Delft/FIA Foundation Scholars 2016 making an impact
The 2016 Delft/FIA Foundation Road Safety Scholars are making an impact, just days after their learning experience in the Netherlands. Twenty-one talented young road safety professionals came together in mid-September in Delft to learn how to achieve effective road casualty reduction in their countries.
The Scholars - from seventeen countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, South America, the Caribbean and the Middle East – brought a wide variety of experience to the Programme. The 2016 Scholars included professionals in road policing, academics, road safety campaigners, engineers, fleet managers and planners. This shared experience is a major part of the Scholarship Programme each year.
Already the Scholars are making a difference. Prerana Singh Charawat from India has been interviewed by the media about smart cities traffic management. As Centre Coordinator for Road Safety at Sardar Patel University of Police, Security and Criminal Justice in Jaipur, she has also been influencing the passage of a new Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill through the Indian Parliament that will fill the gaps in the legislative framework for road safety. Prerana’s passion for cutting road death and injury is matched by her fellow scholars, all of whom returned home with new ideas and ambitions.
The objective of the Delft/FIA Foundation Programme is capacity building for road safety professionals in low and middle income countries by presenting and discussing the scientific evidence on effective road safety policies and practices. Low and middle income countries carry the greatest burden of road fatalities: in low income countries the fatality rate per population is over two and a half times greater than in high income countries, despite much smaller vehicle fleets. Progress towards meeting the UN Decade of Action goals for reducing fatalities has also been much slower in low and middle income countries. Among low income countries, since the start of the Decade of Action the ratio of those experiencing reductions in road fatalities to those seeing increased fatalities is 1/8; in middle income countries around 1/1; and in high income countries 3/1.
The Delft/FIA Foundation course has been designed to build leadership capacity in key areas in countries facing the greatest challenges. The course includes presentations by some of the world’s leading experts, setting out a ‘system approach’ to reducing road risk and cutting numbers of road casualties. Topics include road safety management; data collection; awareness-raising and campaigning; safe roads and safety audits; vehicle-related crash factors; road user safety and how to reduce road risk; effective enforcement; monitoring and evaluation - and other important issues. Working in teams, scholars develop model country road safety action plans and present them on the final day – a practical exercise in problem analysis, strategic planning and partnership.
For the Scholars – they had the experience of a lifetime. In the words of one: “It was a great pleasure, with people of big heart who believe we can make the world a better place to live. Thank you to all the friends I made in the Delft Road Safety Course. It was very special to share these two weeks with you – it was awesome.” As another put it “It has taught me so much, and inspired me to do so much more.”