ON Thursday, 28th September 2017, the FIA Foundation and the Puma Energy Foundation launched a road safety program to protect children as they walk to and from school at Vera Chiluba Primary School. The two global foundations are working with an international NGO, Amend, and the Zambia Road Safety Trust (ZRST), to implement proven-effective road safety measures around primary schools in Lusaka, and also to work with government and other stakeholders to ensure the measures are implemented more widely across Zambia.
The FIA Foundation is a UK-based international philanthropy working to promote public health through a commitment to safe, clean, fair and green mobility. Saul Billingsley, Executive Director of the FIA Foundation said Amend and ZRST are working for some of the poorest, most vulnerable; children on the planet, children whose needs and interests are off the radar for most policymakers. Through effective coalition building and unswerving dedication to hard evidence, Amend is demonstrating that child road traffic injuries can be affordably prevented. The FIA Foundation is proud to continue our support and partnership.
The program includes a comprehensive assessment of the road environment and the implementation of simple, yet targeted measures known to be effective in improving safety by decreasing vehicle speeds and separating children from traffic, things like bollards (posts), signage, new school gates, footpaths, speed humps, and zebra crossings.
Over 2206 people were killed in 2016 on Zambian roads, an increase of nearly 100 percent since 2010. Almost half of those killed were pedestrians, including over 300 children. Child pedestrians are among the highest-risk groups in Zambia for road traffic injury. Unlike their peers in wealthier countries, the vast majority of school children in urban Zambia walk to school, and they usually do so unaccompanied by an adult. A child in Africa is twice as likely to die on the roads as a child in any other region of the world.
Honorable Brian Mushimba, MP, Minister of Transport and Communications said the government is committed to ensuring that the message of road safety awareness is ingrained in the younger generation. In our efforts to encourage greater community involvement, the strong support provided by socially responsible corporate partners has been invaluable. We are most appreciative of the FIA Foundation and Puma Energy Foundation for their continued support of road safety programs in Zambia.
The Zambia Road Safety Trust is working with Amend will improve pedestrian infrastructure – footpaths, zebra crossings, speed humps, road signs, and more – around primary schools, and will also provide road safety education to the schools’ pupils. A 2015-16 study into the effectiveness of such improvements in Tanzania proved that lives can be saved. The schools around which infrastructure will be improved in Lusaka, and the data from the 2015-16 study, will be used to demonstrate to government that lives can be saved in towns and cities across other countries such as Zambia.
Amend develops, implements and evaluates evidence-based programs to reduce the incidence of road traffic injury in sub-Saharan Africa. Amend works across the continent and has offices in Ghana, Tanzania and Mozambique. Jeffrey Witte, Executive Director of Amend said his organization was extremely grateful for the FIA Foundation and Puma Energy Foundation’s support for Amend’s work to save children’s lives on Africa’s dangerous roads. In particular, their support of evidence-based projects that take the long view of how to sustainably save lives on Africa’s roads is remarkable. He said they look forward to preventing injuries with the safe infrastructure they will deliver through this programme, while also using these lifesaving measures to demonstrate to governments that they, too, can – and indeed must – act to save the lives the most vulnerable citizens on their roads: children.
This work is part of an Africa-wide programme, which is being carried out in ten countries: Benin, Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, Tanzania and Zambia.
Through its partnerships with expert NGOs, selected on their proven capacity to achieve lasting, tangible and measurable results in their programs, the Puma Energy Foundation aims at contributing to the development of thriving communities, particularly in countries where its parent company, Puma Energy, operates. The Foundation focuses its support in the fields of safe and clean logistics and sustainable employment. Vincent Faber, Executive Director of the Puma Energy Foundation said the Puma Energy Foundation is strongly committed to improving the safety of Africa’s children on the roads. The Foundation was delighted to launch the new three-year road safety programme in Zambia in partnership with the NGOs Amend and the Zambia Road Safety Trust. They believe that the twin-pronged approach of implementing practical solutions on the ground as well as promoting sustainable safety solutions to policy makers, will help ensure safe and healthy journeys to school and a bright future for Zambia’s children.
The NGOs are working with a local engineering firm, Andosa Consulting Engineers, who designed and supervised implementation of safety measures around the Vera Chiluba Primary School.