From the 16 -20 February 2015, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), along with their client Adjaristsqali Georgia (AGL), supported a Road Safety Awareness Campaign in the towns of Shuakhevi and Khulo, in Adjara, Georgia. The aim of the campaign and training was to reduce road risks faced by local populations living in the vicinity of the hydropower development work being carried out in the region.

Shushana Surmanidze, Adjara Ministry of Education, receives a certificate from Derran Williams of the EBRD

AGL is currently developing, constructing and operating the Shuakhevi HPP, a hydroelectric power plant located on the Adjaristsqali River in south-western Georgia. During project implementation AGL identified concerns related to road safety in the surrounding Shuakhevi and Khulo communities. AGL has taken some steps already to reduce road risk – for example, efforts to promote safer driving among its workforce, particularly those using project vehicles on public and site roads. However, along with the Bank, they felt a more coordinated approach was needed to raise awareness of risks in the local area and promote safer road behaviour by local communities.

Jeff Terry, HSE Director, AGL and Derran Williams, EBRD, introducing the road safety training

Working with EASST partner organisation the Georgian Partnership for Road Safety (PfRS), the project identified key road safety stakeholders in the exposed villages, collected data on local road risk, and prepared an awareness-raising programme to address the situation. In 2013 the fatality rate on the roads of Adjara was 19 per 100,000 people, compared with 11.5 per 100,000 in Georgia as a whole.

A training workshop targeting key leaders and stakeholders from both communities was conducted in Shuakhevi Resource Centre. Training was carried out to increase understanding of road safety risks specific to the local areas including incident statistics, common traffic incident causes, key road risks faced locally and nationally, fitness to drive, pedestrian visibility and road safety regulations which apply to the local roads. Information was presented on how Georgia compares with other countries and how Shuakhevi and Khulo compare to other regions in Georgia. There was also information about effective local road safety management through partnership working, and how to reduce risk to fleet drivers.

EASST partner Gela Kvashilava conducting road safety education in schools

Road safety education was also carried out in schools in Shuakhevi and Khulo. Children in the 3 -6 grades and 9 -12 grades had classroom road safety teaching, viewed videos and participated in a ‘Be Seen to Be Safe’ exercise to bring home the importance of visibility on the roads. As part of the training, Headteachers of the Schools were given educational materials to keep for later use with schoolchildren and young adults, including handbooks on road safety lessons in schools and DVDs. Posters were produced for public buildings – on key road risks; and for schools on preventing road injury. Children and adults received reflectors to wear on their clothing at night to improve their visibility as pedestrians.

The school visits were a huge success

On the final day in Adjara a meeting was held with key officials responsible for regional road safety management in Batumi. This included the Head of the regional State Road Administration, the economic representative of the regional government responsible for transport, a representative of Batumi Autotransport and a representative of the regional Ministry of Education. All expressed a willingness to learn more and to collaborate, with assistance, in more active road crash prevention strategies.

Since the training the PfRS have returned to Adjara to work with local volunteers promoting the international campaign to ‘Save Kids Lives’ on the roads:

EASST and the PfRS will continue to work with the EBRD and AGL to raise road safety awareness an protect local communities in the Adjara region.