“The most meaningful thing for me working with SNA is that children are able to walk on the road safely and become smart and cautious pedestrians.”
After the sudden loss of his father, who was hit by a bus in 2012, Mesganaw Bimrew founded Save the Nation Association (SNA) with a mission to make school zones on busy roads safer. With funding from the US Embassy, five primary schools in Addis Ababa were selected as project implementation sites. Portable billboards remind drivers to slow down, volunteer crossing guards and blind students wear reflective vests, and flashlights are distributed to students who attend night classes. All students at targeted schools receive road safety education. Anecdotal evidence reported by teachers indicated that there were fewer students injured at the schools over a 6-month post-intervention time period.
Mesganaw became an Advocate so that he could strengthen the impact of SNA projects. Power mapping and networking give Mesganaw greater confidence to approach key donors and decision makers. New approaches to advocacy help to promote policy changes on helmets, child restraints and enforcement of laws, and to highlight the need for lower speed limits and the importance of protection for disabled people on the roads. SNA will expand their reach to 10 more schools in 2017. Through this work, Mesganaw wants to address the main challenge in Ethiopia—to raise awareness about road safety in a way that builds political will and donor support.