Taxi social is facilitating mobility amongst members of a community
Taxi Social, led by Abdelkrim Boughoud, who is the co-founder of the Douiret Sbaa Association for Local Development is improving the mobility of nearly 50 families living in an isolated area. This area is a small douar called "Douiret-Sbaa", located at the foot of a mountain located approximately 220 km west of Bouarfa, off the province of Figuig, in Morocco.
For several years, the increasingly aging population of the Douiret-Sbaa, a heavily landlocked douar, is being challenged with the problem of mobility. In fact, the inhabitants, many of them facing reduced mobility, have no other option but walking a distance of 16 km. back and forth, regardless the weather conditions (sometimes under very harsh conditions), and carrying on their backs their provisions and purchases. Moreover, before arriving at their destination, they are obliged to hitchhike on a national road in order to get to Beni Tadjite, which is the nearest small town, located 34 km away. Because this is not at all a busy road, sometimes they have no other choice but waiting for many hours.
Abdelkrim explains that ¨they often need to go there, as this is the town where they can get supplies from the weekly market and sell their agricultural products, go to school, go to the doctor, acquire medicines, do administration tasks, participate in leisure activities or visit their families, amongst other activities¨.
Faced with such a long-lasting situation that continues to create new challenges, a citizen's initiative has spontaneously emerged among the local population in early 2013 and has gradually matured through periodic meetings organized by the Douiret-Sbaa Association of Local Development. This is how the project called ¨Social Taxi¨ was born.
Abdelkrim, who is eager in protecting the environment and engaging himself in boosting the development of the local economy, acknowledged long time ago that mobility was a real challenge in his community. He explained that ¨initially, it was thought to collect funding from contributions from members of the community itself for the purchase of a vehicle for the douar, which would facilitate the mobility of the inhabitants. But since the economic situation of the population is very precarious and the amount collected was too insufficient for such a purchase, the community has unanimously decided to provisionally hire an adapted vehicle which will ensure the journey once every fortnight. It also remains at the disposal of the inhabitants in case of urgent needs such as childbirth, medical appointments and family issues¨.
¨Taxi Social Douiret-Sbaa, is a vehicle with a capacity of 17 people, avoiding the use of other 17 cars¨, explains Abdelkrim. In addition, the project is helping to increase social interaction of youth in a community with few local social activities, building awareness on the importance of reducing CO2 emissions while traveling together and changing transportation habits to more sustainable ones.
¨I am very proud that the whole community was involved in that project and that SwitchMed considers that Taxi Social is a good practice and a pilot that could be replicated to other villages and communes¨.
Abdelkrim Boughoud, the manger behind Taxi Social
Abdelkrim Boughoud, the manger behind Taxi Social, is actively engaged in the field of voluntary and charity work in Morocco. Being a change maker and a key actor in various associations since 2002, he is the co-founder of the Douiret-Sbaa Association of Local Development that is being run together with a group of volunteers and was created in 2011. The Association promotes environmental awareness workshops amongst the members of the community providing guidance on how to innovate and use best practices based on what their ancestors did before.
Abdelkrim highlights that thanks to the SwitchMed training programme ¨I was able to acquire deep knowledge on the topic on the transversal issue of consumption and sustainable production, and it helped me to take this approach into consideration not only in the Taxi Social initiative, but also in all the projects of our association¨.