Brian's Column: Reporting back from 4th Annual Road Safety Conference

Brian's Column: Reporting back from 4th Annual Road Safety Conference

As you are aware, one of the core activities of YOURS is Advocacy and Awareness where we strive to be' the authority' of Youth and Road Safety matters on a global and regional level while inspiring, connecting and uniting young people and youth-led NGO's active in the road safety field around the world to work together and easily share information and experiences. Our regular columnist Mr. Brian Bilal Kanaahe Mwebaze from Uganda reports back from a successful mission to Namibia focusing on youth and road safety-opportunities presented by the social media era. Read on!

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Booom! Welcome to the November article! You wont believe it! Will you? It’s already nearly a month to Christmas, yes, that’s right! Jesus is gonna be born (again) and yes, an undisputed work/study holiday break! Hoping every one from all corners of the globe is 110% ready and hungry, let’s get rollin.

You will be happy to note that atleast 48 organisations/institutions from 50 out of 58 countries in Africa have already registered to celebrate the World Day of Remembrance of Victims of Road Traffic Crashes on 16th Nov 2014. Whatcha you waiting for? Keep your eyes glued to http://worlddayofremembrance.org/ for more details.

Wait, we were talking about Namibia right? Yes…ok!

 

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(Left)Brian doing Live TV Interview with NBC TV crew and (right) with other international and national speakers responding to questions from the audience after the presentations.

It’s not common to write to organizers of such big functions as the 4th Annual Road Safety Conference (ARSC) 27-29 October 2014 at the Windhoek Country Club and Resort to respond when you email them about the need for ‘youthfulness’ in such functions. I was kinda surprised to receive an acceptance letter from the Secretary of Namibia Road Safety Council, Mr Tendekule as an international speaker on Opportunites presented by social media for the African Young Person & Road Safety! Mr. Ambrosius Tierspoor whom I met during the GRSP Africa Seminar in August 2014 helped in the follow up. Now, you know again why YOURS emphasizes on networking. (clears throat)

The 4th ARS Conference organised under the theme Building common understanding towards the implementation of the Safe System Approach in Namibia, had speakers focusing on the importance of Road Safety Awareness, the causes of problems on the road and ways in which these issues can be solved. It aimed to bring together road and transport industry professionals across Africa and the rest of the World. The Conference generally attracted a wide range of delegates including: Government road safety practitioners and Engineers, Policy-makers, Local government professionals, Academics in road transport and Consultants as well as Road contractors. Needless to say, young people.

Prime Minister, Dr. Hage Geingob, was the key note speaker along with the Mayor of Windhoek, Agnes Kafula, who welcomed the participants to the three day event. Eliphas Owos-oab, a road safety expert, spoke on the effects of withdrawn cases on the morale of traffic law enforcers, and possible remedies for these issues. He ensured that great efforts did exist to ensure road safety, and that it was the state’s obligation to administer justice. “The Namibian Government is serious about road safety.” He said, adding that the facilities, human resources and funding were there, but many factors influenced the behaviour of road users, such as system backlogs, and possible misappropriation of funds. This backlog (sadly)nincluded about 50 000 pending warrants of arrest since 2008 and about 1500 tickets issued daily. Other speakers of the conference, included head of City Police Chief, Abraham Kanime, Ambrosius Tierspoor and international speaker Martin Small, a global road expert and consultant, spoke about the integration of road safety education in lower primary, traffic law enforcement in the city, vehicle safety and road engineering interventions.

 

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(left Brian with Liana-the Namibian Road Safety Council Data Collection Officer. (right) Light moment with Johannes Namibian Road Safety Council Youth Officer after a meeting on how to establish a YOURS-like youth network in Namibia

When it came to opportunities presented by social media for an African young person, yours truly began the presentation with a compulsory audience dance of that ‘I love you Africa Song’ followed by quick introductions characterized by insightful photos and cartoons to Social Media to a lay person, The language of social media amongst young people in Africa, Young people and social media statistics, Milestones in YOUth participation in road safety Globally Regionally Nationally. Most of the highlighted opportunities circumnavigated around:

 

  • Mobilizing peers for #RoadSafetyThursday 
  • Blogging on Road Safety: (Blogosphere) with examples from Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria
  • ‘Selfies’ aimed at road safety- with examples from Egypt and Gambia
  • ‘Road Safety Facebook’ groups instead of ‘Party’ groups’ with examples from Zambia
  • Activate EMS Services, with examples from  Kenya Red Cross #IVolunteers
  • Download the right things: Informative and action oriented literature: YOURS Action Kit
  • Remember our fallen colleagues
  • Attend free webinars over skype
  • Working with Mass Media
     

You wont believe it until you download the presentation here: http://publichealthourconcern.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/download-african-youth-network-on-road-safety-presentation-at-the-4th-annual-road-safety-conference-october-2014-namibia/

The conference identifed ways in which the national strategy, the Namibian Chapter of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 can be aligned to the Safe System Approach. Very importantly, the conference allowed for audience feedback, as comprehensive public consultation is important and should happen before any decisions are taken. Some comments that came from the audience were who was to be blamed for the way taxi drivers behaved on the roads, the problems with overloading, the need for a traffic court, the criteria used to choose lower primary teachers for road safety, and how young people can play an active role.

"While the #MissionToNamibia was to ensure that voices of young people at a country regional and global level are felt by key decision makers, the mission will not be certified ‘successful’ until there is a sustainable, recognized youth network of young people for road safety in Namibia. This will be addressed by the forthcoming call for National Road Safety Youth Champions-Oooops! I’ve just let the cat out of the bag. Stay tuned for this too then!"

 

Stay safe!
Brian

Twitter: @BrianBilalK1

 Credits: 

  • Road Safety YOUth Activists from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Niger, Togo, Gambia, Egypt & DRC who participated in a consultative online meeting 18th Oct 2014
  • The Villager- Namibian Newspaper for the mentions
  • NBC TV- for the Interview and live streaming
  • Enos Mwakondage- for the photography

 

Links

Brian's Presentation