NGOs and Legislators: Seeking better collaborations

How can NGOs have better collaborations with legislators and which countries are doing it well? How can continuity be ensured when governments and staff change? Why have so few countries ratified the Africa Road Safety Charter?

These were some of the issues deliberated by Members of Parliament representing the African Regional Network of Road Safety Legislators and NGO members of the Africa Chapter of the Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety at a special online session, in collaboration with WHO and World Bank.

The purpose of the session was to examine the challenges and opportunities for MPs and NGOs to work more closely together to push forward the road safety agenda at government level in Africa to help achieve the 2030 SDG target to reduce road deaths and injuries by 50%.

As a result of the meeting:

  1. There was interest, particularly on the NGO side, to push governments to ratify the Africa Road Safety Charter
  2. Creating networks between NGOs and MPs in-country and regionally would ensure sustainability and continuity to keep road safety on the agenda despite changing MPs and governments
  3. Case studies are needed from around the continent to model what good collaboration between MPs and NGOs looks like
  4. Increasing knowledge is needed on both sides to push a joint agenda effectively: NGOs need to understand the legislative process and legislators need to have more knowledge of the issues 

This is an important result for the road safety community in Africa and one that could open the door to stronger collaboration between legislators and NGOs at national level.

Representing the parliamentarians, Hon. Alex Ruhunda, Uganda, said, “We need a serious advocacy agenda and some of this must be picked up by the various foras in the different countries in parliament and civil society. I have seen civil society push for the financing of the health sector and the financing of the teachers in my country and some of these pressures yield results. That concerted effort would be very useful for us to follow those commitments that are being made at international level.”

On behalf of the Alliance’s Africa Chapter, Bright Oywaya, ASIRT Kenya, said “If we are open on both sides, NGO and parliamentarians, to building capacity, grasping issues, understanding what’s going on from best practice, what is going on from the international perspective, what is going on from the local and national perspective, we will be able to work better together. We all want the same thing: we want the safety of our people, the safety of our constituents. If we are able to do that, then we will begin to bridge those gaps.” 

Our thanks to all the NGOs, legislators, and presenters involved in the event. The panel included Hon. Asta Djoulde Roukayatou and Hon. Donald Esembe, of the National Assembly, Cameroon, alongside Hon. Alex Ruhanda for the legislator network, and Martial Manfred Missimikim, SECUROUTE, Cameroon, alongside Bright Oywaya, for the NGOs. Also presenting were Evelyn Murphy, WHO, and Tawia Addo-Ashong, World Bank.

Watch the full session:

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