Mobility and Connectivity: A Sustainable Development Goals Game Changer

On Day 2 of the Social Innovation Summit 2015 held in Washington, DCFord Motor Company, the Institute of Corporate Responsibility (ICR; of George Washington University), Save the ChildrenWorld Vision, and the Global Partnership Forum convened to showcase the group’s plans for launching the X-Car Mobility Project.

The X-Car Mobility (X-Car) Project is a collaborative program integrating Ford Motor Co. cars into international social development programs of partner organizations to deliver social services to global communities, doing so in a way that creates “business-like” models for coordinated, effective global social development. With the undercurrent of X-Car being that of collectively enhancing the shared goals of partner organizations in a cost-effective and innovative manner, the project is guided by its signature Social Innovation Model for Partnership (SIMPle) Approach, in which the pilot and future X-Car projects will all employ key elements: bundled services, self-financed and “franchisable.”  

In his welcoming remarks, Dr. John Forrer, Director of the George Washington Center for the Study of Globalization and Director of the George Washington Institute for Corporate Responsibility, stated "the X-Car Mobility Initiative is founded on principles of modern corporate social responsibility; merging the worlds of business and impact to create market-oriented approaches to solving social challenges."

Mr. Thomas Niemann, Social Sustainability Manager at Ford Motor Company, referenced that "Ford's interest in this project is not exclusively altruistic, nor is it simply bottom-line focused- it is the intersection of the two that has the power to influence change."

A Ford Motor Co. car, effectively the “X-Car”, will be equipped with flexible technology to adapt the car to deliver and bundle the particular services needed in a given setting, including healthcare, water, educational, power, financial, and other services. X-Cars will be integrated into the existing technical and management structure of partners programs, enhancing their social impact. Current plans are to deploy X-Cars initially in several African countries, but with the vision to solidify this project into a model that has the ability to be replicated and transported to multiple global settings. 

In addressing the importance of partnerships, Ms. Nazanine Scheuer, Senior Director, Partnership Innovation and Strategy at Save the Children US, stated “in order for the children we serve around the world to have a better future, at Save the Children we seek opportunities like this project, to develop innovative partnerships and deliver impact at scale.”

The Executive Director, Global Social Partnerships at World Vision, Ms. Cheryl Self noted that "World Vision has seen the importance of private sector partnerships for decades; now, with this unique arrangement of actors, we envision an exciting new dimension to our existing community development projects in South Africa and beyond. We anticipate enhanced impact and effectiveness, bringing added improvement to the lives of people living in extreme poverty."

Global Partnerships Forum Chairman, Amir Dossal commented "Partnerships are not just about a shared endeavor between entities, partnerships like the X-Car Mobility Project focus on what already works in each partner's world and unite them to truly influence a shared goal.  We need more of these innovative partnerships in order to accelerate achievement of the SDGs. "

Launching the pilot program in the Fall of 2015, X-Car looks forward to sharing results of the project’s launch later this year. 

To learn more or find out how you or your organization can get involved, please contact Dr. John Forrer, Director of the ICR,

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