Innovation for Change: Safe Kids Brazil
This is the second in a series of 10 guest blog posts from the leaders of Safe Kids Worldwide affiliates that FedEx works with around the world in support of child pedestrian road safety initiatives. With tens of thousands of vehicles on the world’s roadways, FedEx is actively engaged in promoting road safety. This month we will hear from Alessandra Françoia, National Coordinator, CRIANÇA SEGURA/Safe Kids Brazil.
Innovation for Change
When I think of the Walk This Way pedestrian safety program, I always remember a principal I met when we conducted a pilot project in Curitiba, a city in the south of the country. This principal told me that before we implemented our Walk This Way project, at least four children every year were struck by a car. Remember, that’s in just one school. We checked back a year later and not a single child in that school had been injured since the Walk This Way program had been implemented. What a difference.
We are grateful to FedEx for its commitment to keeping kids safe. Walk This Way, which is sponsored by FedEx, started in Brazil at the same time our organization started in 2001. At first, it consisted of activities in schools in Sao Paulo and we worked with other NGOs to promote child road safety. We quickly realized that injury prevention works and that there was a great opportunity to save lives.
The question was, how could we expand our program to all states of Brazil with the resources we had available? How could we make sure that all principals had a chance to help the children in their schools?
The answer was simple. Instead of investing in “on-the-ground” activities, we focused on an online model that could more easily reach our target audience.
Here’s how it worked. In 2010, we launched an online road safety course, created to inspire, empower and prepare professionals to become advocates for child road safety. Basically, we wanted to recruit people from all sectors of society and give them the skills to educate students and parents, advocate for changes, and hold awareness activities in their communities.
It worked. The response and impact of the program has been tremendous. We have engaged people from all 27 states of Brazil, and trained more than 607 road safety advocates and educated 26,000 families. In 2013, Queen Sofia personally presented us with an award from Mapfre Foundation in Spain for Best Injury Prevention Action award. It was a great honor and recognition and we couldn’t have done this without FedEx’s ongoing support. But the best part is that I know more principals have the tools and support they need to keep kids in their schools safer from injuries and death.