Today I am on the front lines of SARSAI, supervising the improvements and the material outputs that this programme has to offer. I like this work not only because I am protecting neglected young lives from road crashes on their walk to school every day, but also I am grateful for the appreciation that I receive from the public.
This month Amend partnered with Puma Energy in Tanzania to implement our School Area Road Safety Assessments and Improvement program at two schools in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – Mburahati and Bryceson primaries – where students are are high risk of road traffic injury. Thanks to Puma’s support, we were able to deliver crucial infrastructure improvements and road safety eduction to nearly 3,000 students.
This is a great example of a simple NGO-private sector partnership that can help save lives on Africa’s dangerous roads right away. Read more about the partnership on Puma Energy’s website.
This week Amend and the Road Safety Fund hosted a Policy and Donor Roundtable in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to discuss ways to advance the road safety agenda in the country and wider region.
The Roundtable was opened by British High Commissioner to Tanzania, Dianna Melrose who delivered the keynote speech. Kevin Watkins, Executive Director of the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) Chaired the Forum. It was the first time that such a wide range of major donors in Tanzania had gathered to discuss road safety. Among the organizations attending the Forum were the UK Department for International Development (DFID), USAID, the European Union Delegation to Tanzania, the World Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
As High Commissioner Melrose noted in her remarks, “Just last week we saw an appalling bus crash in Kenya in which 41 people lost their lives. That accident made headlines around the world. But the WHO estimates that the same number of people is being killed on the roads here in Tanzania every two days.”
It is our hope that the Roundtable served to educate and inform donors and policy makers about the impact that road traffic injuries are having across Africa and what can be done to prevent those injuries.
Two new studies of road traffic injuries on rural roads in Tanzania have found high and increasing injury rates on roads.
Amend conducted these studies with the support of the African Community Access Programme (AFCAP).
The most striking findings of the research come from injury rates among motorcycle taxi (“boda-boda“) drivers:
• Over 70% of all injuries suffered on rural roads involve a motorcycle.
• Boda-boda drivers’ injury rates are over fourteen times higher than the already-high rates among the general community.
• As a result of their work, boda-boda drivers have a 69% chance of being injured in any given year. To put this figure in perspective, that injury probability is more than 37 times higher than that of a motorcyclist in the UK.
This research is essential reading for engineers, decision-makers, donor partners and everyone else involved in the improvement and management of Africa’s road networks. Download the full fact sheet on the studies here.
Each year, more than 270,000 pedestrians lose their lives on the world’s roads, while millions are left with injuries or permanent disabilities. In Africa, where Amend works, pedestrians – child pedestrians in particular – are among the most vulnerable road users.
Pedestrian safety: a Road Safety Manual for Decision-Makers and Practitioners, jointly developed by the World Health Organization, the FIA Foundation, the Global Road Safety Partnership, the World Bank, and many experts from around the world was released this week, providing practical information on how to plan, implement and evaluate a pedestrian safety program.
Amend’s work in the social marketing of our See & Be Seen reflector-enhanced school bags is featured in the manual. You can download the manual here.
In an editorial in The Guardian, Amend’s Africa Director makes the point that “while safety is discussed in the conference rooms of five-star hotels, out on Dar es Salaam’s roads people die every day” and that development in Tanzania and the rest of Africa must not come at the expense of the most vulnerable road users.