DHAKA, Apr. 9, 2014 – Chevron Bangladesh has joined forces with BRAC to launch a comprehensive three-year road safety awareness program for the communities of its Bibiyana gas field and Sylhet city. The program was officially launched at BRAC’s office by BRAC Founder and Chairperson, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed KCMG, and Chevron Bangladesh President, Geoff Strong, on 9 April, 2014.
The Chevron-BRAC road safety program will provide training and build awareness on defensive driving and safe pedestrian behaviors to a total of 1,000 drivers of commercial and manually-driven vehicles. It will be implemented in collaboration with Roads & Highways Department, the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority and Bangladesh Police. Additionally, information, education and communication materials will be used to teach safe pedestrian behaviors amongst 4,500 school children of 25 educational institutions near the Bibiyana project area. Up to six Community Road Safety Groups will be formed and groomed to build institutional and community capacity for future sustainability of the initiative.
This program taps into an urgent need for a robust public campaign for road safety awareness. The National Road Safety Strategic Action Plan (NRSSAP) for 2011-2013 cites Bangladesh as having one of the world’s highest road fatality rates, with 85 deaths per 10,000 registered motor vehicles every year. According to NRSSAP, road accidents cost up to $614 million economic losses every year in Bangladesh.
Also present at the launch were Senior Director, Water, Sanitation & Hygiene, and Disaster, Environment & Climate Change, Babar Kabir; Director, Procurement, Estate & Management Services, and Road Safety, Ahmed Najmul Hussain; Director, Chairperson’s Office, BRAC, Rachel Kabir, and Director, External Affairs, Chevron Bangladesh, Naser Ahmed.
This Project will be implemented through BRAC’s road safety program which started in March 2001, as a measure to tackle the alarming increase of road fatalities. BRAC‘s own program mobilises communities living along highways, raises awareness on road safety issues and facilitates them to plan, undertake and sustain their local road safety initiatives. BRAC involves the community through motivation, education and self-help, resulting in a developed sense of ownership. The program also delivers safe driving trainings for drivers. Simultaneously, BRAC’s advocacy program implements the ‘Promoting Safe Road Code’ (PSRC) project to create an enabling environment through advocacy and social communication. This intervention is crafted by BRAC’s commitment and a response to the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.