Our Work

Amend’s work includes population-based scientific studies and evaluations, road safety assessments, light infrastructure provision, the social marketing of reflector-enhanced schoolbags, road safety education, media campaigns, advocacy, custom-designed safety campaigns, and more. All of our work is evaluated for efficacy and impact.

Our wide-ranging road safety programs all have two things in common: a clear focus on preventing road traffic injuries in Africa’s highest-risk populations, and a scientific basis.

Science

Science

Amend evaluates our programs for process and impact, and conducts scientific studies into the causes, nature, and impact of road traffic injuries (RTIs) in sub-Saharan Africa.

Our studies can be as simple as a survey to measure schoolchildren’s retention of road safety lessons, or as complex as a multiyear, multi-country population-based impact evaluation into the effect of large-scale programs on RTI rates.

But whatever the methods and scale of our evaluations, our aim is always the same: to separate fact from opinion and significance from anecdote. And the only way to do this is via rigorous scientific studies.

Generally speaking, there is a limited scientific basis for road safety work in Africa because relatively little scientific work has been done in the area. With our studies, we aim to change this. And by spreading the studies’ results – via our programs and publication in peer-reviewed journals – others can benefit as well.

Papers & Fact Sheets

Please feel free to download the following papers and fact sheets that have resulted from our work:

Supporting the agenda for Safe and Sustainable Cities through Improving Child Safety on the Walk to School
(paper published in Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Transportation in Africa)
• Road traffic injuries in Kenya: a survey of commercial motorcycle drivers
(paper published in The Pan African Medical Journal)
• Road Traffic Injury on Rural Roads in Tanzania: Measuring the Effectiveness of a Road Safety Program
(paper published in Traffic Injury Prevention)
Paediatric road traffic injuries in urban Ghana: a population-based study
(paper published in Injury Prevention)
Road traffic injury incidence and crash characteristics in Dar es Salaam: A population based study
(paper published in Accident Analysis and Prevention)
Road Traffic Injury Characteristics on Low-Volume Rural Roads in Tanzania
(paper published in World Transport Policy and Practice)
Knowledge retention surveys: identifying the effectiveness of a road safety education program in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
(abstract of presentation at the 12th annual Bethune Roundtable)
Road Traffic Injury Incidence and Crash Characteristics in Dar es Salaam: A Population Based Study
(fact sheet)
Road Traffic Injury in Tanzania: Two Population-Based Studies
(fact sheet)
Road Traffic Injuries in Kenya: A Survey of Motorcycle Drivers
(fact sheet)

Infrastructure

SARSAI

Amend’s School Area Road Safety Assessments and Improvement (SARSAI) program is focused on reducing injuries around school areas in urban Africa where children are known anecdotally to be at very high risk of RTI.

SARSAI involves the systematic assessment of areas around schools, identification of measures to improve road safety, and the implementation of those measures. This work includes:

• Identification of schools at which children are at high risk of road traffic injury
• A standardized assessment of school areas that looks at the behavior of children, behavior of drivers and other road users, and physical infrastructure
• Government and community engagement
• Identifying appropriate measures to improve safety, based on the assessment
• Implementation of measures, including infrastructure improvements (speed bumps, bollards, sidewalks, signage, new school gates, etc.), crossing patrols, and community and school road safety education
• Monitoring and evaluation

Ideally, all roads and infrastructure are built with safety taken into consideration and are well maintained by governments. But that currently is not the case everywhere. Generally, in the school areas selected for SARSAI, children are injured in traffic at rates of more than 4% per year.

As Amend advocates for long-term measures to encourage safety, it is crucial to implement proven solutions that save lives today. SARSAI consists of simple measures that are proven to reduce injury rates.

Reflectors

Reflectors

In Africa, child pedestrians are among the most vulnerable road users. Amend’s See & Be Seen schoolbags increase the safety of child pedestrians by making them 400%-plus more visible as they walk on Africa’s dangerous roads.

Over a five-year period, Amend carefully piloted and evaluated a range of reflector-enhancement strategies for use by children in Africa. By far the most effective of these strategies has proven to be the social marketing of reflector-enhanced schoolbags. We distribute our See & Be Seen schoolbags via two methods:

  1. Sale, through three channels:
    • directly to consumers, at subsidized prices, in the areas hardest hit by RTI (almost always poor areas);
    • to existing bag wholesalers; and
    • to retailers.
  2. By giving the bags away to children at high-risk of RTI through our other road safety programs as well as corporate social responsibility programs.

We don’t sell the bags to make a profit, but to use market power to distribute the bags as widely as possible while recovering some of their production costs.

School Education

RSE

Safe road use is a concept that must be learned. Road safety education should be an integral part of all efforts to improve the safety of road users, and in particular of the most vulnerable users, especially children. To this end, road safety education is a key and ongoing part of Amend’s work, and has been since we first started working in Africa—in Ghana in 2006. To date, we have reached hundreds of thousands of children with our school-based road safety education.

We focus on providing road safety lessons in primary schools, as we know that young children, owing to their small size and underdeveloped perception skills, are at great risk of road traffic injury. However, we also provide education for secondary schools, communities, and street children who do not attend schools.

Amend’s lessons teach the basics of what it means to be safe when using the road. In order to ensure a focused environment, we teach a maximum of 50 children at a time. Using entertaining instruction and songs, classroom teaching and practical lessons, we provide tools to perpetuate learning in schools, which ultimately spread throughout communities. Our lessons are tailored to the audience and local road environment, but the basic messages include:

• How to be seen by drivers
• How to choose a safe place to cross
• How to cross safely
• How to walk safely along the road
• How to find a safe place to play, relax, or do business

Our lessons have been developed in partnership with independent education specialists and audited to ensure their effectiveness. We use teams of fully trained Road Safety Instructors who work under our in-country Program Managers. We always use local staff , who teach in local languages.

Part of the challenge of this work is to make certain that even when we are not on-site, road safety lessons are regularly reinforced. To do this, we stay in close contact with high-risk schools through the years. Knowledge retention surveys of our primary school program have consistently shown that children who receive our instruction have increased knowledge of vital road safety information that they retain even months after we visited their school.

Training of Trainers

T-T

Sometimes, the best way to leverage specialized knowledge and programs like Amend’s is to “train the trainers.” This means training – usually over a week or two – groups of trainers who then go on to train others in the program work.

For example: the TANZAM Highway links Tanzania with Zambia. As part of its rehabilitation, the contractor, Aarsleff-Interbeton Joint Venture, invited Amend to assist with providing road safety education for the communities along the road. Following an analysis of the road, we developed tailored lesson plans, focusing on the dangers of a major highway running through rural areas, as well as the specific risks that the communities would face during the rehabilitation period.

We developed lesson plans for young children and youths, trained a group of Road Safety Instructors employed by the contractor to deliver the lessons, and provided administrative support and advice during the delivery of the project.

After the initial training, we have gone back to retrain and refresh the knowledge and tools of the trainers as they carry on with their work educating communities about the road safety risks they face.

Similarly, we developed and implemented a school-based road safety program for an energy firm in five countries in southern Africa. We identified suitable local partners in each country and brought them together for a week-long training program conducted by Amend staff. After training, the partners went back to their countries and – using Amend’s model – recruited, trained, and deployed local Road Safety Instructors.

Community Work

Community

While the general population in Africa has the world’s highest rates of RTI, certain subsets of the population are at even greater risk. Those groups of particularly vulnerable road users include child pedestrians (who must walk by the sides of Africa’s dangerous roads, often in the dark) and motorcycle taxi drivers.

Amend custom designs programs to reduce injury among these high-risk groups. Our programs for child pedestrians are discussed in the Infrastructure and School Education sections of this page, so here we will give an example of a program we designed for motorcycle taxi drivers.

Motorcycle taxis are proliferating across Africa. These taxis are bringing with them the huge benefits of affordable transport to people who have never had it before. Unfortunately, with those benefits come shockingly high RTI rates. For instance, a study that we conducted in rural Tanzania found that of all road traffic injuries, more than 70% involved a motorcycle. Further, drivers of motorcycle taxis had a 63% chance of being injured over the course of a year. A similar study we conducted in Kenya found even higher crash and injury rates. This is a continent-wide problem.

In attempting to determine why rates of RTI are so high among motorcycle taxi drivers, we found through focus group interviews that the majority of drivers receive no formal training and have no driving licenses, motorcycles are poorly maintained, and drivers and their passengers rarely if ever use proven-effective safety measures like helmets and reflector-enhanced vests.

So, in collaboration with the Tanzanian Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA) and the Centre for Practical Development Training, we provided training to motorcycle taxi drivers in three rural areas. The training course included theoretical and practical elements, and covered the following topics:

• Road signs, signals, and markings
• Road traffic law and regulations
• Defensive driving
• Motorcycle documentation
• Practical driving
• Customer care and entrepreneurship
• Preventive maintenance

Having completed the training course, we assisted drivers in undertaking the necessary administrative tasks to obtain their driving licenses. All drivers in our program passed the course and obtained their licenses. We also distributed reflector-enhanced vests and helmets to drivers.

As with our SARSAI program, in the long run, countries that pass and enforce effective road safety laws will not need the provision of programs like the above. But as we advocate to work toward long-term solutions, we must also implement programs like this that will save lives today.

Media Campaigns

Media

Amend executes road safety media campaigns. One example is a project that we ran in partnership with the European Union Delegation to Tanzania and the Tanzanian Ministry of Transport.

The project comprised the development of a media campaign to increase road safety awareness (focusing on seat belt use and driver awareness of vulnerable road users) and to promote the EU’s involvement in road safety and the wider transport sector in Tanzania.

The project involved assessing the existing level of road safety awareness in Dar es Salaam and road crash contributory factors, as well as analyzing the media environment and reviewing previous road safety campaigns.

Through these tasks, we developed a media campaign that was broadcast via television, radio, newspapers, and roadside billboards. Post-campaign surveys determined that the program increased the general public’s knowledge of road safety in general and the importance of seat belt use in particular.

Advocacy

Advocacy

Advocacy can be an amorphous term, meaning different things to different people in different fields. For Amend, it means working to secure the political will at all levels for safe road transport for Africa’s future.

At the national level, this means working with local communities affected by RTI to determine what they can do to help make their communities safer. It means working with local, municipal, and regional governments to help them understand the risk their constituents face from RTI. It means working with national governments to help pass effective road safety legislation and make sure that the laws are enforced. It means working with the media to do more and better reporting around road safety issues.

At the international level, advocacy means making sure that the immense impact that RTI has in Africa is accurately understood in the halls of power in Europe and America, and that resources are properly apportioned. It means working with other NGOs across Africa and worldwide to strengthen our collective voice. It means disseminating the findings of our work to as broad and deep an audience as possible until road safety in Africa is a development priority on the level of HIV, malaria, and other diseases that take a comparable toll.

Much of our advocacy work has a longer time horizon than our other program work. By putting in speed bumps near a dangerous school, we can save lives today – and this is absolutely crucial work, to be sure – but changing how roads are built, maintained, and used from the earliest planning stages is ultimately how millions of lives will be saved across Africa over coming generations.

Custom Campaigns

Custom

In addition to the programs that we run and those that we implement with development partners like the UK’s Department for International Development and the FIA Foundation, we also partner with private sector actors to create customized road safety programs.

For example, we created a program for a mining company in Africa. The company realized that RTI rates were high in the boomtown that had sprung up around one of its mines and it wanted to do something about it. So, we designed a program to do the following over a two year period:

• Collect baseline data to determine RTI rates and patterns in the community
• Assess the program area and determine what combination of our programs would be appropriate for the locality
• Implement the programs while training the company’s staff to take over from Amend for long-term implementation
• Collect follow-up data to measure changes in injury rates and patterns

Another popular custom campaign with our private sector partners is the distribution of our reflector-enhanced See & Be Seen schoolbags. We can create the bags with specially designed fabric that features the company’s logo and distribute them at schools where children are at high risk of RTI, accompanying the distribution of the bags with our road safety education and a media launch event.

We are always open to helping companies find meaningful ways to demonstrate their commitment to road safety in the communities where they work.