The World Bank and BRAC today signed a Memorandum of Understanding at an online event to collaborate to improve road safety in Bangladesh.
The event titled ‘Road Safety Collaboration: Reducing Road Fatalities 50% by 2030’ also launched a Road Safety Awareness Campaign along the 48KM Jashore-Jhenaidah corridor as part of the partnership. The campaign will complement the World Bank-supported WeCARE project, which was approved in June 2020 and aims to upgrade the existing two-lane highway, Bhomra-Satkhira-Navaron and Jashore-Jhenaidah, to a safer four-lane highway.
BRAC and the World Bank will partner together to promote safety for women in public transport systems and conduct training and skills building for men and women drivers. BRAC’s driving school’s initiative ‘Women behind the Wheels’ has so far trained approximately 214 women as professional drivers.
Globally, about 1.35 million people die every year in road accidents. In Bangladesh, road crashes are the fourth leading cause of death of children aged between 5 and 14, and 67 per cent of the victims are within the age group of 15-49 years.
"Under the leadership of Honorable Prime Minister H. E. Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has taken actions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of cutting the number of road traffic fatalities by half within the next decade,” said Honorable Minister of Road Transport and Bridges, Mr. Obaidul Quader, who joined the virtual event as Chief Guest.
“With more awareness and safer behaviors by road users, training of drivers, and better roads, Bangladesh is taking a comprehensive approach for ensuring road safety.”
“Road safety has become an economic and development priority for any country,” said Dandan Chen, Acting Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
“We are proud to be part of the government’s commitment to better road safety through a National Road Safety Program. Our partnership with BRAC will reinforce the support to the program for improving road safety in both rural and urban areas in Bangladesh.”
The collaboration will support exchange of knowledge and raise awareness among stakeholders to reduce fatalities and injuries from road accidents. This will help the country adopt interventions based on the Safe-System Approach, including safe roads and safe behaviors, as recommended globally.
Since 2011, under BRAC’s community road safety awareness program, over 1.2 million people have received training on the safe use of roads. In addition, 5,451 schoolteachers and 498,000 school children have received special awareness training on road safety.
Asif Saleh, Executive Director of BRAC, said, “I believe this joint initiative between BRAC and the World Bank will be a big step forward to take the road safety system in the project area to a new level. With the support of the government of Bangladesh and the World Bank, we aspire to take BRAC's community led road safety model across Bangladesh.”
“The government, development partners, non-government organizations and most importantly the citizens need to work together like this in finding more comprehensive long term systemic solutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of reducing traffic fatalities by 50 per cent,” he added.
Ahmed Najmul Hussain, director, BRAC Road Safety Programme, said, "I believe that undertaking more such community-driven awareness initiatives for the other highways of the country such as the one to be implemented under this MoU along the Jashore-Jhenaidah highway will substantially help reduce the number of road crashes."