Vivo Energy Uganda, the company that distributes and markets Shell fuels and lubricants in Africa, has resumed the Road Safety Education Programme for School Children as part of its Corporate Social Investment Programme.
The initiative aims to increase road safety awareness and commitment among school children, and to help change their attitude and behavior on the road, thereby inculcating a road safety culture among Uganda’s future generation.
Uganda is one of the African countries with the highest rate of road accidents. The Global Status Report on Road Safety indicates that Uganda registers close to 3,000 deaths as a result of road accidents annually; Nigeria registers 4,000 while South Africa registered the highest number with over 13,000. According to police reports, out of the 3,000 deaths in Uganda, 600 are children.
The activities commenced with training conducted at Railway Primary School, St Ponsiano Primary School and Victor Primary School. This year the training has been expanded to include, Traffic rules, First Aid and Environment, the number of Schools has also increased from 12 last year to 32 Schools this year. Vivo Energy a partnered with Little Hands Go Green who are conducting training on Environment.
Speaking during the training at Railway Primary School, Cerinah Zalwango, the Corporate Communications Manager, Vivo Energy Uganda, cautioned the children to always avoid unsafe situations like speeding vehicles while using the road, and ensure they have seat belts in a moving vehicle. She encouraged the children to engage in road safety practices and also urged them to be safety ambassadors at school as well as back home.
“Vivo Energy believes that school children are the drivers of tomorrow. We also recognize that children are vulnerable on the road and depend majorly on adults. Training children from 32 schools is an important step towards equipping them and protecting them while building good road safety behavior at a tender age that is teachable.. Good behavior is best taught at this age to bring about lasting change” Cerinah noted.
The Traffic liaison officer, Inspector Monica Ndirugendawa educated the children on traffic rules and road signs. Ndirugendawa cautioned the children to avoid sitting on Boda bodas without a guardian and avoid sitting in front of the bike because they risk catching pneumonia.
The initiative that was launched last year saw at least 1,200 children from 12 different Schools received training on road safety, and it was crowned with a road safety contest where Busega preparatory School emerged the winner and walked away with great prizes.
Special training will be given to children acting as safety ambassadors and traffic wardens at schools. In addition, Vivo Energy will provide road safety materials to the ambassadors.