As she prepared for her examination, and travelled home to Falmouth for the weekend, the one thing on Naomi Redway’s mind on Friday, April 26, 2013, was: What kind of photograph would she submit to the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA) Junior Club Photography Advocacy Competition?
After participating in photography training through the Resolution Project of the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) Foundation, the 5th form student from Westwood High School in Trelawny was already versed in photo composition. It was, therefore, no surprise, when she emerged the winner of the competition with her entry, “Safety begins with Youth.”
“I was going home from boarding school and realised that it was also the final day for entries in the competition. Therefore, I decided to take the photograph and send it off that same night,” she explained about her winning photo, which highlighted the dangers faced by young pedestrians on the country’s road network.
The photography competition, held under the theme “The road less travelled: Exposing Road Safety Issues in Rural Jamaica,” was opened from April 12 – 26; and was a precursor to the annual UN Global Road Safety Week observance, May 6–12, which focused on Pedestrian Safety. Entrants in the competition were asked to submit photos in three categories: Pedestrian Behavior, Motorist Behavior and Road Infrastructure.
“I wanted to look at potholes on the road, children on the streets, the dangers they had to face and the use of road safety signs, especially in dangerous areas of the roadway,” Naomi explained, outlining her choices, as she decided on the type of photograph she would capture.
Duane Ellis, General Manager of the JAA said that, “The synergy between the JAA Junior Club, which focuses on Road Safety, and the Resolution Project, whose focal point is on Photographic Youth Advocacy, simply made sense.”
He pointed out that, “We wanted to highlight key issues relating to road safety, particularly in rural areas of the country where the road infrastructure tends to be inconsistent,” he emphasised.
The Resolution Project participants were challenged to capture road issues they experience on a daily basis, relating to the topics, as they commute to and from school, or in their communities, and express how the issues affected the community.
Naomi eventually decided to illustrate the dangers children were exposed to, on the roads; and used her younger brother, Marcus, as her muse.
“I envisioned the picture; but, I didn’t know who to use. Then I saw Marcus, and I positioned him and took it. I took about five shots before I found the one that I was happy with, and came out lucky,” Naomi said, noting that she usually takes up to a hundred shots before getting one that she is happy with.
Naomi, who is currently sitting eight Caribbean Second Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects, mainly in the sciences, said that while she has a fair knowledge about road safety and her responsibility as a pedestrian, “The competition reminded me of the dangers that exist for all road users, especially children.”
For her effort, Naomi received the grand prize of a Hewlett Packard Laptop Computer; as well as getting her winning photograph featured in an advertorial.
The JAA Junior Club was created by the JAA and the JNBS Foundation, in collaboration with JN General Insurance (JNGI) Company Limited, The Ministry of Education, the FIA Foundation and the FIA Road Safety Grant Programme and which was officially launched on Thursday, June 13.
The JAA Junior Clubs are being established in 50 high schools across the island, which are in close proximity to identified Crash Hot Spots.
“Through the JAA Junior Clubs, we will be hoping to influence youth across Jamaica to create innovative solutions to some of the common road safety and mobility issues that exist locally, while increasing their awareness in the area,” Duane Ellis explained. And, he pointed out that the categories will provide a wide spectrum of the issues related to road safety in Jamaica.
The clubs are part of the Automobile Association’s efforts to fulfill the national commitment to the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011- 2020 Campaign, which aims to reduce global road traffic deaths by 50% by 2020.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), road crashes are the leading cause of death among young people aged 10-24 years, and of the 1.3 million persons killed on the world’s roads annually, more than 400,000 are young people.