“Pink Shuttle” and Driving School in Kabul. Safe mobility for Afghan women

In Afghanistan, one of the major obstacles to women’s emancipation presents itself in their difficult and restricted mobility, which greatly impairs their access to basic rights, such as the right to study and to work.

Public transportation is almost non-existent. Walking along the streets exposes women to all sort of risks, including harassment. The majority of the women are forbidden to cycle or drive motorcycles, to take taxis or buses driven by men. They are also prevented from getting a driving license, due to the high course fees and to the restriction on attending gender-mixed classes.
Free mobility is still a dream for Afghan women. Through this project, Nove Onlus is contributing to the realization of their dream.

The project comprises two components:

1) The “Pink Shuttle”, the first and only service in Afghanistan driven uniquely by female drivers for female passengers.
In Afghanistan, it is socially acceptable for women to drive other women, but any innovation for and with women demands caution. In order to reduce the potential risks for the targeted women, Nove Onlus provides the newly-trained drivers also with an experienced tutor for their first driving experience, following to the preliminary consensus by the Institutions, the traditional authorities and the broader community. Apart from covering the initial costs (i.e., fuel, insurance, drivers salaries), through its job & business advisory service Nove Onlus sets up, together with its stakeholders, a sustainable management plan, aimed at developing this shuttle service and helping it gain independence over the next two years.

2) The free-of-charge female driving school.
This component continues on from the driving courses implemented by Nove Onlus from February 2016 to November 2018 under the frame of the I am a woman and I want to work project, that allowed 195 women to obtain the driving license. A remarkable result, given the fact that in five years (2012-2016), only 1.189 women in total have gained their driving licenses in Kabul. The strong motivation of women to obtain the driving license is also shown by the success rate of the courses: 95% to 100% (according to the year) with a dropout rate 0,5 to 0. The activation of this component depends on the amount of funds available by June 2019.

The overall expected number of direct beneficiaries of the project is 150 women: 2 drivers and 100 regular users benefiting from the ‘Pink Shuttle’ service plus 48 attending the free driving course. The indirect beneficiaries are about 900 members of the direct beneficiaries’ families (considering the average Afghan family size). The image of Afghan women running a shuttle service or driving a car acts as a catalyst, prompting many more to follow the example. The sense of empowerment that such initiatives spread across the Afghan traditional society, represents a crack in the wall of subjugation in which the vast majority of the female population lives in.

Operational partners: Afghan Minister of Women Affairs, Traffic Department in Kabul, The Council of the Elderly

Sponsor: OTB Foundation.

For further information please contact project manager Elena Noacco.

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