Following the success of its “Safe Villages” project in Ukraine, EASST and its local partner in Azerbaijan – Hayat International Humanitarian Organisation – have launched a similar project along the regional roads of Azerbaijan funded by the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The aim of the project, which began in November 2013, is to raise public awareness of road safety along regional roads that have been identified for reconstruction by the EBRD. The campaign covers the Agjabadi, Barda, Beylagan, Bilasuvar and Imishli regions of Azerbaijan and focuses specifically on the R18 and R42 roads.

Ilaha Abbaszade of Hayat delivers road safety training and materials to school children

This phase of the project has involved the identification of 5 villages (one from each of the five regions affected by the road rehabilitation) where the Hayat team have held road safety training and events for villagers. Booklets, high-visibility materials such as reflective jackets, and reflective belts for farm animals were distributed among villagers with the aim to keep them safe along the road. A particular concern for those receiving the training and materials was the safety of their cattle – on which they are dependent for their livelihood – who walk along the road at night. Horse owners too were particularly grateful for the high vis materials making them more visible and keeping them safer.

Cattle were also provided with high vis materials

The team also visited an IDP settlement in Imishli which is located on the regional road. The road running past the settlement is known for speeding and has no pavements. The settlement residents welcomed the Hayat experts and spoke about the problems faced by their children when using the road.

Hayat is currently identifying private local companies for involvement in the project and will hold a seminar with EASST’s Chairman Lord Dubs of Battersea in July 2014.