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General News of Thursday, 6 April 2017


Puma energy protects child pedestrians

The FIA Foundation and the Puma Energy Foundation have launched a road safety programme to protect children who walk to and from school.

The two global foundations will support the NGO Amend to implement effective road safety measures at high-risk primary schools in Accra, and also work with government institutions such as the National Road Safety Commission and the Ghana Education Service (GES), among others.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over 6,700 people are killed on Ghana’s roads each year, although this number is higher than the official figures.

Child pedestrians are among the highest-risk groups in Ghana for road traffic injury.

The vast majority of public school children in urban Ghana walk to school, and they usually do so unaccompanied by an adult.

A child in Africa is twice as likely to die on the roads as a child in any other region of the world.

For instance, the Richard Akwei Memorial School, near Agbogbloshi, Accra, with approximately 800 students, faces the challenge of road traffic injuries among its primary-school-age pupils, with five being injured in the last year alone.

In response, the Puma Energy Foundation and Amend initially partnered on a road safety awareness education programme that has been successfully implemented in primary schools in 10 African countries, including Ghana.

Building on this momentum and now with the added support of the FIA Foundation, from 2017 to 2019, Amend will improve pedestrian infrastructure – footpaths, zebra crossings, speed humps, road signs and more – around high-risk primary schools in Accra, and will also provide road safety education to all of the schools’ pupils.

A 2015-16 study into the effectiveness of such improvements in Tanzania proved that lives can be saved, with this programme resulting in an over 26% reduction in injuries.

The data from the 2015-16 study will be used to demonstrate to governments that lives can be saved in towns and cities across the African continent.

Saul Billingsley, Executive Director of the FIA Foundation said, “Amend is working for some of the poorest, most vulnerable children on the planet, children, whose needs and interests are off the radar for most policymakers.”

Representing Vincent Faber, Executive Director of the Puma Energy Foundation, Zohra McDoolley Aimone, Regional Head of Corporate Affairs for Africa, said, “The Puma Energy Foundation is strongly committed to improving the safety of Africa’s children on the roads. Today, we are delighted to launch this new three-year road safety programme in Ghana in partnership with the NGO Amend.”

Jeffrey Witte, Executive Director of Amend said, “We are extremely grateful for the FIA Foundation and Puma Energy Foundation’s support for Amend’s work to save children’s lives on Africa’s dangerous roads.”

Headmistress of Richard Akwei Memorial School, in a remark, commended the two institutions for their initiative.