Road safety - Committed to safer mobility
THE ARCHITECTS OF ROAD SAFETY IN A REGION UNDERGOING CHANGE
In 2014, the Cabo Delgado region in northern Mozambique threw itself into unprecedented change as the liquified natural gas (LNG) project developed by Total and its partners began to take shape. The roads around the production site offered up a fresh perspective, pathways to new opportunities - and new risks. But the affiliate has a trustworthy partner it can count on for support in setting up a custom-made road safety programme.
Driving much needed change
Dorothea Naujoks doesn’t do things by halves. 16 years ago now, she fell in love with Africa, and decided to leave her native Germany behind to strike out in Mozambique. Very early on, she set up Azul Consultoria, through which she developed youth-related social projects. She would move mountains for the new generation! Her enthusiasm was infectious, and Anadarko, the LNG project operator1 at the time, entrusted her with a new initiative: "Road safety was emerging as a priority. You have to remember that before the project, you could count the cars. Roadsides were gathering places where local communities lived out their lives. Then came the trucks and the buses. We needed to shape change before the large-scale transformations took place," Azul Consultoria’s Managing Director explains. Her team quickly put together a first project in Pemba to address the situation.
A tailored educational approach
The priority target audience for this project was fairly easy to pinpoint: youth. "The work we do with the children is based on getting them to have fun while they learn. Music is a powerful tool for getting our safety measures across in schools and communities. My teams are so proud when the children walk by and start singing the lines from our song without prompting: "stop, look, think and then go!", smiles Dorothea. Aboard their bright, colorful minibus, the ten members of the team use role-playing to help build awareness, and developed a character-based concept centered around "Supa Txenja", their road safety superhero. This gives the children a positive role model to identify with, a character capable of changing things and helping others. The team also runs small plays and performances and makes movies with the children’s help. Fiction is a way of exploring all-too-realistic accidents, and most importantly of all, of identifying ways to prevent them occurring. "The pupils are so proud to take part in these role-plays, and we’re delighted with the programme that has been set up for and with them. Every time the team goes into a school, the kids get incredibly excited," she explains.
Becoming more efficient, together
In Cabo Delgado, while the "Mozambique LNG" effect has bolstered the local economy and created new opportunities, a new profile of driver has emerged: "Many young people have become "boda-bodas", the local name for motorbike taxis. Because there aren’t any driving schools locally, they often take to the road without a driving license. We need to be stricter with them, without alienating them," Dorothea adds. "Every Friday, we offer them maintenance workshops and take the opportunity to get our message across and train them up. We’ve also implemented a points-based system that allows them to win helmets and safety vests. The better they look after their bike, in terms of mechanic maintenance, the higher their chance of winning something." The final aspect of the programme builds awareness of what to do in the event of an accident, and draws on support from police, hospitals and ambulances, which locals once kept uninformed of incidents. She explains this as being rooted in "a lack of confidence and trust in institutions, and the fact that once again, the people involved are often on the roads without a driving license". In cooperation with Azul Consultoria, the multi-disciplinary team made up of institutional professionals aim at shedding light on the processes involved in informing the authorities. First-aid kits have also been made available at various strategic hotspots around town.
On the right track
"Anadarko and then Total have invested close to $600,000 in this project, through its different phases," says Dorothea. She also explains that in late 2018, a regional road safety committee was set up to take the project to the next level, comprised of representatives from the police force, medical centers and transport department. Together, they worked to identify areas for improvement, such as putting up a barrier around a school, or reinforcing road signs at a given location. This is a long-term process for Azul Consultoria, who regrets a lack of concrete data with which to measure their progress to date: "There were barely any road safety statistics when we started the project, so it’s difficult to say what exactly has changed. However, the work we’re doing is most definitely tangible. We’ve built awareness among close to 60,000 people!"
Dorothea is a pragmatist and knows all too well that behavioral changes can take several years to sink in. Luckily, she still has tons of ideas to unpack for creating lasting, sustainable change.
My teams are so proud when the children walk by and start singing the lines from our song without prompting: "stop, look, think and then go!"
Managing Director of Azul Consultoria
Every Friday, we offer them [local motorbike taxis] maintenance workshopsand take the opportunity to get our message across and train them up.