Female Taxi Service. Kabul, Afghanistan.

In Afghanistan the Taliban are rising again stronger than ever whilst international support is weaker. In this situation women are still subordinated to men and often victims of violence. In fact, 68% are illiterate, and fewer than 16% have a paid occupation. ‘The emancipation of women’ means nothing in the light of a large number of female students, employees, mothers, professionals and business women whose mobility is severely limited as they are forbidden to sit in a car with a man who isn’t a relative, use any independent means of transport.

In order to contribute to the betterment of Afghan women’s life, Nove Onlus is planning a revolutionary start-up: a female taxi  service exclusively for and by women, the only one in Afghanistan.

According to the local culture it is acceptable for women to drive other women.  However, in Afghanistan any sign of innovation introduced by women needs to be considered with caution. Due to many terrorist attacks, kidnappings and threats in Kabul, this pilot initiative will employ all the security measures needed to guarantee women’s safety such as taking on a male member of staff for the initial phase in order to assist the newly-licensed female taxi drivers. It will also plan itineraries with the regular clients, for example, locations for pick-up and drop-off points (i.e. at the client’s house, office or university) to avoid long stops on the street.

The project also intends to acquire the support of local institutions as well as that of the elder’s council and other respected traditional authorities. Their involvement is essential to gain community-consensus and minimize the risks to female drivers.

Nove Onlus will provide technical assistance for the start-up, cover the initial costs and ease access to micro-finance in order to facilitate the growth of the venture and buy more cars.

The female taxi service will be realized by some of the former Nove Onlus’ trainees, who have themselves benefited from the organization’s project ‘I’m a woman and I work to work’  in collaboration with PADA. They ladies attended the driving classes and obtained the license. 

The project offers hundreds of socially or physically-disadvantaged women free professional training courses and an employment advisory service every year. It runs in collaboration with the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled. From 2016 onwards, the project has been offering driving courses for women, which enable the trainees to gain a licence issued by the Kabul Traffic Department.

Given the fact that during Taliban regime, women were banned from driving and those who disobeyed were sentenced to death, this project represents another small revolution, with a high impact on the female local population. For instance, in 2017, 25% of women who obtained their driving licence in Kabul (80 out of 350) attended Nove Onlus’ professional training centre for women.

For more details, please contact the project manager,  Susanna Fioretti

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