Home Fleetwatch 2014 Iveco reaches down to the bottom of the transport ladder

Iveco reaches down to the bottom of the transport ladder

Qhubeka director Anthony Fitzhenry (middle) receiving two Daily vans from Iveco MD Bob Lowden (right) and marketing and network manager Christophe Longuet.

FleetWatch has so often stated that the trucking industry has a big heart and we came across this once again via the donation by Iveco of two brand new Daily panel vans to Qhubeka, a registered non profit organisation whose mission is to improve access to essential services through the provision of bicycles.

The vehicles will be used by Qhubeka’s trainer when he visits communities to teach the locals bicycle mechanics. “Our trainer, Des, can now take the bicycles, spares, tools and everything else he needs in the vehicle with him in one go. Essentially, the Daily has become his mobile bicycle mechanic training centre,” says Qhubeka director Anthony Fitzhenry.

And Iveco has not gone skimpy on the spec as the vehicles are kitted out with the latest technologies for driver comfort and safety, including air conditioning with automatic climate control and Daytime Running Lights (DRL). In addition, the new Daily offers the most modern active safety systems, namely ABS 9 plus EBD. The vehicles are also equipped with a convenient storage for tools and personal effects located above the driver’s and passenger’s heads.

Iveco has previously donated two other vehicles, a Daily and a Stralis truck, to Qhubeka and its partner, Wildlands Conservation Trust. Qhubeka helps rural people move forward and progress by giving them bicycles in return for work done to improve their communities. Having a bicycle changes lives by increasing the distance people can travel, what they can carry, where they can go and how fast they can get there.

Most of Africa’s rural population has no access to transport and people have to walk long distances to access opportunity, education, healthcare, shops and community services. Rural schoolchildren are particularly badly affected by lack of mobility.

In South Africa, of the 16 million school going children, 12 million walk to school. Of these, 500 000 walk more than two hours each way, spending four hours getting to and back from school each day. Bicycles are the most effective and economical method of quickly addressing this problem.

Editor’s Comment: I love this story but one might understandably ask: Is this really a transport story? Of course it is. In Africa, transport in rural communities starts off with ‘head-borne’ transport where people carry, for example, bundles of firewood from the veld to the markets on their heads where it is offloaded to be sold. The next step up the transport ladder is the wheel-barrow, then the bicycle, then the motorbike, then the bakkie, then a medium size truck and finally it reaches the big interlinks. It’s all about the mobility of people and goods and we congratulate Iveco on going down to near the bottom rung of the transport ladder via the donation of these vehicles. And isn’t the work Qhubeka is doing absolutely superb? Who knows where it may lead to: South Africa has a dire shortage of skilled mechanics and the training of rural people in the mechanics of bicycle maintenance may just ignite a spark in some of these youngsters to go further in the mechanical arena as they grow older. Yes. This is all the right stuff. Congratulations to both organisations.

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