FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: East Africa Driving Champion Finals
Nairobi, Kenya, 19th May, 2017 – For the second year, the East African 2017 Driver Recognition Programme, a road safety competition to recognise the pivotal role of humanitarian drivers, will be hosted in Kenya from 19th to 20th May 2017 in Lukenya.
The Driver Recognition Programme is an eco- and safe driving inter-agency humanitarian competition, that recognises the important role drivers play in the sustainability, health and safety objectives, of aid and development organisations. The event is co-ordinated by Fleet Forum, an international non-profit organisation, that brings the transport sector together to chart a way in fleet management and road safety.
In aid and development organisations, drivers are responsible for the wellbeing and safety of passengers, but are also in charge of high value vehicles and equipment. They are the most prominent public ‘face’ of the organisation, and often have to deal with difficult situations, bad roads, hostile environments and unfair demands. This event is designed to engage, educate, inspire and recognise the best drivers for their contribution, in supporting a workforce of persons who drive safely and remain accident-free at all times, in order to save lives and eliminate crash-related costs.
World Vision and World Food Programme, long-time supporters and board member organisations of Fleet Forum, have graciously assumed the role of co-hosts of this final event. Both World Food Programme and World Vision consistently strive to invest in their drivers and understand that performance management involves recognising both positive behaviours as well as areas of the improvement of their drivers. It is through their unwavering support that Fleet Forum is able to facilitate such an event.
Interim World Vision Kenya National Director John Makoni, says “We recognise the important role our drivers play to help us achieve and deliver our programmes and that is why World Vision co-hosts and participates in the Driver Recognition Programme. Our drivers are essential to the delivery of our programmes and without their hard-work, it would be impossible achieve our mandate. Under this programme, we aim to foster our driver’s sense of pride through positive acknowledgement as well as the possibility to represent World Vision Kenya. Confident and competent drivers operate vehicles safely, fuel-efficiently and can improve the service levels of our programmes”
Non-governmental organisations like World Food Programme (WFP), UNICEF, Mercy Corps, Marie Stopes, Catholic Relief Services and several more will participate.
At the start of the programme in February, over 620 drivers from 12 organisations in 11 East African countries registered. Since then, Fleet Forum has been working with the country and senior management of each organisation to identify their best driver.
At the final event, each driver will be accompanied by a senior representative of the same organisation, who will serve as a ‘co-driver’, encouraging and cheering on for their drivers.
A total of 12 drivers will compete for the 2017 Driving Champion Award, sponsored by UPS. The programme will also nurture a workforce of drivers who are fuel efficient, reducing operational costs with impact on the environment. Time spent on the road is the most dangerous part of a humanitarian worker’s job, and many are prone to injury or killed, in vehicle-related incidents, than by any other means.
“Unfortunately, the role of the drivers is not always appreciated. By facilitating this programme, Fleet Forum aims to provide the aid and development sector with a useful tool to engage drivers” says Paul Jansen, Fleet Forum Executive Director.
According to the Kenya National Transport and Safety Authority information published in their 2015 Road Safety Status Report, more than 1.24 million people globally, currently die on road accidents annually. The death toll is highest in developing countries despite low motorisation, where more than 90 per-cent of fatalities occur. Globally, it is the leading cause of death for people aged 15–29 years. The report added that an estimated 3,000 deaths from road crashes occur annually in Kenya and about 40 per-cent are pedestrians. The road safety status report indicated that in Kenya, the economic cost of road crashes is 5.6 per-cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Kenya shillings 300 billion, annually.
According to the recently published World Health Organisation Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015, there are no laws for helmet wearing, blood-alcohol concentration levels for drivers or child restraints in Kenya. Where road safety laws exist, they are poorly enforced. The Drivers Recognition Programme will see teams participating in the competition, and will undergo three challenges, to determine who is the best team out of the participating NGOs. Announcement of Driving Champion 2017.
“WFP has established the Road Safety campaign in line with United Nations’ resolution for Road Safety, which proclaimed 2011 – 2020 the Decade of Action on Road Safety. From the very beginning, WFP has emphasised the critical role each one of us has to play, ensuring the highest standards of behaviour are conveyed on the road” says Martin Walsh, WFP Programme Manager - GVLP.
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