Unifying Uniqueness and Us
BRAC and BRAC International operating countries celebrated the Inclusion and Diversity Management Campaign (IDMC) day. This celebration is celebrated for the second time across BRAC’s head office and BRAC International countries on 21 May on world cultural diversity day under the theme “Unifying Uniqueness and Us”.
Likewise the last year, diversity day was celebrated in all BI countries, which had cultural and cooking events, games and dances. Additionally, this year’s programme took place over the course of a day and began in BRAC’s office premises with a display board erected for writing comments and hand printing to showcase what diversity means to BRAC. The main event began after lunch and was comprised of welcome speeches, presentations and panel discussions all relating to the importance of diversity to foster and instill its importance. The colorful cultural programme also featured performances from people of differing national, ethnic and physical abilities.
The main objective of the initiative was to enhance knowledge and sensitivity on diversity and inclusiveness and to increase empathy of other cultures through opportunities to interact with different cultures at the international level. The vision of IDMC is: to promote Intercultural sensitivity, embracing differences, easily adaptable mindsets and diverse perspectives, richer teams
Through a series of activities, this campaign aims to touch all the employees, all-level of staff and ultimately the programme participants (beneficiaries) along with the community.We hope to continue making great strides toward promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace to ultimately help achieve the vision of BRAC.
BRAC offers training on community road safety to local NGOs. This coalition of nationwide organisations formed a Community Road Safety NGO Network under the umbrella of BRAC. These organisations are supported through resources by BRAC for conducting road safety training and awareness campaigns within their operating areas.
The most important goal of the NGO Network is to build the capacity of NGO's, so they too can write project proposals, apply for funds, and use the financial support of donors to implement projects in their locality. This is done with the aim of sustainability for road safety activities (even after BRAC stops their road safety interventions in the project areas).
NGOs interested to join the network are welcome to apply. Once accepted, a NGO receives a road safety flipchart, a demonstration on how to use it and a short lecture on road safety. Every batch of 30 new members receive a day long orientation training on road safety.
BRAC uses this platform to jointly pursue road safety projects with any member organisations in their areas of operation. As of 2015, 337 NGOs have been brought under the network. BRAC also gives technical assistance to the member organisations so that they can conduct projects on road safety improvement.
In our past projects, over 183,000 unique individuals have received face-to-face road safety messages or road safety training. In total, over 363,000 people have received road safety messages as a result of our past interventions. We have organised 53 community road safety groups and trained 52 grassroot organisations.
Here are some of the community road safety awareness campaigns undertaken by the road safety programme.
2005: Campaign on Dhaka-Sylhet highway with Roads and Highways Department (RHD), Ministry of Communication and World Bank
The project resulted in at least 120,000 unique individuals receiving face-to-face messages and training on road safety. These include 105,000 students – taught by their teachers, 2,019 commercial motor vehicle drivers and 12,500 rickshaw pullers (who received reflective stickers). Additionally, 26,625 people saw road safety theatre shows, 1,700 people multimedia shows, and 14,625 houses and shops were reached via door-to-door camapign for road safety sensitisation. At the end of the intervention, the majority of the population living in the project areas, numbering at least 540,000, had received some of the road safety messages. In an impact assessment with non-representative sample size, which did not include commercial motor vehicle drivers and rickshaw pullers, the majority had knowledge on some of the road safety messages of the project. Another impact assessment with non-representative sample size suggested that the road safety knowledge of commercial motor vehicle drivers improved significantly.
Furthermore, 39 community road safety groups were organised and trained, and leaders of 24 grass root organisations were trained and linked to road safety institutions. The community road safety groups planned and executed a host of actions, including arranging the provision of road safety engineering facilities.
2006: Campaign for road safety education for school students in Khulna and Barisal with Local Government Engineering Department with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD)
The project resulted in 35,000 school students being sensitised about road safety (by their trained teachers) at their educational institutions. A non-scientific impact assessment indicated that the students showed a major improvement in their road safety knowledge. They were also encouraged to spread the road safety knowledge to people they knew. Besides, 20 local NGO's and community based organisations (CBO's) were trained on road safety.
2007: Campaign on road safety awareness with RHD and DANIDA to promote institution building and capacity development of roadside communities along the highway to Kuakata
At least 25,000 unique individuals received face-to-face road safety messages or road safety training, and a significant portion of them got road safety instructions more than once during the project. Awareness activities were: training 96 teachers directly (and 551 teachers and 9000 students indirectly), training 500 commercial motor vehicle drivers, training 7,488 rickshaw pullers, staging theatre shows to a total audience of 17,650, giving multimedia shows to a total audience of 23,785, and giving road safety messages to 6,600 shops and 7,200 households (twice each) by going door-to-door. Almost all of the population living in the project area (numbering 50,000) received road safety messages.
Furthermore, eight NGO's (two executives or coordinators from each) and members of eight community road safety groups were trained on road safety. The workshop held with community road safety groups catalysed further actions for improving road safety.
2011: Marking the launch of United Nations Decade of Actions for Road Safety
With a mission to improve road safety in Bangladesh, BRAC organised events marking the launching of the United Nations Decade of Actions for Road Safety 2011-2020 on May 11, 2011. Reflective stickers which enhance visibility at night of non-motorised vehicles were pasted on rickshaws to mark the start of the decade. Marking the start of the UN Decade, BRAC called for united efforts through major national dailies and spread awareness online.
2014: Road safety awareness project with Chevron Bangladesh for communities living near its Bibiyana gas field
In the first phase of the project, 5,240 unique individuals have received face-to-face messages on road safety. We have trained 25 head teachers, 157 teachers, 232 bus and truck drivers, 314 rickshaw pullers and 12 rickshaw van pullers. The teachers have in turn taught 4,500 of their students, who have also participated in a road safety quiz competition. Furthermore, six community road safety groups have been formed, trained and guided in their road safety action planning and execution. A scientific impact assessment is going to be carried out by BRAC’s research and evaluation division upon completion of the project.
2015: Road safety awareness programme in Cox's Bazar and Gazipur districts
The Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) and BRAC Road Safety Programme signed an agreement to pilot a two-year road safety awareness programme. It is piloted in four upazillas of Cox's Bazar and Gazipur. This endeavour is a component of LGED's Second Rural Transport Improvement Project (RTIP-II), which is funded by the World Bank. The programme targets community residents comprising of students, teachers, street-side vendors, shopkeepers and drivers of non-motorised and motorised vehicles. Besides community engagement, it is designed to expand their understanding of road safety and help identify road safety problems in their communities so they can formulate solutions for tackling them.
In phase one of this project, at least 55,000 unique individuals received face-to-face road safety messages and training. The expectation is that at least another 55,000 unique individuals will receive road safety messages because of students sharing their new knowledge with their family members, and of people watching any of the 216 large screen open-air video trainings. We are going to scientifically assess road safety knowledge of the 51,000 students who are taught by their school teachers, 2,200 commercial non-motor vehicle drivers and 1,200 commercial motor vehicle drivers after this phase.
There is also local capacity and ownership building. 30 community road safety groups, one in each of the campaign areas alongside roads are formed, trained and guided during and after their community road safety action planning workshop. 15 CBO leaders and 5 local LGED staff are trained to improve the road safety situation. Two upazilla road safety committees have been organised and activated.
Some of the innovative components of BRAC’s road safety programme are:
Road safety animation film (for telecasting on television)
Children are easily attracted to the imaginative and entertaining aspects of animation. BRAC produced a road safety animation film programme titled Lal, Holud aar Shobuj (Red, yellow and green) to provide road safety education on television. A series of two animation films was produced that focuses on essential knowledge for using the road safely.
Community road safety groups
A community road safety group takes responsibility for their local road safety situation. Its ten to twelve members meet voluntarily on a bi-monthly basis to plan and implement relevant actions. They are local leaders who are not holding a post in a political organisation. Examples of group actions are: collecting money from the community to paint missing marks of a speed breaker, requesting local government engineering department to install a shed at particular local bus bay, and advocating vendors to stop encroaching the road with their stalls. They also give post-accident support to victims of road casualties by helping them get medical treatment immediately after the accident and receive financial compensation.
Training for NGOs and community based organisations (CBOs)
The objective of engaging local NGOs or CBOs is to develop their capacity on road safety so that they can use this knowledge to make their programme participants aware and to help the implementation of the project activities. They are selected, and given a week-long residential training on road safety management which includes road safety issues along with finding support and sponsorship from local philanthropists, private sector and potential donors. The leaders of the NGOs or CBOs meet monthly or quarterly to follow up on the training and to review the progress of the implementation of project activities. These NGOs or CBOs continued road safety activities after the completion of a project.
Road safety training of rickshaw pullers
The rickshaw is a three wheeler non-motorised vehicle, and a very common mode of transportation in Bangladesh. Pullers of these vehicles are mostly illiterate, untrained and unaware of traffic rules. The rickshaws have no lights, compromising its visibility during night. These rickshaw pullers are put through a participatory road safety training session lasting half a day followed by pasting of honeycomb reflective stickers on the backside of rickshaw.
Road safety training for commercial vehicle drivers
A three-day residential training is provided to in-service commercial bus and truck drivers at BRAC Driving School. The module aims at improving their attitude and behaviour towards responsible and safe driving through increasing their knowledge. There is a shorter version of the module lasting for a day, and it is held at bus terminals. Digitised and bar coded audio-visual training materials are used in the course.
Road safety theatre
To raise awareness through infotainment, theatre shows are staged in communities. The audience is involved to demonstrate the road safety messages delivered during the show and a discussion is held afterwards. The performance incorporates local customs, dialects, ethnicities, etc. based on the location. Usually, the majority of audience consists of women and children.
Awareness through multimedia shows
These are held at major growth centres and bazaars (and sometimes in schools for the students). The messages of these shows are about safe walking, crossing rules and to discourage street-side vendors from encroaching the road. The shows make use of a training video followed by discussion. These are shown in the evening so that anyone can watch.
Road safety education at schools
Teaching about road safety to children can reap lifelong benefits to society. The headmasters of selected educational institutions (within 500 meters of a road within project area) are given a day-long training on road safety to motivate them to provide road safety education in their institutions. Headmasters nominate two teachers from their individual institutions for a two-day road safety training, which is facilitated by BRAC's road safety trainers. The training module includes amongst other things - safe walking and crossing rules, first aid, informing police of accidents and the claiming procedure of insurance compensation. These teachers in turn teach all the students of their educational institutions on road safety using flipcharts provided by BRAC’s road safety programme.
Road safety posters are installed in classrooms, and practical demonstration classes on safe crossing and walking are organised at schools. Students are encouraged to share their gained new knowledge with the parents, neighbours and relatives. A quiz competition is held at each educational institution to stimulate the learning of the students and to test their gained knowledge. The students receive quiz booklets that they can use to prepare themselves.
This activity is useful to reach those who do not attend the other road safety interventions of the project. Each household and shop in the campaign area are visited by project staff. They hold discussions in an open area in between houses with multiple households at a time. They use training posters to discuss and demonstrate three major road safety messages, like safe walking and crossing roads and the impact of road encroachment. These meetings are held on the preferred times of the people and attended mostly by women and children. After the discussion, the project staff hangs three posters on a prominent place of the house or shop.
These are installed on important spots beside the highway to remind the road users, particularly the drivers to think about road safety and obey the rules. This is a relatively cheap way to disseminate safety messages.
Student traffic cadets (STC)
Financially needy and bright students, especially scouts and girl guides are selected for this intervention. The selected STCs are put through a two-day long training on road safety. They extend road safety in the community as volunteers. They act as road safety role model of their own institutions and community; help old, children and disabled to cross road; motivate people for safe walking, crossing, proper use of bus stop/bay and footpath/roadside etc. They are provided with yellow jackets and caps to wear while performing their duty so that people can identify them easily and see them from faraway. Their work hours are chosen in consultation with them and their teachers. They are given monthly stipend.
Supporting Upazilla Road Safety Committee (URSC)
In most upazillas (sub-districts), such a committee has either not been formed, or has not been active, despite an order by the government. CRSG members, project staff and CBO/NGO leaders approach the Upazilla Nirbahi Officer (local government representative of highest rank who is supposed to head the URSC), and persuade him/her to form the committee and call for meeting. Efforts are made to make someone member of the committee who is from the CRSGs or NGOs/CBOs, in order to help the URSC be active and sustainable. The URSCs are also given support to organise workshops to produce a road safety action plan for their own upazilla
Surakkha is a road safety and defensive driving training for in-service drivers. The training is especially designed for in-service commercial bus and truck drivers, as the majority have not been through institutional driving training. It is common in Bangladesh where such drivers receive their training through apprenticeship from another experienced but untrained driver. As a result, many of these drivers, although performing at professional capacity, are unaware of the many road safety rules and practices.
Good professional drivers know the traffic signs and traffic rules. They have a sense of responsibility for the safety of other road users – knowing that traffic casualties are avoidable. The training helps drivers improve their attitude and behaviour on the road. It also develops their theoretical knowledge on driving while helping them to drive more defensively. The training is ideally given to groups of 20 to 25 trainees, with a maximum of 25 trainees per group.
BRAC Driving School is now conducting the following types of Surakkha courses:
• Two days of theoretical training and one day of driving testing and grading for corporate body drivers
• Three days of theoretical training for bus and truck drivers
• Two days of road safety training for motorcycle drivers
Some comments on the training by former trainees:
“After receiving this training my eyes have been opened. All these years I have been driving with a wrong attitude. Although I have been driving with patience, yet after receiving this training I am realising that I did not know lots of things about safe driving. If we follow what we have been taught here, then I am sure that we will never encounter any more road crashes. [...] I am highly grateful and it is a pleasure for me to attend this training.” – Mr. Foridul Islam Rahim, in service for previous 21 years, and four years for ENA transport (at the time)
“I have been driving for a long time; by Gods grace I have never had any road crash and I am a trained driver. After hearing that BRAC is giving a new training I got interested and hence attended the Surakkha training. We always drive to keep out of accidents, but after coming here I have learned that safety of ourselves, that is Surakkha, is very important. We always make simple mistakes while driving; minute mistakes can lead to a disastrous crash. This training has actually showed us where we were wrong throughout our entire lives as drivers. My attitude towards safety of myself, passengers and the wealth of my transport owner has completely changed. Now I will drive maintaining the rules of safe driving till the last trip of my life before I retire.’’ - Mr. Zaman, a driver of Shamoly transport service
In the last decade, innovators, entrepreneurs and change makers in Bangladesh have developed outstanding innovations using ICT and digital tools. Ideas like bKash, Chaldal, JAAGO Online School and more recently, Maya Apa prove how technology, when used the right way, can create the most meaningful impact. However, many of these wonderful initiatives are hardly known outside of Bangladesh. Now this is about to change.
A joint collaboration between BRAC and Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) based in India, has launched the Bangladeshi chapter of Manthan Award, the most prestigious award in the field of ICT and digital innovation in the Asia Pacific, as ‘BRAC Manthan Digital Innovation Award’, with a vision to recognise our local talent in an international platform. The winners of BRAC Manthan Digital Innovation Award will find a direct entry to Manthan Award, Asia, allowing them the space to perform against international competitors.
The BRAC Manthan Digital Innovation Award will accept registrations under nine categories. The categories are: e-business and financial inclusion, e-education, learning and employment, e-agriculture and ecology, e-governance and institutions, e-health, e-women, inclusion and empowerment, e-news, journalism and entertainment, e-culture, heritage and tourism, and m-content.The registration will close on 10 June 2016. Those using ICT and other digital tools in their businesses, projects or social work with visible impact are eligible to register here: http://brac.manthanaward.org/.
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