Findings by the Automotive Vocational Training Centre (AVTC) in Yaounde show that most taxi drivers function as if they are in a no man’s land. Not only are they indifferent to make the daily income destined for their bosses, but they feel maltreated especially when they are obliged to respect the laws put in place. According to the Managing Director of AVTC, Nsoh Kingsly Chi, after an investigation, it was realised that the working environment of taxi drivers shaped their mentality in a manner that the society saw them as bad and recalcitrant. As such, the Yaounde III Council in partnership with AVTC on Wednesday January 2, 2019 launched the project “Safe and Secure Taxis”. The project is aimed at training at least 1,000 taxi drivers in the city of Yaounde for free to become professionals and also to empower them with everything they need to better improve their lives, that of their families while contributing positively to the growth of the society.
Nsoh Kingsly Chi said the training, is not only a chance for change and success to a taxi man but also with an objective to make taxis safe and secure for everyone. The Managing Director of AVTC said they will use 28 modules to train the taxi men. According to him, they are out to change the mentality of taxi men towards external actors such as the forces of law and order. “We want to educate and create an understanding of the usefulness of the forces of law and orders to taxi men who until now believe they are against their success”, Nsoh Kingsly explained. Besides government actors, the taxi men will also be educated on how to interact with other drivers and pedestrians on the road. Another course during the training will be introduction to professional taxi driving. This is aimed at ensuring that taxi drivers understand that having a driver’s licence is not enough to be a professional but also understanding his/her working environment. Taxi drivers will also be schooled on attitudes and behaviours that ensure safe and responsible driving. Thereafter, the drivers will be schooled on the need to change their mentality.
It is a two-year project in which each driver needs to allocate four to five hours a week to attend training at the premises of Yaounde III Council. Nsoh Kingly said with support from partners, drivers who freely make themselves available for the training will benefit from other advantages such as foodstuffs, school fees and books for their children, toiletries and sponsorship for their children to work in China amongst other things. The Mayor of Yaounde III Council, Otele Etienne Manda told the taxi men present at the event not to be allergic to change but to embrace new beginnings in their profession and evolve.