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Transaid: improving road safety and health in Africa

04 November 2021 #Features & Interviews #TNB News

Transaid is an international development organisation that works with communities, partners, and governments to improve road safety and access to health throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Founded by Save the Children, The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), and its Patron, HRH The Princess Royal, the charity has been a vital part of the road transport landscape for many years and is strongly supported by the wider industry.

The charity raises funds in various ways, a key one being corporate memberships that have helped it develop longstanding HGV and PSV driver training programmes in both Tanzania and Zambia.

Caroline Barber, Chief Executive of Transaid, said: “The support we receive from our corporate members means a huge amount, and is crucial to ensuring we can deliver many of our life-saving projects on the ground.”

Earlier this year, Menzies Distribution Group signed up as a corporate member, pledging its support for an initial three-year period.

Menzies contributes time, expertise, and resources to help Transaid deliver its professional driver training programmes, transport management systems and in providing rural access to transport.

Greg Michael, Chief Executive Officer of Menzies, said: “Transaid’s commitment to global road safety is an issue close to our hearts at Menzies.

“We firmly believe all drivers around the world should have the opportunity to build the skills they need to transform their future.”

Corporate members have provided buses, trucks, trailers and forklifts to the Industrial Training Centre (ITC) in Lusaka, Zambia – which has partnered with Transaid since 2008 – for use as training vehicles.

Some have even supplied staff on secondment to share skills and knowledge with local trainers.

Big Change, Clipper Logistics, Malcolm Group and XPO came together to supply an HGV driver training simulator for the ITC.

Clipper provided the simulator from its in-house training team, and then secured funds and expertise from the group to cover essential IT upgrades and shipping.

The four partners also covered the travel expenses for Clipper’s National Driver Training Manager to visit Zambia and install the simulator with the ITC team just prior to the outbreak of the pandemic.

Also, bus company Southern Vectis, based on the Isle of Wight, recently shipped one of its vehicles to the centre, and its managing director, Andrew Wickham said: “We are donating a coach to replace an obsolete vehicle that is over 30 years old, and will ensure the ITC can continue its courses, to make coach driving and maintenance safer.

“Without it, as the current vehicle gets older and less reliable, there would be a real chance that training activities couldn’t take place.”

Transaid also recently took its professional HGV training into West Africa for the first time, with a new three-and-a-half-year project starting in Ghana.

An estimated 7,000 people lost their lives on Ghana’s roads in 2016, and the project will expand HGV training capacity, with the aim of reducing road traffic fatalities and injuries.

Transaid is helping develop an enhanced driver training curriculum for HGV drivers and pushing the Ghanaian government to adopt it nationally to ensure consistency of training standards across the country.

Barber said: “Our programme is designed to ensure a safe and sustainable transport sector underpinned by a skilled workforce, improving outcomes for drivers and making Ghana’s roads safer for all.”

Meanwhile, the organisation’s four-year Professional Driver Training Programme in Uganda, which began in 2016, delivered specialist HGV and PSV training to 17 Ugandan trainers, representing seven different training schools, and was responsible for training 642 drivers overall.

Training was delivered to the standards of the East African Community (EAC) curriculum for large commercial vehicle drivers, developed by Transaid to harmonise road safety standards in the region.

The aim was to train trainers and subsequently drivers of commercial vehicles, and build local skills so that external support will not be required in the long-term.

Barber said: “The programme has driven up training standards and made training far more accessible to Ugandan drivers, upskilling the workforce.

“This will have a lasting impact on the transport and logistics sector in Uganda, and road safety more generally.”

Transaid is also working with local partners, communities and governments to strengthen access to health services and health supply chains, primarily in rural areas.

Its MAMaZ Against Malaria project has expanded this year to cover 10 districts in rural Zambia, reaching up to a million more people at risk of severe malaria.

The project, which has dramatically reduced severe malaria mortality in children under six, has used bicycle ambulances for patients in need of urgent care.

This has improved access to key medicines, effective community engagement and ensured a functioning drug supply chain.

“A child with severe malaria has a 90 per cent chance of dying if they do not get to a health facility in time – so this project is absolutely vital and will help embed the innovation within government structures and systems,” Barber said.

Fundraising events are another important source of money and in September a team of more than 30 riders representing about 20 companies from across the transport and logistics industry completed the two-day coast-to-coast 170-mile ‘Way of the Roses’ cycling challenge.

The event, from Morecambe, Lancashire to Bridlington in the East Riding of Yorkshire, has raised an estimated £29,000.

Also, Transaid’s Cycle Malawi 2022 will see a team of more than 40 riders cover about 500km over five days, taking in Lake Malawi, Mount Mulanje, Liwonde National Park and the Zomba Plateau.

For more information about how you can support the organisation as a corporate member or take part in fundraising events visit www.transaid.org

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