Driving change: The vital role of public-private partnerships in road safety awareness

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Driving change: The vital role of public-private partnerships in road safety awareness
Val Oketcho

When government entities and private enterprises collaborate, they bring together resources, expertise, and networks to tackle complex challenges effectively.

Public-private partnerships are not merely advantageous; they are indispensable in addressing pressing societal issues, with road safety awareness being a prime example.

When government entities and private enterprises collaborate, they bring together resources, expertise, and networks to tackle complex challenges effectively.

This synergy is crucial in implementing innovative solutions and impactful initiatives that benefit communities at large.

In the context of road safety, the partnership between Vivo Energy Uganda and various government bodies exemplifies the power of such collaborations. By teaming up with entities like the Ministries of Works and Transport,

Education and Sports, and the Directorate of Traffic and Road Safety under the Uganda Police, Vivo Energy has led award-winning behavioural change campaigns.

These campaigns, such as 'Tweddeko: Every Life Matters' and the 'HeadsUp' child safety helmet campaign, aim to raise awareness about safe road usage, ultimately reducing road crashes, injuries, and fatalities.

The 'HeadsUp' campaign, for instance, is a testament to the effectiveness of public-private partnerships in promoting road safety.

In collaboration with the Directorate of Traffic and Road Safety, in 2023 alone, Vivo Energy donated over 2,000 child safety helmets free of charge to schoolchildren in public schools in Uganda, emphasising the importance of wearing helmets while commuting on motorcycles.

During the same period, the entities conducted workshops that had over 1,000 boda boda riders undertake practical training and reskilling in safer road use.

These initiatives addressed a critical gap in road safety management, especially concerning vulnerable road users like schoolchildren.

Uganda's road safety crisis has continued to worsen by the day, as highlighted in the Annual Crime Report 2023, and therefore underscores the urgency of such initiatives.

With a significant increase of 16 percent in road traffic crashes, particularly involving motorcycles, accounting for over 35 percent of total incidents, there's a clear need for enhanced safety measures and awareness campaigns.

Notably, riding without a crash helmet remained a significant traffic offence, although there was a slight reduction in offenders compared to the previous year.

The 'HeadsUp' campaign not only provides helmets but also advocates for behavioural changes and policy reforms to ensure safer transportation practices, especially for children.

Beyond distributing helmets, Vivo Energy is actively engaging stakeholders to promote responsible road behaviour and advocate for policy changes.

The company’s dedication to making helmet-wearing mandatory for schoolchildren using motorcycles aligns with global road safety initiatives, such as the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, which aims to halve the number of road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030.

As a key player in the transportation sector, Vivo Energy understands the importance of road safety firsthand and is dedicated to making a positive impact on the sector and protecting the wellbeing of schoolchildren.

Our commitment to improving road safety aligns with broader national efforts, complementing initiatives led by government agencies like the Ministry of Works and Transport and the Uganda Police.

However, achieving the goals of the UN Decade of Road Safety requires sustained collaboration through public-private partnerships.

In conclusion, public-private partnerships are essential for enhancing road safety awareness and reducing traffic-related incidents.

The success of initiatives like the 'HeadsUp' campaign demonstrates the potential of collaborative efforts in addressing complex societal challenges.

By working together, governments and private enterprises can create safer roads and protect the lives of all road users, especially vulnerable groups like schoolchildren.

_________________________________________________

Mr Valery Okecho is the Corporate Communications Manager at Vivo Energy Uganda

Email: valery.okecho@vivoenergy.com

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