Madagascar - Road safety: building awareness among the most vulnerable
Safety Road - Committed to promoting safer mobility
Social worker and road safety instructor for the ABCD association Idéal Randriamiadana believes that becoming a careful driver with the right reflexes is something that ought to be taught from a very young age. He’s been helping roll out the ‘On the Road to Safety’ program in Madagascar’s primary schools since 2015.
In Madagascar, ten children a day are victims of road traffic accidents that occur on their way to school. The reason for this: a lack of awareness among young pedestrians, combined with a lack of knowledge of the highway code. To get rid of the problem once and for all, concrete initiatives have been rolled out since 2015 as part of a partnership between Total Madagasikara, the Ministry for Education and Action Based Community Development (ABCD), an association working to build communities through action that encompasses citizen responsibility, sustainable development, social integration and education.
The children had become ambassadors of good practices and were spreading the word!
Thanks to the ‘On the road to safety’ program, no fewer than 26,000 Madagascan schoolchildren aged 6 to 14 have had their knowledge of road safety bolstered. Primary schools in Antananarivo, the capital, and the surrounding rural areas were identified as those most at risk of road traffic accidents. When the initiative was first launched, Idéal Randriamiadana remembers that opinion was divided: “Initially, teachers and authorities were skeptical about our plans for educating the children, simply because the roads in Madagascar are cruelly lacking in essential infrastructure (traffic lights and zebra crossings). What convinced them was that we managed to get schoolchildren to realise that road safety depends on their own actions, too.”
The ABCD’s initiative is a long-term program. The progress made over the past three years speaks for itself: “We went back to assess how successful our campaign was among schoolchildren, teachers, school heads, parents and even local residents. We realised that not only had the children changed how they behaved, they had also become ambassadors of good practices and were spreading the word!” laughs Idéal. Awareness-building among teachers and children as well as the use of fun educational tools like the Safety Cube (see the Safety report in the 2015 issue of Pathways) have clearly proven to be effective. Participating establishments haven’t recorded a single traffic accident since the campaign was rolled out.
We managed to get schoolchildren to realise that road safety depends on their own actions, too.
This incredible success means that the programme will be continued on for 2017/2018 in order to target children attending schools along the RN2, known as “the country’s biggest accident-prone site,” according to Idéal. Around thirty different establishments will be taking part.
To find out more about the Cube, see the report on Safety in 2015’s issue of Pathways.
The Safety Cube heads for Senegal
In Senegal’s rural community of Colobane, another initiative is being rolled out in a Children’s Road Safety Centre (CERE), training 8,000 pupils a year since 2013. Each student gets behind the wheel in a pedal-run car, and sets off around a 233-metre track complete with road signs, zebra crossings and traffic lights. The Safety Cube allows instructors to also teach driving theory via educational booklets written and published by Total as part of the ‘On the Road to Safety’ initiative, as well as via educational computer applications.