Local efforts to raise awareness about road safety issues for young people were boosted with the launch of the Zenani Mandela Campaign for Road Safety at the Sponsor’s Mingle for the recent JN Jamaica International Invitational Meet.
The Zenani Campaign, which is a United Nations (UN) Decade of Action for Road Safety initiative, has as its major aim, the improvement of road safety for children in South Africa and other emerging and developing economies.
Avi Silverman, Director of Campaigns and Communications for the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), speaking at the official launch of the campaign at the Wyndham Kingston Hotel in St. Andrew, on May 4 said “The Zenani Campaign aims to raise awareness of the issue and the fact that lives can be saved.”
The campaign was inspired by the great-granddaughter of former South African President, Nelson Mandela, Zenani Mandela, who was killed in a motor vehicle crash on the eve of the 2010 World Cup, which was held in South Africa.
“This tragedy happens to a thousand young people under the age of 25, who are killed on the world’s roads every day,” Mr. Silverman stated.
Earl Jarrett, Chairman of the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA), the local advocate for the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety, said the Zenani Campaign is timely, as it builds awareness of road safety issues, “even as public dialogue highlights other issues affecting the nation’s children, during May, which is Child’s Month.”
He explained that the campaign will seek to raise awareness about some of the road safety concerns that place our youngest citizens at greater risks on our roadways, whether they are pedestrians, or passengers. And, he called on Jamaicans to embrace the guidelines for safer road use.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) ‘State of the World’s Children’ Report 2012, more children die from road traffic injuries in developing countries, such as Jamaica, than in the developed countries.
Duane Ellis, General Manager of the JAA reasoned that, “The Zenani Campaign will allow take a closer look at safety issues relating to young passengers in vehicles, road use by pedestrians, particularly in school zones, and the challenges with young, inexperienced drivers.”
He noted that the JAA was actively involved in safety programmes for young people, through its Road Safety Programme for Schools, which is implemented across the island in concert with the Traffic Department of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
Some of the visual statements of the Zenani Campaign are the “Zenani wristband” and the Decade of Action Tag, which are being distributed globally to persons who support the initiative.