Road safety is a crucial issue that affects people of all ages globally, with developing countries bearing the brunt of the problem. The quest for a safe road environment in developing countries, especially in Africa, where people are disproportionately affected, is urgent. According to the WHO, developing countries account for 90% of global road traffic deaths. African countries have the highest road traffic death rates globally, with an estimated 26.6 deaths per 100,000 population.

Many African governments have exerted efforts by:

  1. Reforming transport institutions
  2. Setting up autonomous road safety entities
  3. Implementing programs and projects targeted at road safety
  • However, these efforts have not yielded the much-needed results. The number of injuries, disabilities, and fatalities occurring on the African road network due to road crashes is astronomically high. And considering that the UN Second Decade of Action for Road Safety calls for road fatalities and injuries to be halved by 2030, the stakes are high. To achieve this milestone, it will require joint efforts from both the government and civil society organizations.

    This brings the mission of Road Safety Action International to the forefront. As a for-impact organization, RSAI has a vital role to play in promoting safe road environments, which can reduce road fatalities and injuries. But this will require concerted efforts in the form of capacity building for organizations like RSAI to be able to champion the cause of a safe road environment. Henceforth, the RSAI Capacity Building Program has been instituted with the aim of strengthening the organization’s capacity to achieve its objectives.

The RSAI capacity-building program is structured in three categories:

  1. A professional training program involves external training that is targeted at certain skills, knowledge, and experiences that can be directly used upon return from such training.
  2. The online and internal training programs: This is dedicated to equipping staff and volunteers with the skills and knowledge necessary to perform their duties effectively.
  3. On-the-job work sessions are meant to teach practical skills on the job. Skills such as the ability to design road safety campaigns that are culturally relevant and resonate with their target audience

Emmanuel Jallah, Wrochelle C. Cooper, Benedict Dargbeh, Patience Saylee

  • In line with the professional training program, four members of the RSAI Team traveled to Accra, Ghana, to attend the 3rd IRF Regional African Congress and Exhibition which commenced from April 24th–29th, 2023. This transport conference has an integrated component that is exclusively dedicated to road safety and the call for Vision Zero. The RSAI team was able to enhance their knowledge of various aspects of road safety, including:

    1. Management Practices for Safer Roads
    2. Integrating Safety into Road Design
    3. Successful Road Safety Campaigns and Strategies
    4. Speed Management and Enforcement
    5. Incorporating Road Safety Data into Decision-Making Frameworks
    6. Safety on Two Wheels: Mainstreaming Safety for Cyclists and Motorcyclists.

The 7-day training workshop has generated enough motivation for the team, but it has also empowered them with new skills, tools, and knowledge to contribute effectively to achieving the goal of a safe road environment for all road users. Considering that the four members of the RSAI Team attending the professional training program are young people, this signals the organization’s willingness to give young people a crucial role in the fight for road safety in Africa. The organization believes that young people can lead the charge in creating road safety awareness by combining their passion with the knowledge and experience that are gained from meaningful training such as the 3rd IRF Regional African Congress. With the advent of technology and young people being more digitally connected than ever before, they can use their digital presence to promote road safety awareness.

Emmanuel Jallah, Wrochelle C. Cooper, Benedict Dargbeh, Patience Saylee

Young people can also use their influence to encourage their peers and family members to adopt safe road behaviors such as wearing seat belts, avoiding drunk driving, and adhering to traffic rules and regulations. But more importantly, African young people can advocate for policy change that promotes road safety. They can engage with policymakers and other stakeholders to promote the adoption of road safety policies and regulations that prioritize the safety of road users. African young people can also advocate for increased investment in road infrastructure, such as the construction of pedestrian walkways and the installation of traffic lights, to enhance road safety. As the team returns from the 3rd IRF Regional African Congress, RSAI is excited and expects to see huge efforts being exerted to improve the workings of the organization.