HAKOBU interview


これまで「なでしこドライバー」「女性ドライバー座談会」など、運送業界で活躍する女性をさまざまな形でご紹介してきたHaKoBu。今回はケニアから来日されたIsuzu East Africaの女性社長、Rita Kavasheさんへインタビューさせていただきました。ドライバー不足や女性活躍など、日本でもホットな話題について直撃!ケニアと日本にはたくさん共通点があるかも…?!!
HaKoBu has thus far featured women working in the transport industry in different types of articles including "Female Truck and Bus Drivers" and "Round Table Talk with Female Drivers." This time, we had an opportunity to interview Ms. Rita Kavashe, the female Managing Director of Isuzu East Africa. The interview covered topics such as shortage of drivers and active female participation that are also "hot" in Japan. The readers may find that Kenya and Japan have many things in common!
Isuzu East Africa リタ社長Isuzu East Africa 社屋


Rita Kavashe

教育学で学士号、経営学で修士号を取得。現在、ケニアのVISION 2030 DELIVERY BOARDの理事を務める。近年、ビジネスおよび社会に対する貢献が認められ、ケニアのケニヤッタ大統領より名誉あるMBS(バーニングスピア勲章)を受章。
Is a Graduate with Bachelors degree in Education and a Masters degree in Business. Rita also serves as a Director at of the Kenya Vision 2030 Delivery Board. The President of Kenya – President Kenyatta recently awarded Rita with the prestigious MBS (Order of The Burning Spear) for her contribution in business and community.

ケニアでも大問題の「ドライバー不足」Shortage of drivers is a major issue in Kenya as well

As we have mentioned in our past HaKoBu articles, shortages of drivers and mechanics is a very serious problem in Japan. The number of home delivery parcels is steadily increasing while the number of drivers is decreasing every year. What is the situation like in Kenya?

Isuzu East Africa リタ社長ドライバー不足の問題はケニアでも…
(Lack of drivers is a problem in Kenya as well…)

The situation is more or less the same. Securing competent drivers is a big problem in Kenya as well. We have an Isuzu customer, for example, whose fleet is 30% idling due to lack of drivers. This is a very serious challenge for business owners especially in public service transport. Drivers work on short term basis with no formal contract and may work for different employers at the same time.

I personally feel that we need a professional school for training drivers for different purposes (long-distance drivers, bus drivers, etc.).

So there are no organizations or bureaus that supply drivers in Kenya?

No. The only way to find drivers is by word-of-mouth, so it's a big challenge. A lot of companies train their own drivers, but once you train them, they can be poached by other companies… The driver has more power, and so he might leave you today and go to another person tomorrow. The same applies to mechanics as well.

―That is indeed a very serious situation… Are there any other actions you are taking regarding drivers?

Isuzu East Africaでは車の販売だけでなく、法人のお客様にはドライバーを弊社にお連れいただいて、車の運行管理、安全教育、車のトラブルシューテシングなどに関する研修をご提供しています。
At Isuzu East Africa, we not only sell fleets but also insist our customers to bring their drivers to us so that we can train them on handling of vehicles, safety, troubleshooting of vehicles, etc… These things are very, very important to the owner of the truck or bus. If the driver doesn't take care of the vehicle, it may have an accident or develop mechanical problems and be a cost to the owner.

女性の活躍について Women playing active roles in business

―現在Isuzu East Africaの社長として活躍されていますが、ビジネスにおける"女性の強み"は何だと思われますか?
―You are now playing an active role in the business community as the Managing Director of Isuzu East Africa. What do you think are the "strengths of women" in business?

Women's great strength is the ability to multi-task; the ability to do several tasks at the same time. For instance, at home woman is a mother, so she has to take care of her children. A woman is also an employee, and has to go to the office and work. In business, the ability to do several things at the same time is very important and women have that.
Perhaps women's upbringing prepares them to do several things at the same time. When I was a student, I went to school, but in the evening, I helped my mother with her house chores, so that experience itself, I think, was a training of multitasking skills.

Isuzu East Africa リタ社長「女性は仕事や家庭の色々な用事をすべき」ではなく、「だからこそ身につく能力がある」という発想に目からウロコ!
(Isuzu staff in Japan is enlightened at the interview to learn that it's not that "women should do several tasks at work and at home (so it's tough being a woman)," it's that "there is a great ability you can acquire as a result of that (so you can benefit from being a woman).")

Also, in terms of risk, women tend to be a bit more cautious about risk, which is good for business. When they're making an investment decision, they consider risk from multiple angles, and they're able to reduce the chances of risk. I think this risk-cautiousness women have is very meaningful for business.

―What is your impression of Japanese women at work?

My view is that Japanese women are very dependable, humble, and hard-working. They are very hospitable, too. When we bring customers here, the women that support us from start to finish, committed all the way. It's like the program was made in heaven because it's not easy to find such a high level of dependability. They're very reliable, so I really appreciate that I can work with Japanese women.

Isuzu East Africaで、何か女性のために取り組んでいることはありますか?
―In Japan, people are calling for a greater role of women in the Japanese society.
Is there any specific program you are working on for women at Isuzu East Africa?

Isuzu East Africa リタ社長女性会議のメンバーとリタ社長
(Women's council main member and CFO)

「Isuzu East Africa Women's council(女性会議)」があります。私自身が議長となり、これは、"女性による女性のための組織"はなく、"女性による会社、社会全体の為の組織"で、様々な議題や活動について議論されています。その中で、「働きやすい会社」を求めて女性社員が抱える問題について話し合い、会社と交渉することもあります。
We have the "Isuzu East Africa Women's Council." This is not a "female group established for women," but a "female group established for the company and community." I'm the chairperson of the council and we discuss about various topics and activities. Among other agenda items, we talk about issues female employees have in pursuit of "employee-friendly work environment" and sometimes even go further and negotiate with the company.

Also, we have several programs that relate to professional development of women so that they can be able to take up a senior role or position in the workplace.

Isuzu East Africa リタ社長教育への大きな関心・熱意を語るリタ社長。ご自身も、キャリアや家庭環境を良くする努力を重ねてこられたのでしょうね。
(Rita shares her great interest and passion towards education. We believe she made a lot of effort to improve her career and work-life balance.)

私自身、"控えめな仕事"からステップアップし、女性も十分に活躍できることを示してきました。(プログラムを通して女性社員も)昇進し、取締役になれるかもしれません。さらには、他社の上級職に就ける可能性もあります。私も自社だけでなく他社の取締役会メンバーになっていますが、Isuzu East Africaの女性社員たちを同じように育てていきたいですね。
Personally, I have grown as a woman from a "humble job" to a senior job, and my career speaks for itself that women can play an active role in the business. (Through development programs), female employees may grow to be able to be board members. It's also possible for them to have senior positions in other companies. I serve in several other boards, other than the board of Isuzu East Africa. It's my responsibility now as a leader to develop other women in the workplace.

母として、社長として As a mother, as a Managing Director

―How do you manage to balance your role as a Managing Director and your role as a mother?

I've grown my career from a small job to a big job of Managing Director, and you can imagine the demand of time in that role has been immense. But I try to use the little time that I have left to spend it with my children.

Isuzu East Africa リタ社長タイムマネジメントは、常にはたらく母の課題!
(Time management is always a challenge for a working mother!)

The key thing for me is creating the time. If I have an important school event that I must attend, then I put it as part of my day program and go to school. I want to give my children the support that they need to feel comfortable that their mother is involved in their interests as well.

―What are some of the things you would like to work on as a female leader?

I would like to create in the workplace an environment where employees can spend more time with their children.
In Kenya, the law allows women to take maternity leave for three months, and you can extend up to six months. Men are also allowed to take two weeks of paternity leave to encourage them to support women at the time of birth. But we don't have a long-term leave like the childcare leave in Japan.
For female employees who want to breastfeed, I would like to give them the opportunity to go home and do so.

≪Hearing that the interviewer had taken 2 years of childcare leave before returning to work≫
I will bring that conversation to the table when I go back to Kenya!

―I suppose supporting female employees in workplace will be a challenging initiative for you.

Isuzu East Africa リタ社長「本当は東京にもう一泊したいけど、週末は子供と過ごす大切な時間!」とリタ社長。「皆さんは明日休日ですよね…(いいなぁ)」と言いながらケニアへ帰国されました。
("I would love to stay one more day in Tokyo. But it is very important for me to spend time with my children on weekends," says Rita before going back to Kenya. "You have a holiday tomorrow... (how nice!)")

ええ。私がこの議題を提案したら、Isuzu East Africaの他の役員たちもきっと理解してサポートしてくれるでしょう。
Yes, if I raise this conversation, I'm sure that the other executives of Isuzu East Africa, will understand and support.
How to spend more time with our children. This is a big issue many women need to tackle. While providing support to women and help them come back to work is important, it is also important that we have a flexible environment within our company and in Kenya.

―So in the future, please let us help you promote activities like that.
Thank you very much for your time today.

Thank you!


Ms. Rita Kavashe is playing an active role as a female leader in Kenya which shares many common challenges with Japan. She says that in her private time, she enjoys gardening and jogging to relax and gain energy for work. During the interview, we sensed softness in her strength and her straightforward eyes left a strong impression on us!