TRANSSAFE Living Labs for Road Safety in Rwanda

Healthy People Rwanda, an Alliance member, is part of the TRANS-SAFE consortium and will be supporting the implementation of the Living Labs project in Rwanda. The Living Labs is part of the TRANS-SAFE project, which encompasses different demonstration actions in selected African cities with the purpose of testing different types of innovative and integrated Safe System solutions. This will be complemented by a comprehensive toolbox, capacity development, policy support and replication activities.

Healthy People Rwanda was selected as it is one of the most active NGOs working in road safety in Rwanda. “As a local road safety organization with extensive expertise in realities on the ground, our role is to choose and implement the demonstration actions for Rwanda in collaboration with different experts from the consortium. We have selected six demonstration pilots designed to meet the road safety needs of the city,” says Innocent Nzeyimana, President and Co-founder of Healthy People Rwanda.

The Safe System approach is at the core of their project. “All the demonstration actions fit in different pillars of the safe system approach. We recognize that radical improvement of road safety requires a holistic approach to different players and prioritize protections of vulnerable road users while considering the error prone nature of human beings.”

The project consists of six activities. Firstly, a dynamically updated high risk, near-miss crash map/dashboard of road crashes will be developed. The second activity will be the identification of high-risk zones through crowdsourcing tools. It will then create a Walkability App intended to empower pedestrians and other non-motorized transport (NMT) users to report dangerous conditions and suggest interventions. The third step is the development of the R2S Education platform in Kigali, aimed to educate safe routes to schools for children. The summit on safe and clean vehicles is the fourth pilot demonstration. Vehicle extrication and first aid training for police and other lay responders will be the fifth demonstration. This is meant to expedite early pre-hospital care through better extrication and basic first aid training. The sixth demo is the Rwanda RAP, which is aimed at an assessment of the safety conditions of roads around school zones to identify opportunities for improving road safety.

Healthy People Rwanda will also be collaborating with other members of the consortium and local institutions. “Each organization in the consortium has specific responsibilities on selected work packages and tasks,” says Innocent. “Teams working on a specific package/task meet regularly to discuss the progress of the project which is also a learning/knowledge sharing opportunity. The collaboration has a positive influence on the project as there are more brains hence the work is done effectively and efficiently.” The organization hopes the project will lead to significant road safety improvements in Kigali. 

Innocent noted that the Alliance has played a crucial role in the growth of the organization. “First of all, the Alliance has increased our confidence through its capacity building and network opportunities. Secondly, after joining the Alliance, we have understood better the road safety issues and how they can be resolved in specific contexts. Those have positioned us to be the best candidates to undertake this project in Rwanda. Lastly, the Alliance has given us the capacity in terms of advocacy and collaboration which are needed in this project.”

“There are various resources from the Alliance that have been of big importance in terms of making us mature enough to undertake big and very important projects like the Living Labs project. Capacity building programs like the Incubator, #CommitToAct campaigns, Global Meetings, trainings, and online events, are some of the resources just to mention a few.”

Innocent Nzeyimana believes this project will increase their expertise in road safety hence have more to contribute. “The project will generate new knowledge through research that is being undertaken on the ground which will help us to do more focused advocacy and apply the knowledge to do evidence-based interventions. Lessons include the importance of collaborations, and the confidence that it is possible to improve road safety. Road safety is a real global health issue that requires a high level of commitment and collaboration to address it. No single measure, no single person nor single institution or government can improve road safety. It requires a holistic and multidisciplinary approach.”

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