In July 2017, we trained 20 young leaders from across the Limpopo Province in South Africa. These leaders were selected for their influence and leadership in their communities; their linkages and access to hard-to-reach communities such as those in townships and their passion for social justice and change.
In partnership with the Global Road Safety Partnership in South Africa (GRSP ZA) and generously funded by the socially responsible company Michelin, the programme took place over 5 days in Bela-Bela, South Africa.
After being rigorously trained through an intensive information packed workshop, these leaders became the first cohort of South African Youth Ambassadors for Road Safety. They were trained in a range of topics including road safety in South Africa, why crashes happen, why young people are at risk, factors surround gender, risk factors including speed, distracted driving, drink and drug driving and seatbelts as well as lifelong skills such as presentations skills, facilitation skills and road safety messaging.
A year on, these Ambassadors reconvened in Polokwane, South Africa (July 2018) to reflect on their achievements, address the challenges they faced and gain new skills to improve their work as Ambassadors and take their road safety activities to the next level.
Follow Up Training
In collaboration with the management at GRSP as well the Ambassadors themselves, we devised a training programme to address key achievements during their first 12 months as Ambassadors as well as identifying the new skills they would need moving forward. The training took place in Polokwane, South Africa from 3-5 July 2018.
The training focusing on topics including: Looking Back – Our Achievements; Looking Back – Our Challenges; Leadership; Fundraising; Advocacy for Youth Issues; Communication and Looking Forward – Our Action Plans. The training enabled the Ambassadors to improve what they have been doing, share their work with one another to energize their work.
Looking back at their achievements, the Ambassadors have been very busy. From working on roads leading to townships, to school visits across whole districts, the Ambassadors have been spreading the word of road safety across Limpopo.
The Ambassadors, who represent the 5 municipal districts in Limpopo have been working in teams to conduct localized and tailored messaging according to the need of the community.
For example, in the Capricorn District, Ambassadors run a drunk driving campaign over the Easter Weekend; in Sekhukhune, Ambassadors successfully lobbied the local municipality to install speed humps around schools and conducted scholar patrols to enable young people to get to school safety, navigating through traffic; in Vhembe, Ambassadors run social media awareness campaigns using their local leadership status to run “live streams” talking about the importance of road safety and sharing skills such as avoiding distracted driving to be safer road users.
An action taken by many of the Ambassadors across the region was talking at “After-Tears” events. After-Tears is a uniquely South African phenomena where after a funeral, guests will drink heavily, play loud music and celebrate the life of their loved one. Unfortunately, during many of these events, young people tend to drink heavily and drive home; our Ambassadors used the After-Tears events to formally address road safety and the importance of not driving home drunk. These talks had particularly prevalence in Mopani.
In Vhembe, Ambassadors run road safety sessions in 11 out of 14 schools in the municipality reaching approximately 600 young people with an aim to reach all schools by the end of the year. The Ambassadors used their newly acquired facilitator skills to run workshops with the students away from the traditional classroom style and in a more engaging, interactive manner.
The Ambassadors continued to reflect on some of the challenges they faced in their work and collectively addressed these challenges as group. The group were aided in building strategies to address challenges such as a lack of resources, resistance from the community and poor road infrastructure.