Ensuring road safety is one of the main responsibilities of every citizen in the world. Road traffic collisions can cause great financial and moral damage to society as a whole as well as individually to each citizen. For many, the impact of a road traffic collision can be life changing. Perhaps preventing them from working, learning or even participating fully in society. This impact is made even starker by the fact that most road traffic victims are children and young people under the age of 30.
Educating young people to be responsible road users can therefore be life saving. But this can also be a challenge – particularly for young teenagers who are more likely to test boundaries than younger age groups, perhaps being influenced to take more risks by their peers, and who are less able to assess such risks than adults.
In an attempt to address this challenge, EASST partners, the Young Generation of Tajikistan (YGT) have trained several teams of Young Road Inspectors (YRI) to act as peer mentors in the promotion of road safety in local schools.
The project has so far been piloted across five public schools in the Firdavsi district of Dushanbe. The YRI initially attended several interactive training sessions where they were coached on the rules of the road and the importance of keeping themselves and others safe.
Then, through a collaborative peer-learning environment, the YRI led a series of formal and informal sessions with their classmates to share their knowledge. These dedicated sessions, which reached 600 students in total, covered basic road traffic rules as well as offering an interesting history of traffic lights and their usage. Most importantly, the sessions gave the students an opportunity to discuss the responsibilities of different road users and why this is important – emphasising that by following the rules of the road, everyone will become better, safer and more socially responsible citizens.
Finally, and most significantly, it was found that as a result of the training students’ road safety knowledge increased by an average of 90 per cent. A fantastic result!