Original article from FIA Foundation – www.fiafoundation.org/news/safe-and-healthy-journeys-to-school-in-botswana-supported-by-fia-foundation (Image source: FIA Foundation)
Gaborone West Junior Secondary School in Botswana has undergone life-saving infrastructure improvements to make the school journey safer for over 800 pupils. The changes were made using Amend’s School Area Road Safety Assessment and Improvements (SARSAI) program, the fourth school in Botswana to use SARSAI interventions. The road safety improvements were specifically designed to suit the requirements of its pupils with special needs, providing step-free access for those in wheelchairs at key locations.
Specifically, the location on Mosekangwetsi Road adjacent to the school (and serves as one of the key crossing points for the students) was upgraded from 1- star to 3- stars with the installation of a new marked crossing, school zone sign and speed hump to help reduce vehicles’ operating speed to lower than 30km/h.
Several government agencies and organisations including the Gaborone-based Society for Road Safety Ambassadors (SORSA)joined forces in the SARSAI implementation.
A ribbon-cutting event was used to highlight the impact of simple, low-cost infrastructure changes to key national and regional decision-makers to advocate for national commitment to child road safety. Key officials present were the Director of Botswana Traffic Police, the Area Councillor at the Gaborone City Council, and representatives of local government. Road engineers, representatives of the National Planning Commission, and those representing the partner organisations were also in attendance.
Ayikai Poswayo, Amend Programme Director, said: “We hope that the infrastructure improvements will assist in making the journeys to school for children and the wider community safer – and most importantly for the children with special needs at this school.”
Emphasizing the importance of cross-sectoral collaboration as key to the success of the infrastructure implementations, Paul Setswe, Road Safety Coordinator at Emergency Assist 991, added: “Child safety especially around schools must be given absolute priority. We commend FIA Foundation, Amend, SARSAI, SORSA as well as other key stakeholders for this life-changing project and we look forward to many more projects of this magnitude in Botswana”.
The event brought together local government officials, representatives of the traffic police, city council, and partner organisations to draw the government’s attention to the serious risk of road crashes that students face daily, and to advocate for national commitment ahead of the SDG Summit.