Empowering Children to become Road Safety Advocates
This is the seventh post 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 Jesus De la Fuente, Executive Director, Safe Kids Philippines.
It didn’t seem like a great fit. A white-haired, senior citizen (me) and an NGO dedicated to children? But the last seven months have been the most rewarding of my life.
It is my great pleasure to spearhead the Walk This Way pedestrian safety program in collaboration with FedEx in the Philippines.
According to traffic statistics more than 35,000 Filipino children are victims of road traffic crashes every year and road-related traffic injuries have become the second most common injury for children between the ages 5 and 12.
We are grateful to FedEx for working with us since 2004 to minimize these preventable injuries. To date, we have reached more than 1.4 million children thanks to a partnership with the Department of Education, which incorporated our Walk This Way education materials to the Grade 5 and 6 curriculum in 15 pilot cities in the country.
One of our newest programs is called the Safe Kids/FedEx Young Road Safety Advocate program, which uses a peer-to-peer approach to teach pedestrian safety to children 14 years old and younger in public elementary schools in the country.
Our sixth grade students are trained on the issue. After the training, these young advocates pass their knowledge on to their younger fourth grade peers through classroom education. In its first year, the program trained more than 600 young advocates and reached more than 60,000 children.
This peer-to-peer approach has had tremendous success teaching and reinforcing important safety messages. The pre- and post-tests administered to 5,067 students revealed that the knowledge about safe road behaviors among participants increased significantly.
In addition, our “Road Safety Advocate of the Year,” Lara Magtibay, also the youngest road safety advocate, became so well respected that the Department of Transportation and Communications invited her to deliver an inspirational message during the National Forum on Road Safety, while the Safety Organization of the Philippines Assembly asked her to be a speaker during the 44th National Road Safety Conference.
Certainly, it is so fulfilling to help educate someone like Lara, and many more who can passionately teach other children to be safe while on the road. Saving more lives from road traffic crashes cannot be done alone by our office and we look forward to expanding our efforts, engaging more volunteers and building our network of road safety advocates in the country.