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WRI Ross Prize For Sustainable Cities Winner: Amend’s School Area Road Safety Assessments & Improvements

The WRI Ross Prize For Sustainable Cities is chosen by a jury of multidisciplinary experts together evaluating the merits of world-class social improvements and sustainable city progress.

The WRI Ross Prize For Sustainable Cities is chosen by a jury of multidisciplinary experts together evaluating the merits of world-class social improvements and sustainable city progress.

Many entrants shared important stories and were worthy of acknowledgment. Many rose to meet WRI’s high standards for final consideration. Out of 193 applicants, 5 finalists emerged, from ColombiaSouth AfricaTanzaniaTurkey, and India. An initiative from Tanzania, Amend’s School Area Road Safety Assessments & Improvements (SARSAI), emerged as the eventual winner.

This week, CleanTechnica congratulated Ayikai Poswayo, Amend’s program director of SARSAI, and enjoyed an informative exchange with her. We will follow up this announcement of the WRI Ross Prize Winner in a few days with a separate post focused on our conversation with Ayikai Poswayo. Ayikai provides refreshing viewpoints and offers experienced insight about saving children’s lives, improving road safety, pedestrian life, city infrastructure, education, and more.

“What SARSAI does is to look at our cities from the angle of the child pedestrian,” said Poswayo. “If we can design our cities from that angle, we would be designing it for the safety and security of all.”

WRI writes: “Thousands of school children die on Africa’s roads every year as they make their way to and from school, but a small number of simple remedies can save many of them.

“The SARSAI scheme was announced as the winner of the Ross Prize for its transformative low-cost approach to saving the lives of school children in Africa. In Dar es Salaam, where the project started, an average of 12 students per school were injured or killed each year. Now rates have dropped to fewer than 8 students per school. SARSAI concentrates on simple road-side infrastructure, using a combination of data and education to separate the children from the road, and slowing down traffic near schools.”

Key numbers:

  • 1.35 million people die every year in road accidents.
  • 80% of road deaths in low- and middle-income countries are pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists.
  • Children in African cities are twice as likely to die or be hurt in road accidents than children elsewhere.
  • SARSAI’s scheme is estimated to save 500 children from injury every year, and prevent many deaths.
  • The project began in Tanzania and has since spread to across 8 other countries: Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, and Namibia. It now reaches 700,000 children.

The World Resources Institute emphasizes, “Transformative projects change the form and function of urban economies, environments, and communities. They open our eyes to new possibilities by overcoming bottlenecks, leveraging investments, or offering new and scalable approaches to solving well-known problems. They impress hope and excitement. And their impact extends beyond the initial site or intervention, catalyzing positive change throughout a neighborhood or city.”

Ross Prize Winner: Ayikai Poswayo, Project Lead

CleanTechnica received a press release about the WRI Ross Prize for Cities along with a bio for Ayikai Poswao. Here’s more on Ayikai and her work:

“Ayikai’s current role involves leading the implementation of Amend’s SARSAI (School Area Road Safety Assessments and Improvements) program across nine countries on the continent. Prior to joining Amend, Ayikai worked as a traffic engineer for consultancies in the United Kingdom and Ghana. She worked on a variety of projects including pedestrian, cyclist, and bus priority schemes, from feasibility stage to construction. …

“Ayikai holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Ghana and a master’s degree in transport planning and engineering from the United Kingdom.

“Amend’s School Area Road Safety Assessments and Improvements (SARSAI) program is driving a shift to child-centric urban design to protect one of the most at-risk groups of pedestrians in the world: children going to and from school in Africa. Starting small, but growing quickly thanks to a simple and effective approach, this street redesign and behavior change project has had an outsized impact that will affect generations to come.”

Slashing the numbers of injured & killed kids on their way to and from schools

WRI adds: “A child in sub-Saharan Africa is twice as likely to die in a road crash as a child in any other region of the world. With just 2 percent of the vehicles, the region accounts for 16 percent of the world’s road deaths, or more than 200,000 people a year. That number will increase as the region urbanizes at a furious pace. The nonprofit Amend has stepped up to the challenge of reversing this rising tide.”

Further, the WRI Ross Prize for Cities report adds:

“By focusing on the children’s routes to school, SARSAI has reduced injury rates by as much as 26 percent.

“Improved infrastructure in 26 schools areas in Dar es Salaam, covering more than 60% of the highest-risk schools.

“Study conducted with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Dar es Salaam showed SARSAI reduced injury rates by 26% and cut traffic speeds in school zones by up to 60%. Across nine countries to date, SARSAI is estimated to prevent 500 child injury cases each year.”

Before Amend’s improvements, children walked along a narrow edge of the road, with no sidewalk or protection to separate them from fast-moving traffic.

“Amend’s road safety work includes: population-based scientific studies and evaluations, community-based road safety programs, advocacy, light infrastructure, media campaigns, the social marketing of reflector-enhanced schoolbags, and more.”

Congratulations, SARSAI and sub-Saharan Africa!

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Written By

Cynthia Shahan started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. (Several unrelated publications) She is a licensed health care provider. She studied and practiced both Waldorf education, and Montessori education, mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings born with spiritual insights and ethics beyond this world. (She was able to advance more in this way led by her children.)


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