Pink Shuttle. The only all-female transportation service in Afghanistan.

Kabul, Afghanistan, May 2019 – ongoing.

In Afghanistan, one of the major obstacles to women’s emancipation is the difficult and restricted mobility.

In Afghanistan, one of the major obstacles to women’s emancipation is the difficult and restricted mobility. Public transportation is almost non-existent. Walking along the streets exposes women to all sort of risks, including harassment. The majority of 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 fees and restricted from attending gender-mixed classes. All of this greatly impedes their access to basic rights, such as the right to study and to work, and obliges them to depend on the men in their family to organize even the simplest things in their everyday life.

Free mobility is still a dream for Afghan women. Through this project, the first and only all-female transportation service, Nove Onlus is contributing to the realization of their dream.

During the pilot phase, started in May 2019 and ended in March 2020, the project trained and hired 4 professional female drivers, the only ones in the whole of Kabul. On July 27 the drivers started the first regular service aboard minivans, helped by a tutor in charge of giving them technical and logistic assistance and to obtain the local community’s consent (in order to reduce any risk related to innovative activities involving women). The first clients were university and high school students and government employees: more than 100 women, each of whom has benefited from the service for a minimum of ten weeks (10.600 single rides in total were offered).

The consultant hired by Nove Onlus has then produced a feasibility study and business plan for the second phase, during which the Pink Shuttle is expected to move from a non-profit project to a real commercial service run by Afghan women.

The scheduled activities are:

  • Enlarging the fleet;
  • Training new professional drivers;
  • Widening the service to more areas of Kabul;
  • Around 46,000 rides per year.

Due to the lockdown the project was suspended from April to July. In August the preparatory activities resumed, and the second phase started with the purchase of new minivans and their transfer to Kabul. As of September 1st the service is operational again.

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 have spread across traditional Afghan society, represents a crack in the wall of subjugation in which the vast majority of the female population lives.

Sponsors: OTB Foundation, The Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation, USAid, Roddenberry Foundation, The Linda Norgrove Foundation, La terra di Piero Onlus.

For further information, please contact the Project Manager.

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