Reporting back from Saint Lucia - VYBZING Forum

Reporting back from Saint Lucia - VYBZING Forum

On 15-17th May 2013, YOURS partnered with the Caribbean Development Bank and the Government of Saint Lucia to run the VYBZING Forum on the topic of youth and road safety. The three day forum was a highly interactive workshop and at the end the participants left the forum as road safety advocates and ambassadors ready to create their own proposals for a road safety project in Saint Lucia.

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CDB and Youth ‘VYBZING’ Outreach Programme is a platform for youth engagement with emphasis on youth empowerment and participation in the development process.  It facilitates communication among youth and with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) on social and economic development issues and challenges that are impacting their lives. This year, CDB alongside Government Ministries of St Lucia; Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, Ministry of Infrastructure, Port Services and Transport, have partnered with YOURS to run the VYBZING Forum on youth and road safety issues, themed ' Road Safety: Save a Life, Save a Future'.

The forum was a high energy and completely interactive learning experience and focused on localized road safety knowledge-sharing through a youth orientated training. Every year, VYBZING tackles an issue of importance in relation to young people and youth issues and this year, it focused on addressing the biggest killer of young people globally; road traffic crashes.

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Yvette Lemonias-Seale, Vice-President (Corporate Services) and Bank Secretary, Caribbean Development Bank opens the forum with encouraging words to th youth delegates to, 'seize the opportunity and fully engage in the training'.
 

Supported by the Government of Saint Lucia and initiated by CDB Youth, the forum offered 30 youth leaders from around Saint Lucia the opportunity to be trained in key concepts of road safety through YOURS' Capacity Development Programme. Honourable Shawn Edward, Minister of Youth Development and Sports, Ministry of Youth Development and Sports also encouraged the youth to take what they learn from the training and share it with their peers. Ms Angela Parris, Manager, Information Services Unit, Caribbean Development Bank and Coordinator of CDB VYBZING opened the forum with a word to the youth that this is the young people's opportunity to make a change in their country through active participation in VYBZING forum and to use the skills and knowledge that they gain to enact real change on the ground in Saint Lucia.

 

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On arrival to the forum, participants shared their thoughts on road safety topics.
 

The Forum was comprised of a range of activities designed by YOURS to train the youth on road safety topics. It began with friendly introductions and ice-breakers followed by an interactive session on the scope of the road safety problem in the world and Saint Lucia.

The youth came to realize that while Saint Lucia has a relatively small population of around 170,000 inhabitants, the country still experiences a high ratio of road deaths per 100,000 of the population; the amount of deaths ranges from 14-18 per 100,000 while in Europe countries such as the Netherlands and the UK have a considerably lower average of 3.7-4.0 per 100,000. The session debunked the notion that more vehicles means more road deaths with the youth acknolwedging the 'safe systems approach' where a range of factors; safe infrastructure, safe vechiles, safe road users and post-crash care, play an important role in reducing road deaths.

The delegates went on to understand the disproportion of genders affected in road crashes and exlpored reasons why youth are at particular risk on the roads due to inexperience, age and gender issues. After exploring some of the theory behind road crashes and youth, the delegates undertook a session on distracted driving on day one of the training.
 

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The youth delegates taking part in an interactive learning session on road safety.

On day 2, the youth undertook training in project management based on concepts in the Youth and Road Safety Action Kit, learning about the four stages of project management as well as creating their own own pitch proposal in an 'business style' presentation to a panel of judges, who offered feedback and points for improvement. These ideas for grass roots projects were commended for their ingenuity, creativity and understanding of pursuing road safety projects as a multi-sectoral approach engaging a range of stakeholders. The day ended on a set of briefing activities on partnership building, networking, community participation and fundraising, which enabled the youth to understand how to keep their projects going.

Throughout the forum, the young people set aside points to be included in a 'Youth Declaration for Road Safety' calling upon decision makers in Saint Lucia and the Caribbean Region at large to enact decisions enabling better road safety for young people. On day three, these points of discussion culminated in the writing and adoption of the Youth Declaration for Road Safety - Saint Lucia 2013!
 

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Saint Lucia youth ratifying and adopting the Youth Declaration for Road Safety - Saint Lucia (downloadable in attachments)

 

Amongst other things; the declaration called upon decision makers to:

  • subscribe to and support the international movement proclaimed by the United Nations; the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020;
  • invest in safe and forgiving roads. Provide safe footpaths, cycle-ways and crossing points, on streets with lower speed limits, particularly around schools and take immediate action on crash hotspots;
  • include a comprehensive road safety strategy with a good data collection system in place to measure its impact and allocate adequate funds towards its implementation;
  • enact and enforce road traffic laws on the use of seatbelts and helmets, set speed-limits, and a zero tolerance for distracted driving, alcohol– and drug use in traffic and boost your investment of financial resources to make safer roads;
  • acknowledge the importance of the involvement of youth in road safety by: investing to empower youth to become a greater force for positive change in road safety including consistent and quality driver education;
  • invest in quality post-crash care for (young) road victims and their reinstatement in society;
  • ensure safe and affordable public transportation options. Protect drivers and passengers with the use of maintained buses, which are not overcrowded and which are regulated to ensure safety.

The declaration is to be presented by a group representing the participants of the forum to the 43rd Annual Board of Governors Meeting of the Caribbean Development Bank tomorrow (23rd May 2013) where Prime Ministers of the Caribbean States and key decision makers will be present. A full report and video of the event will be available shortly!

Floor Lieshout, Director of YOURS said,

"We are very happy with the outcome of the VYBZING Forum and we hope to continue our partnership with the Caribbean Development bank to increase our impact in the Caribbean region"

 

 

Attachments

The St Lucia Youth Declaration for Road Safety 2013