On Thursday 30 March 2017 at RICHARD AKWEI MEMORIAL SCHOOL, ACCRA, FIA Foundation and Puma Energy Foundation launched a road safety program to educate children on how to stay safe on the roads as they walk to and from school. The two global foundations will support Amend, an NGO, to implement proven-effective road safety measures around high-risk primary schools in Accra. The organisations will also work with government institutions such as the National Road Safety Commission, and the Ghana Education Service, among others, to ensure the measures are implemented more widely across Ghana.
The World Health Organization estimates that over 6,700 people are killed on Ghana’s roads each year, although this number is higher than the official figures. Child pedestrians are among the highest-risk groups in Ghana for road traffic injury. The vast majority of public school children in urban Ghana walk to school, and they usually do so unaccompanied by an adult. A child in Africa is twice as likely to die on the roads as a child in any other region of the world. For instance, with approximately 800 students, the Richard Akwei Memorial School in the Agbogbloshi section of Accra has had an issue with road traffic injury among its primary-school-age pupils, with five being injured in the last year alone.
In response, Puma Energy Foundation and Amend recently partnered on a road safety awareness education programme implemented in primary schools in 10 African countries, including Ghana. Building on this momentum, and now with added support from FIA Foundation, Amend will improve pedestrian infrastructure – footpaths, zebra crossings, speed humps, road signs, and more – around high-risk primary schools in Accra, and will also provide road safety education to all of the schools’ pupils. A 2015-16 study into the effectiveness of such improvements in Tanzania proved that lives can be saved, with this program resulting in an over 26% reduction in injuries. The data from the 2015-16 study will be used to demonstrate to governments that lives can be saved in towns and cities across the African continent.
This work is part of an Africa-wide programme, which is being carried out in ten countries: Benin, Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, Tanzania, and Zambia. Saul Billingsley, Executive Director of the FIA Foundation said, “Amend is working for some of the poorest, most vulnerable, children on the planet, children whose needs and interests are off the radar for most policymakers. Through effective coalition building and unswerving dedication to hard evidence, Amend is demonstrating that child road traffic injuries can be affordably prevented. The FIA Foundation is proud to continue our support and partnership.”
Representing Vincent Faber, Executive Director of the Puma Energy Foundation, Zohra McDoolley Aimone, Regional Head of Corporate Affairs for Africa, said, “The Puma Energy Foundation is strongly committed to improving the safety of Africa’s children on the roads. Today we are delighted to launch this new three-year road safety programme in Ghana in partnership with the NGO Amend. We believe that the twin-pronged approach of implementing practical solutions on the ground as well as promoting sustainable safety solutions to policy makers, will contribute to ensure safe and healthy journeys to school and a bright future for Ghana’s children.”
Jeffrey Witte, Executive Director of Amend said, “We are extremely grateful for the FIA Foundation and Puma Energy Foundation’s support for Amend’s work to save children’s lives on Africa’s dangerous roads. In particular, their support of evidence-based projects that take the long view of how to sustainably save lives on Africa’s roads is remarkable. We look forward to preventing injuries with the safe infrastructure we will deliver through this programme, while also using these lifesaving measures to demonstrate to governments that they, too, can – and indeed must – act to save the lives the most vulnerable citizens on their roads: children.”