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ONLINE CRASH VICTIMS COMMUNITY

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ONLINE CRASH VICTIMS COMMUNITY

Usalama Watch Initiative is a nonprofit, nongovernmental initiative that is committed to reducing road carnage in Kenya and help road crash victims by offering emotional and practical support. As a nongovernmental organization, we play a leadership role in the civil society by advocating with vigor for victims’ rehabilitation and development programs, social welfare, health, family protection, education and economic support. We envision that Usalama Watch Initiative will be a great resource in tackling all road safety issues ranging from prevention to post crash care.

What is the Usalama Watch Initiative online community?

In our online community, members provide each other with various types of support, usually nonprofessional and nonmaterial, for a particular shared, usually burdensome, characteristic. The help may take the form of providing and evaluating relevant information, relating personal experiences, listening to and accepting others' experiences, providing sympathetic understanding and establishing social networks. Our online community group also works to inform the public and engage in advocacy ventures.

The Usalama online community is fully organized and managed by its members, who are commonly volunteers and have personal experience in the subject of the group's focus. The members also include healthcare professionals e.g. doctors, counselors and nurses among others .

How does Usalama online community work? 

We give members a safe space where they can talk through their specific concerns and explore the options available. Each session opens at a specified time, is facilitated by a trained facilitator and is attended by up to 10 users of the service. A session will last approximately 90 minutes and some groups are specifically aimed at, for example, those suffering with depression or un-informed relatives.

Benefits of the Usalama online support community

1.

We offer a safe environment conducive to those going through difficulties in their lives as a result of road crashes to connect with others who with similar experiences. The exchange of experiences and information is a valuable tool for members seeking answers and emotional support.

2.

We are able to dispel myths and misinformation, and offer an environment of normalcy to the person who is struggling with a problem. This helps to put things into perspective.

3.

We offer companionship and wholesome information for members coping with the effect of a crash, loss of a loved one or disability.

4.

Usalama support group has created a community and understanding in spite of great geographical distances where members can share knowledge and experience. This is especially helpful for thos with physical challenges and have accessibility issues or rural residents.

5.

Usalama support group is more effective because the online space gives members anonymity which makes them feel at ease and less intimidated than they would in traditional settings. This makes members more likely to be honest and thus allow the counselors to provide better assistance.

6.

Usalama support group has shown to be effective for members who may have difficulty reaching appointments during normal business hours or in remote towns.

   

MOTORCYCLE SAFETY OR THE BODA BODA SAFETY CAMPAIGN

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Going back into history motorcycles have been in Kenya since the 1960s when they were commonly used to smuggle goods and people across the Kenya-Uganda border – border-to-border, giving them the nickname boda boda. In the last 5 years there has been an abrupt avalanche in motorcycle sales in Kenya this is because:-

In 2006 in an effort to promote alternate and cheaper means of transport the Government of Kenya waived the import duty on bicycles and motor cycles. Consequently importers drastically lowered prices to a 50% drop. Financial institutions have also joined in to give affordable credit facilities on the boda boda’s. This has led to the influx of registered motorcycle taxis on the roads from 4,136 in 2004 to over 30,000 to date and numbers still rising.

The increase in boda boda’s has led to increase in motorcycle related crash incidents. This is because:-

1.

Lack of certified driver training and licensing. But by offering cheaper fares and faster transport times, many riders say they are willing to take the risk.

2.

Neither the motorcycle drivers nor their passengers wear helmets.

3.

Overloading of the motorcycles with either excess luggage or passengers.

4.

Drunken driving rates among boda boda drivers are high.

5.

Speeding and reckless driving

6.

Poor motorcycle maintenance

7.

Poor regulation and law enforcement.

Usalama Watch Initiative has taken the lead in encouraging good practice in road safety management and it is in this respect that we are spearheading the below interventions that have been tested repeatedly and shown to be effective.

 HELMETS

Head and neck injuries are the main causes of death, severe injury and disability among motorcyclists. The effects of these crashes impose a financial burden and affect the survivors who have to provide long term specialized care for the injured. It is worthy to note that head injuries cost more than any other injury. Accumulative these medical costs take a toll on the country’s health care system and economy at large. Motorcycle helmets are an effective both in preventing head injuries and reducing the severity of injuries sustained by riders and passengers of the boda bodas. The helmet aims to reduce the risk of serious head and brain injuries by reducing the impact of a force or collusion to the head.

REFLECTIVE JACKETS:

Motorcycle and bicycle riders are at an increased risk of being involved in a crash. This is because they often share traffic space with fast moving cars, buses and trucks making them less visible. Lack of visibility is one of the major causes of motorcycle crashes. It is important for the motorcycle driver to wear a bright colored reflective jacket to enable visibility with other road users.

Education & awareness to involve the public

Usalama Watch Initiative is involved in various education and awareness campaigns aimed at educating motorcycle users and Sacco’s. An example is an educative road show at Mlolongo encompassing the following areas:-

  1. To increase awareness of road traffic safety
  2. To increase awareness of quality helmets use
  3. To increase awareness of the use of reflective jackets
  4. What the law says and importance of compliance
  5. To decrease the rate of motorcycle injuries and fatalities

We continue to host seminars and training workshops with Motorcycle Sacco’s countrywide.

ROAD ENGINEERING, INFRASTRUCTURE AND POLICY CHANGE

Usalama Watch Initiative will undertake a study to develop a coordinated and full cost program of measure interventions at a national and county level in the following areas.

  • Road safety unit capacity building
  • Emergency responders and rescue services
  • Hazardous location improvement
  • Pedestrian safety

Kenya has a vision to transform the country into a middle income economy by 2030. This is a good time to lay down the right foundation for road construction that will ensure all road safety measures are put in place for all road users. Unfortunately we have noted that new highways and roads continue to be constructed without road safety measures in place for all road users . Mombasa road that was recently (less that 5 years) constructed by the Kenyan and Chinese governments continues to experience fatal crashes daily due to lack of proper safety measures.


We have observed gaps in our transport system and lobby for a complete review of Kenya’s laws on road safety infrastructure and conduct. Our function will include undertaking an extensive research on the current law and compare it to what other successful countries like United Kingdom, Sweden, Rwanda, Ghana and Australia have done and produce a case or substantial data that will enable us spearhead a new road safety program.

One of the things we would like to be enacted into law is that any new road construction should have a compulsory 10% budgetary allocation for road safety. The current Traffic Act is not detailed in some areas. We would like to incorporate key areas that need compliance by road engineers during construction. Once we have a comprehensive report we shall use it to advocate for legislative review.

Areas of concern include:

  • Pedestrian foot Bridges and flyovers
  • Pedestrian underpasses
  • Pedestrian pavement
  • Cyclists and handcart lanes
  • Bus stops
  • Highway hard shoulders
  • Highway toll free phone booth
  • Truck lanes
  • Street Lighting
  • Road markings & zebra crossings
  • School buses

ROAD DATA COLLECTION AND RESEARCH

Usalama Watch Initiative has noted that Kenya needs update and improve on road data collection. The current data obtained by traffic police and other government agencies is grossly under reported due to lack of a proper data system. Since data collection is done manually, there is loss of information between the crash site, the local police stations and the traffic headquarters where official data is stored. This data is also not harmonized with hospital data, where many casualties are taken after crashes. There is need for a central computerized crash database with proper storage management.

The information of road crash data can be used for:-

  • Planning especially by Government agencies.
  • Checking road traffic trends
  • Evidence based education and awareness campaigns
  • Road data collection provides a snapshot of the overall state and aspects of the roads when needed.
  • Road data collection promotes transparency and accountability as it becomes a matter of public record.
  • Road data collection allows stakeholders to definitively measure the impact of interventions

Sponsors

                     

The Cotswold

Foundation

           
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