Safe Schools Africa launched at celebrations for the FIA Foundation’s 20th anniversary in London

22 June 2022

During celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the FIA Foundation, in the magnificent surroundings of London’s historic Banqueting House, Amend’s new Safe Schools Africa program was launched with an initial € 1 million in seed funding from the FIA Foundation.

Click to watch a video about Safe Schools Africa

Safe Schools Africa will take Amend’s proven-effective lifesaving school area infrastructure to scale across Sub-Saharan Africa via development bank financed roads projects.

Sub-Saharan Africa has the world’s highest road traffic injury rates, and rates are increasing as the continent develops, urbanizes and mobilizes. However, roads are a cornerstone of economic development, and so governments across the continent – supported by development partners – are investing heavily in developing their road networks. Billions of US dollars are invested in roads projects in Africa each year.

But the safeguards that have been developed by the World Bank and other development partners in an attempt to ensure that roads are designed and built safely are often insufficiently implemented, for reasons including lack of political will, lack of local capacity and challenges with procurement. While no-one – from countries’ presidents to development bank staff to government officials, consultants and contractors, to teachers and parents – wants children to be killed and injured on the roads, the current incentives and processes in the road development sector are inadequately aligned to put the necessary focus on road safety.

This is where Safe Schools Africa will help, by providing the expertise to save lives on Africa’s roads today while building the capacity of governments, consultants and contractors to incorporate child and vulnerable road user safety into their future projects.

Safe Schools Africa is built on the foundations of Amend’s award-winning SARSAI  – the School Area Road Safety Assessments and Improvements program. Through SARSAI, we have improved pedestrian infrastructure around over 80 schools in nine countries across Africa, installing footpaths, speed humps, road signs and more. A multi-year, population-based impact evaluation of SARSAI, carried out by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2015, found that the program results in an over 26% reduction  in injuries among children and a reduction in the severity of injuries that do occur.

Amend’s Ayikai Poswayo at the launch of Safe Schools Africa

Safe Schools Africa is a collaboration between Amend and the FIA Foundation, with the support of the World Bank and the African Development Bank, among others. The program will provide proven-effective, targeted technical assistance on roads projects in Sub-Saharan Africa to ensure that roads are designed and built safely for children and other vulnerable road users. In doing so, it will deliver safe and healthy journeys to school for children across the continent while building capacity for long-term, systemic change in the processes that currently result in roads that kill African children at rates much higher than their peers in wealthy countries.

As well as reducing the risk of deaths and injuries, improving safety for pedestrians and other vulnerable road users has environmental, social and health-related benefits. Walking and cycling are solutions to multiple transport-related issues. Delivering safer roads supports climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts by promoting active mobility, reducing both greenhouse gas emissions and local pollution.

Speaking at the launch, Amend’s Program Director, Ayikai Poswayo, said “I have seen first hand how road traffic injuries affect children and their families, causing great suffering across Africa. At Amend, with the support of the FIA Foundation, we have been running our safe journeys to school programme for a decade, helping to improve safety through infrastructure interventions around schools. We are delighted that we can now scale up our work through Safe Schools Africa, applying the same principles of people-centered design on large-scale roads projects across the continent.

Said Dahdah, Head of the World Bank’s Global Road Safety Facility and Global Lead for Road Safety at the World Bank, put it succinctly, saying, “The World Bank will no longer design roads for cars. We will design roads for people.”

To learn more about Safe Schools Africa, please download the Prospectus on the program here.