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GOB and CDB launches Youth and Road Safety Capacity Building Project Print E-mail
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Thursday, 19 June 2014 00:00

2,000 Belizean Youth between ages 16-29 are expected to benefit from this USD$157,000 the Youth and Road Safety Capacity Building Project jointly funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Government of Belize (GOBZ). The project will be executed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Road Safety Unit and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. The road safety capacity building programme for teens and young adults will be facilitated by Youth For Road Safety (YOURS<http://www.youthforroadsafety.org/>), an international youth-led and youth-oriented, not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation focused on youth and road safety. The programme will utilise a train-the-trainer approach, while incorporating peer education and active learning. It is expected that the project will also enhance the benefits to be realised from the ongoing USD8.844 million CDB and GOBZ funded Road Safety Project launched in March 2013.

Road traffic injuries are the fourth leading cause of death in Belize. Of these, youth comprise 30% of road crash fatalities, with young males specifically, accounting for approximately 90%. Through this project we aim to increase youth’s understanding of road safety, and create the awareness for young men and women to become advocates and peer-facilitators for road safety. The first phase of the project will commence from June 16-27, 2014 over a two-week period. YOURS will take the selected young leaders through an intensive road safety programme and train them in all aspects of youth and road safety issues as well as key skills on running their own workshops with young people in the country. The training combines theory with practice and will give hands on experience as well as life-long transferrable skills and an unforgettable experience. As stated by Mr. Glen McCarvell from the CDB, “the project seeks to catalyse behavioural change in young males, while equipping all participants with the knowledge needed, and assisting with the development of the skills required, to implement their own road safety activities.” These young men and women will receive a hands-on approach to appreciate the importance of road safety and build the will to disseminate this information, using a multiplier approach, to families, friends and the community at large. Young men and women will be able to appreciate the importance of driving responsibly and subsequently transfer this knowledge to others. For example, it is well known that alcohol impairs one´s ability to drive since it affects judgment, vision, coordination and reflexes and increases the risk of crashing. The law with respect to driving under the influence of alcohol stipulates that Belizean drivers must have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) as an equivalent to less than 0.08. BAC is a measurement of the amount of alcohol in your body, expressed as grams of alcohol per 100ml of blood. Statistic shows that driving under the influence of alcohol is the second most common cause of fatalities for road traffic collisions in Belize.

In the first phase, approximately 15 young men and women will be selected based on the following criteria: highly motivated to make a positive change for youth and road safety; feels comfortable in front of a group of people; is patient and can explain issues in a simple way to young people; is able to create a good learning environment and atmosphere where young people are relaxed and open to share information; can relate to youth issues and understands their needs/culture; have good organization and communication skills; works or worked at a professional organization that can support their road safety work after the training; experienced in facilitating workshops/trainings; and experienced in road safety and understands the basics.

The second phase will focus on reaching 2,000 youth by the 15 Train-The-Trainers from the first phase. The Train-The-Trainers will prepare a plan for the Youth and Road Safety Workshops over a 6-month period and will be assisted by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MOEYS) in the selection of high schools within the on-going Road Safety Project’s Demonstration Corridor for the initial rollout of workshops and thereafter extend to the entire country. In addition, the MOEYS will identify opportunities to extend the workshops to reach youth not in the school system.

The YOURS Belize Project is a unique opportunity for young leaders to be trained in Road Safety and to contribute to reducing deaths and injuries from road traffic collisions on Belize roads.