Tips and Ideas: Holding Leaders Accountable

Through #CommitToAct NGOs around the world are securing SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timebound) commitments from their governments for safer roads. Find tips and tools for defining and securing commitments from your authorities and for maintaining accountability for commitments received.

Securing Commitments

1. Understand your overall policy and specific project goals

You need a clear vision for what you are trying to achieve: i.e. what the ultimate desired change is e.g. elimination of drink driving in Rwanda, and the incremental actions for which you are advocating and which will help you achieve it e.g. legislation to reduce blood alcohol concentration, purchase of x number of breathalyzers for the police, enforcement effort, crash investigation that incorporates breath or blood testing, a behavior change campaign, etc. Start with your overall objective and break it down, based on data analysis, best practice and experiences from other countries, and consultation with stakeholders, which could include government departments, hospitals, schools, other NGOs, community leaders and members, businesses, and academics.

2. Focus on leaders who can make the difference

While we all play a part in making our roads safer, responsibility lies with local and national governments to put in place the policies, enforcement, infrastructure, and services to prevent and deal with road crashes.

#CommitToAct therefore targets government commitments which can be at community, city, state, or national levels.

It is essential that the people/organizations making the commitments have sufficient authority, political will power, and the means to implement what they commit to. Powermapping can help you identify those people.

Identify champions who can support your demands within the organization or department.

RESOURCE: Powermapping webinar

3. Target SMART commitments

SMART objectives are:

  • specific
  • measurable
  • achievable
  • realistic
  • timebound

Example commitments could include (but are not limited to):

  • A new law or improvement to an existing law related to the Voluntary Targets or Save LIVES package: (e.g. 0.05 BAC limit for driving, 30km/h speed limit for urban areas, mandatory use of child restraint systems. etc).
  • Budget allocation and specific interventions to address a particular road safety problem in the community, city, state, or country
  • Specific changes outside one school or all schools in a city e.g. reduced speed limits, signage or pedestrian crossing
  • Breathalyzers or speed guns for the local police force
  • Detailed road assessment of a known blackspot and implementation to bring it to three-star standard
  • Local health service to provide psychological services for road victims and their families
  • A centralized emergency response phone number

RESOURCE: Commitment checklist

4. Work with your authorities to agree a commitment

Good commitments are the result of long discussions and negotiations.

Present your authorities with specific, relevant data to show why they should commit to the action you are requesting.

Data sources could include (but are not limited to):

  • Police, hospital, or government data on crashes, victims etc. Make sure that you use data that is targeted to the city/country/region that your demand relates to
  • Data from bi- and multi-lateral organizations (if it is sufficiently targeted)
  • Road or school zone assessments (for example, using the iRAP star-rating system)
  • Data you have collected yourself (if you have the capacity to collect it).

Work with your authorities to find solutions and agree an action that they can commit to.

RESOURCE: Action plan template

5. Secure a commitment

  • If the commitment is public, it is easier to maintain accountability. Consider organizing a public roundtable or event either physically or online and invite media and other local stakeholders. The groundwork should already have been completed and agreed at preparatory meetings making the public commitment a short, ceremonial event.
  • However, public events are not the only way to secure a meaningful commitment. What matters is that the commitment is agreed, by a person or organization that holds the power to do so, and that it is recorded in writing so that it can be followed up. Target as high an official as possible to make/sign the commitment.
  • Get a written version of the commitment. That could be a poster or banner, a letter, signed statement, or minutes at a meeting. The written commitment is your record to enable accountability.
  • Involve media. Even if you do not have a public event, share the commitment to enable public pressure to be maintained.

RESOURCE: Template commitment

6. Track the commitment

You can submit a commitment for the commitment tracker HERE. We will review it and if it meets the criteria of a SMART commitment made by government, we will upload it to the commitment tracker map.

RESOURCE: Commitment tracker

7. Maintain accountability

Accountability is key for a #CommitToAct commitment. It is not enough to get the commitment. It must be followed up until it is completed.

It is vital that you maintain communication with the authority making the commitment to make sure that it progresses. Review progress with them on a regular basis.

If progress is continuing well, congratulate them publicly.

If progress has stalled, work with the authorities to address the problems. If necessary and with careful consideration of why the commitment has stalled, you might need to bring public attention to the lack of progress.

Consider holding a follow up event (such as the Alliance’s Global Roundtable) to review progress where progress can be showcased and where difficult questions can be raised (if needed).

Make sure that you tell us, so that the commitment tracker can be updated.

Global Roundtable Toward Accountability for Safer Roads

In December 2020, the Alliance held a global roundtable with government leaders from Colombia, Vietnam, and the European Union, to follow up on commitments made at national or regional level through the 2019 #CommitToAct campaign. Watch it below.

Examples of Commitments and Follow Up

Argentina: Victim’s Observatory

In November 2019, Associación Madres del Dolor received a commitment from the president of the House of Representatives, the national legislative body in Argentina, to create a victims’ observatory, as a way for those affected by road crashes and other violent acts to work with Congress to create bills and change laws.


Rwanda: Gerayo Amahoro

According to official police data, road crash rates in Rwanda have decreased 17% since the start of Gerayo Amahoro (which means “arrive safely”), a road safety initiative spearheaded by the Rwanda Police Force in collaboration with Alliance member Healthy People Rwanda (HPR) who suggested and helped plan the campaign.


Nigeria: Safe School Zones

Following the Alliance Advocate training in Nairobi, Kenya, in April 2018, NGOs each targeted a single school to assess, using iRAP’s Star Rating for Schools methodology. Following the assessments, the NGOs took the results to local decision makers, seeking their commitment for specific interventions to improve the safety of children around the schools.


Vietnam: Safer Children and Helmets

Following the Alliance Advocate training in Nairobi, Kenya, in April 2018, NGOs each targeted a single school to assess, using iRAP’s Star Rating for Schools methodology. Following the assessments, the NGOs took the results to local decision makers, seeking their commitment for specific interventions to improve the safety of children around the schools.