Thursday, April 19, 2012

BIS #2910 'WALK THIS WAY' - IN COLLABORATION WITH SAFE KIDS FOUNDATION

WADALA, APRIL 19, 2012: SAFE KIDS is a foundation that was set up in India with the aim of 'Preventing unintentional childhood injury'.  This is an addition to the 'Safe Kids' Worldwide family of coalition partners.  It is currently working in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Delhi and Ahmedabad. A chance meeting with the members and trustees of this foundation during this academic year has paved way for some projects with far-reaching goals.  A series of meetings and interactions with this group has encouraged the foundation to adopt our school for its 'Model School Zone Project'.

In the recent meeting that included people and dignitaries from all walks of life – teachers, parishioners, PTA members, Traffic cops, students, BMC schools' staff, statisticians and researchers – the foundation introduced the "Walk this way" Project.  This Project is a pedestrian safety programme created by SAFE KIDS worldwide to check the growing menace of road accidents.  This being "The Decade of Action for Road Safety', the Safe Kids foundation wishes to support the decade by conducting this programme.  For this they have envisaged a Model School Project that will be implemented in nine countries: Brazil, Canada, China, India, Korea, Philippines, Thailand, USA and Vietnam. The purpose of the project is to improve the safety of pedestrians around the schools, and the goal is to demonstrate that the Model School Project can be effective and adapted to benefit children in countries of varying resource levels.

The scientific approach comprises a well spelt out methodology and steps that involve detailed phases. The methodology includes the evaluation of the school zone and the implementation of the different interventions with a focus on improving the permanent environmental infrastructure.  Pedestrian safety evaluations are another part of the said methodology.  This project is to be carried out in three phases that would evaluate and finalize plans for intervention, implementation of the interventions and a post-intervention assessment.

The group sat together for over an hour on April 11 to organize a working committee, and see how to get started with the research and survey for the evaluation.  The research that included traffic crash records, school zone assessment, parent survey form, student walk ability checklist, student behaviour survey, student awareness level and photo voice by students needed the cooperation and the goodwill of the different parties concerned – a generous nod of the head by the participants didn't suggest otherwise!

There is indeed a growing need for awareness programs for children and adults in road safety, and given the recent spate of road accidents one can no longer soft pedal this concern.  Safe Kids foundation has helped us move forward in this regard and send forth a tiny ripple of hope!

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