In January and February this year EASST partners, the National Automobile Club of Azerbaijan (AMAK), launched a series of inter-school competitions aimed at raising awareness about road safety and the importance of ensuring a safe journey to and from school.
As part of the Road Safety Education project that AMAK has been implementing since September 2016, school children across five pilot schools in Baku were invited to take part in five rounds of competition where they were asked to demonstrate their road safety knowledge as well as to produce materials that could be used to promote road safety more widely. A ‘jury’ made up of AMAK management, representatives of the State Traffic Police Department, the British Embassy in Baku, and the Head of Division for Creativity of the Center for Extracurricular Activities № 46 were enlisted to judge the competitions and announce winners.
Round 1 involved children using art to raise awareness about key road safety messages. They were asked to choose one of the following messages and given an hour to produce a poster that depicted its importance:
- Every child deserves a safe journey to school, including safe roads and speed management around every school.
- Children have to use seatbelts on transport. Seatbelts save lives.
- Parents should use child restraints in their cars for the safety of their kids.
- Drinking and driving is one of the main causes of road crashes worldwide. Drink drivers must be punished by law.
- Children must use helmets while cycling. Wearing a helmet decreases the likelihood of death and the risk of injuries.
During Round 2, kids teamed up with their schoolmates to present their Road Safety learning to the jury. The children asked various questions on the materials they had been learning about during the Road Safety Education project, as well as presenting different images depicting road safety violations by both pedestrians and drivers. At the end of the contest the jury member asked the team captains several open-ended questions on road safety situations to summarise their evaluations.
For Round 3 the schoolchildren were required to make an educational video on road safety. The participating children were lead by student volunteers from the ADA and Qafqaz University who have acted as ‘road safety trainers’ throughout the project. The children observed pedestrians and drivers around their schools who were violating road safety rules and then approached them to inform them about the dangers they were posing as well as share their knowledge on what should be done in certain ‘dangerous’ situations. The recorded the whole process which was later presented as a video clip during the competition.
Round 4 involved children using drama to demonstrate the key road risks around their schools and how to respond in different situations. Each school selected a different road safety situation which they summarised through a short sketch, summarising each sketch as a reminder of important road safety messages.
Finally, the children were asked to prepare a set of road safety recommendations based on “what would I do if I were a government representative?” Each team presented their suggestions to the jury members on what they would like to change considering the daily challenges they face while travelling to and from school as well as using public transport as a road user.
The winners of each competition were selected by the jury members, and the winners will be announced during a final event to be organised which will be attended by the childrens’ parents.