27 November 2018, New Delhi, India: Yesterday 21 grassroots road safety NGO leaders from eight countries in Asia became the newest cohort of trainees to join the Alliance Advocates Program, a growing movement of NGOs that is championing a low-cost, evidence-based approach to road safety.
It is the first time that the Alliance Advocate training, organized by the Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety (the Alliance), has been run in Asia.
The trainees, known as Alliance Advocates, will strengthen their data, project management, and advocacy skills through a practical, innovative demonstration project. Today they collected road data around a school in suburban New Delhi — using the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP)’s Star Rating for Schools methodology — which they will use to identify actions that would radically improve student safety, and create an advocacy plan. On Thursday, they will present their plan to decision makers, including representatives from India’s Ministry of Road Transportation and Highways (MoRTH), local traffic police, and the World Health Organization (WHO). This will give them firsthand experience of presenting their case to those responsible for safer roads.
At the end of the training, the Alliance Advocates will take what they have learned and replicate the project in their own communities. We anticipate that at least 21 schools will have been assessed across Asia by April 2019 and that the Alliance Advocates will work with schools and local governments to extend the project across their cities. This approach could transform school journeys for millions of children who risk their lives every day to attend school along dangerous roads.
Since the program’s inception in 2015, 49 Alliance Advocates have been trained; successes achieved as a result of the training include reactivation of seat belt legislation in Tunisia (leading to a 35% reduction in road deaths in the first month), multi-sectoral partnerships, and award-winning media campaigns. The safe school element of the training was introduced in March 2018, and so far 18 schools in 13 countries across Africa have been assessed, with infrastructure implemented at a school in Mozambique; decision makers in Nairobi, Kenya, committed to implementing recommended changes; and national governments in several countries are showing interest.
Ms. Lotte Brondum, Executive Director of the Alliance, said: “Children in some parts of Asia are risking their lives every day on the way to school and back. The Alliance Advocates will implement realistic and effective action plans so that children don’t have to risk their lives to get an education. We encourage their governments to allow them to share their new knowledge and to work together with them to make schools across Asia safer. ”