During recent visits to rural villages in Kazakhstan as part of the EBRD supported ‘Safe Villages’ campaign EASST’s local partner, the Common Road, were keen to highlight the importance of children’s road safety.
Children are amongst the most vulnerable road users. They are less able to recognise dangerous situations and they are physically smaller which means they can be unseen by drivers, and more likely to be injured by an impact. Indeed, in the first six months of 2016, 32 per cent of road crashes in the Martuk district involved children.
As part of their visit, therefore, the Common Road presented EASST’s new Education Pack, which with the EBRD support has been translated into Russian and Kazakh, to local village leaders and school directors and offers an age-appropriate road safety curriculum that can be taught in a variety of settings. It is a flexible resource for teaching road safety education to children up to the age of 14 and is particularly tailored to meet the needs of low-middle income countries.
During the visits the Common Road led demonstrations in a local pre-school in Aktobe as well as at a children’s summer camp reaching 275 children aged 5 – 14. The Pack encourages interactive learning about road safety through activities such as art, role-play, creative projects, quizzes, surveys, stories and group discussions.
A number of Education Packs were distributed to teachers and local activists for future use, as school directors in each of the six villages visited agreed to introduce road safety lessons for all primary school children starting from September 2016, whilst local police also agreed to assist in delivering the lessons.
The visit also included a public awareness-raising exercise in Aktobe Nazarbaev Public Park, which involved the staff of the regional juvenile police, Aktobe City Police and a local road safety NGO, targeting young people and parents of small children on the issue of pedestrian safety. Particular attention was given to the issue of safe road crossing, with actions at risky road junctions. More than 500 reflective wristbands and bookmarks targeting children and young people with road safety messages were distributed during some 300 interviews with parents and teenagers about the dangers of the road. On the first evening the team trained the juvenile police to interact with members of the public on road safety. The following two evenings local police teams continued this exercise without the support of our experts, helping to encourage more active engagement with the public on road safety.
The Safe Villages campaign is part of an initiative launched as part of the EBRD’s South West Corridor Road Rehabilitation project, and is supported by the EBRD.