Darwin Figuera

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2013


This profile was prepared when Darwin Figuera was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2013.
The New Idea
Darwin understands that the average Venezuelan driver receives little to no regulated training before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. While ranked 44th out of 222 nations in terms of length of roadways available in the nation, much of Venezuela’s roadways are unmaintained and therefore pose a threat to pedestrians and motorists alike.

Darwin launched the Center for Education Research and Road Safety (Ciesvial), a program that reaches beyond simply learning how to drive a vehicle safely. Through his program, Darwin hopes to change the vehicular culture of Venezuela. He proposes a massive new education program through the formal primary and secondary school system that reaches children on a national scale. These students will then become spokespersons for road safety in the home, allowing for families to further engage in the topic of vehicular regulations. Through this process, teachers will also be engaged and trained to teach the content. By creating a uniform curriculum that is officially endorsed nationwide, Darwin overcomes barriers in poor and ineffective knowledge sharing among the Venezuelan driver’s education program and allows for a better understanding of the realities of road mortalities. Darwin believes that communities will assert themselves and force state and local governments to act more effectively and efficiently to address this public health problem.

Darwin’s approach includes several additional facets that bridge many different groups and sectors and creates a unified coalition. Regarding the state, he proposes creating a law that obligates the education system to incorporate a drivers’ education program into elementary and secondary schools. Regarding the citizen sector, Darwin wants to recruit more families to fight for safer driving. He also hopes to incorporate motorcycle riders in this campaign and to help them, as well as taxi drivers, to become part of the solution to the driving problem, at the same time they break apart the social stigma around those two sectors. Finally, Darwin has been able to rely heavily on volunteers to advance his mission of making the roadways in Venezuela safe for all motorists.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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