterday the day, she welcomed the number two of the United Nations in her UN armoured vehicle. A moment of emotion and pleasure that Madjiguene will never forget. “Mrs. Mohamed was really surprised and happy to see me, she said it was the first time she had been driven by a woman,” Madjiguene says with a certain pride, while acknowledging the importance of the trust placed in her by her leaders to lead this kind of mission, not often easy.
If Madjiguene likes to drive, she also likes her role as a wife. She blossoms fully in what she does and manages to reconcile her work and her role as a wife: “After work, I go home quietly to manage my household well,” she said, adding” I thank god for having given me an understanding husband”!
Yes, like her male colleagues, Madjiguène is often called upon to work at night or to finish at undue hours depending on the tasks entrusted to her.
Madjiguène, a professional driver, is also a good example of the progress made by UNOWAS in achieving the objective of parity by 2021 initiated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
“Whether we are men or women, I remain convinced that we can succeed perfectly in all professions, as long as we have the qualities and skills required for the job,” Madjiguène concludes with a mischievous smile.