Friday, 28 September 2012

Child safety focus in Georgia advocacy

Anri Jokhadze promotes seat belt safety
Policymakers and the public in the Republic of Georgia are being encouraged to make children's road safety a priority, in a campaign co-financed by the Road Safety Fund and BP. The 'Partnership for Road Safety' NGO, based in Tblisi, has made a big impact with its awareness raising campaign, featuring regularly on the country's media, and highlighting the benefits of seat belts and child restraints, and promoting pedestrian safety. The work of the Partnership is also supported by the Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport (EASST), which provides strategic advice and fosters external partnerships, and other donors include USAID.

All of the Partnership for Road Safety's activities have a core focus on capacity building, particularly encouraging effective legislation and enforcement. And the Partnership has a track record of success. As a result of three years of active work on seat belt regulations led by the Partnership, the Georgian Parliament introduced new regulations making seat belts compulsory from January 2011. Previously, seat belt regulations applied only on inter-urban highways and roads where the speed limit is above 80 km/h. The new amendment secured extended this to all roads and streets throughout Georgia. The Partnership has worked closely with the First Lady of Georgia, Sandra Roelofs, to publicise its work, and recently appointed Georgian singer and celebrity Anri Jokhadze as its road safety ambassador.

Current efforts of the Partnership include consolidating the implementation of seat belt rules and building towards further action on provision of child safety. Earlier this year, with support from the Estonian Government, the partnership opened the first road safety traffic centre for children in the region, where children are given bicycle skills training free of charge, and Anri Jokhadze produced a video promoting child safety which was broadcast widely on Georgian TV. We'll be updating on further progress with the campaign, which is supported in 2012 through the Road Safety Fund's Small Grants Programme and with a grant from BP Georgia.

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