Image credits: Zambia Road Safety Trust
According to the World Health Organization, over 3,500 people die in road traffic crashes every year in Zambia. To reduce road traffic fatalities and injuries in Kitwe, the city is promoting safer journeys to school for children by reducing vehicle speeds and by separating students from traffic thanks to infrastructure improvements. To demonstrate the city’s commitment, Kitwe Mayor Mpansa Mwaya inaugurated new lifesaving infrastructure at Chimwemwe Secondary School and Kamitondo Combined School on 14 June. Raised zebra crossings, rumble strips, footpaths, bollards and signage were installed over the past month.
The Zambia Motor Sport Association used the FIA School Assessment Toolkit based on the iRAP SR4S methodology to evaluate the existing road infrastructure around these two schools (gathering 3,200 children) and identify potential improvements. Working hand in hand with the Zambia Road Safety Trust, the FIA Member Club received fundings from the FIA Road Safety Grants Programme to initiate the project and from the FIA Foundation to expand its scale. It is expected that, thanks to this road safety initiative, the two schools will attain 5-star ratings from previously assessed 2-stars and 1-star ratings respectively.
Mayor Mpansa Mwaya said, “We need to protect vulnerable road users such as children, and this means improving road safety – especially around schools. A key aspect of improving safety around schools is ensuring speeds of 30km/h or less through the provision of traffic calming measures and dedicated reduced speed zones in these areas of high pedestrian activity.”
FIA Foundation Programmes Manager Agnieszka (Aggie) Krasnolucka stated, “Africa has the fastest growing youth population in the world, and we know that young people are most at risk from road traffic injuries. All injuries and deaths are preventable thanks to simple measures such as those implemented here at the school in Ndola, in the Copperbelt region. We are pleased to see such interest from local stakeholders in addressing issues of child safety in the region, and such successful collaboration between two long standing partners of the FIA Foundation – the Zambia Road Safety Trust and the Zambia Motor Sport Association”.
Zambia Road Safety Trust Chairman Daniel Mwamba said, “Unfortunately, almost all roads in Zambia are not designed for pedestrians, and certainly not for child pedestrians. And as such lots of children are being placed at risk by going to school. Typical problems that occur at or near schools include road user problems such as excessive speed, poor parking habits and u-turning. The Zambia Road Safety Trust is pleased with the partnership with the Zambia Motor Sport Association and the support from the FIA Foundation to make safer journeys for school children in the Copperbelt for the first time”.
Zambia Motor Sport Association President Sam Chingambu declared, “I would like to thank the local political leadership for their support during the implementation of this nobble project, we thank Aggie for her personal support and guidance to make this project which started as a phone call between Daniel, herself and ZMSA become a reality. God bless you all and especially our pupils, staff and the community.”