We have been speaking about Belize a lot over the last few years. Namely, because the Government and the Caribbean Development Bank have been investing a lot in the country in terms of infrastructure upgrades and road safety awareness.
From 2014-2016 we worked with 34 talented young people to train them on road safety issues. These young people were selected from across Belize, young people passionate about social issues and personally affected by road crashes. A few years on, these young people are still working with the Government of Belize to raise awareness of road safety in the country.
One of our massive successes in capacity development and empowering youth is the two year programme established in partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Government of Belize (GOBZ). These efforts were part of the Bank’s wider all-encompassing road safety project, which focuses on improving Belize’s infrastructure, emergency response, enforcement and education.
YOURS realized this mission by establishing a strong partnership with the government, universities, youth groups and media and to train 34 young facilitators over two years. We trained two cohorts, one in 2014 - one in 2015, and took young leaders from Belize through the full YOURS interactive workshop experience. These facilitators successfully trained a futher 2000+ youth in road safety by the end of 2015.
In 2017, the young people continue to take part in road safety activities in the country. One of the most memorable and enjoyable interventions that have been pioneered have been road safety adverts. These adverts, run across tv, radio and other media has become a catchy soundtrack to developing road safety culture amongst young people in the country.
I remember visiting Belize in November last year (2016) to see how the second cohort of facilitators were getting on. After running their tailored 3 hour workshops with schools, one of the facilitators Sylvian Neal a.k.a the Young Proti-Jay (also know as the traffic man picture on the right in the middle) revealed his identity as the guy behind the road safety adverts on tv and radio.
As a budding musician, rapper and passionate road safety advocate, Sylvian has been the voice and often face behind a selection of PSAs produced by the Belizean Youths for Road Safety in collaboration with the Belize Road Safety Project. The excitement on the eyes of the youth, often students in inner-city schools was palpable.
With kids singing along, some patting their knees and backpacks to provide a beat, Sylvian performs to raptures of cheers, I would call him a road safety celebrity.
He continues to use his creativity and music skills to work with the Government of Belize and raise awareness of road safety in his memorable style. More recently, they worked to raise awareness of a new roundabout (as part of infrastrcuture developments). It may seem like a small deal in Western Europe, but for a small country like Belize, getting a roundbaout is a big deal. As we know, if we fail to tell people how to use new safety infrastucture corretly, they can pose a safety challenge
Belizean Youths for Road Safety posted: Brand New Roundabout Commercial by the Belizean Youths for Road Safety in collaboration with Sol Belize and the Belize Road Safety Initiative. Shout outs to my brother Delroy Thompson a k a Del B for the audio production, my friends at Shamax Pro for the great video production and my friends who participated in the video. At the end of the day, it is always a team effort. Check it out, people. A couple more coming soon. Help us to make our country safer.