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.
Youth Ambassador for Road Safety - Participant
In 2015, a National Youth Structure for Road Safety was formalized in country by the previous South African Minister for Transport Dipuo Peters. She envisaged a National Youth Structure to involve young people in road safety to take an active role in preventing road crashes and reduce the road carnage facing youth. This structure was formed around the principles of YOURS, to empower young people to be part of the road safety solution by building their capacities (skills, knowledge, attitudes and intentional behaviour) to improve the situation of youth on the road.
Since then, the Global Road Safety Partnership South Africa (GRSP ZA) and our long standing founding member Michelin (through the Michelin Corporate Foundation) formed a strategy to educate and activate the elected youth in the National Youth Structure for Road Safety. This was realized in the First Youth Ambassadors Training initially focused on the Province of Limpopo in 2017. We worked closely with GRSP ZA to formulate a tailored training programme to activate 20 young leaders in road safety who continue to go out into their communities and share road safety messaging. In 2018, we delivered a follow up training with 15 of the Ambassadors.
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.
We worked directly with project partners to formulate a tailored training that would build on the Ambassador's achievments, challenges and action plans looking forward. In collaboration with the Ambassadors, we selected several new training topics to help improve the Ambassador's work and make their action more impactful and sustainable.
Overall Objectives of the Follow-Up Training:
It's no secret that young people experience life differently to their parents and the older generations, so then why do so many workshops assume that young people want to sit through an old school style of learning? We've experienced it ourselves, sitting through hours of presentations, speech after speech and talk after talk. If we really want to engage with young people, we know this is not the way! Therefore YOURS is using a highly interactive and engaging methodology while delivering workshops.
Talking the language of South African youth doesn't mean a training delivered in the 11 official languages but rather a workshop delivered in a way that speaks to young people's hopes, desires and aspiration swithin a local context. Along with partners, we extensively research the local situation to gather a robust profile of our youth participants, using examples they understand and in a style that is most comfortable to their learning preferences.
General Manager - GRSP South Afrca
The Ambassadors underwent three new training sessions on leadership, fundraising and advocacy as well communication skills and team building exercises.
Identified as a skill need in collaboration with stakeholders and Ambassadors, the leadership session introduced the Ambassadors to the importance of leadership as an individual and in a team and the types of skills effective leaders demonstrate.
As Ambassadors expressed the desire to use more resources for their work, fundraising was also identified as a key skill to be developed. Ambassadors explored who funds road safety activities, how to improve their chances of getting funded and increasing their influence to open up more opportunities for partnerships and resource sharing.
Ambassadors noted that much of their work revolved around garnering support for road safety change in their communities. This change included not only instilling road safety awareness to the community but also infrastructure and legislative action to effect all round change in their areas. It was therefore suggested that an advocacy session be conducted to explain the key elements of advocating for road safety change; political commitment, community support/mobilization and communicating/empowering the people. Ambassadors scoped ways in which they could use this overarching approach to gather more support for their work and effect more meaningful change in their communities.
A Facilitator Collaboration
Joining the training was one of our previous trainees, who underwent the YOURS Training of Facilitators in Nairobi, Kenya in 2013. Since 2013, Alex Ayub has undertaken a plethora of activities at the Kenya Red Cross and beyond and has become a spokesperson for youth participation and empowerment in Kenya through Ji Activate. Alex was trained in road safety in Kenya, introduced to key risk factors and gained skills in peer-education and facilitation skills. He ran with his new skills and made massive waves across the country. We were honoured to have him join our facilitation team.
Joining us for the first time to train young people outside of Kenya.
Young Kenyan Youth Leader trained by YOURS in 2013