Transaid used its annual showcase event in London yesterday (28 September) to celebrate two major road safety milestones met during 2022, whilst also highlighting the significant challenges facing its professional driver training projects in sub-Saharan Africa.

Speaking before an audience of around 100 corporate members and supporters, Road Safety Project Manager Neil Rettie announced that since 2008, Transaid had trained more than 100 professional driver trainers, who have in turn delivered training to more than 50,000 mostly HGV, PSV and forklift drivers – having a lasting impact on road safety standards.

CEO Caroline Barber paid special thanks to the industry for its steadfast support, saying: “Achieving these milestones in 2022 has only been possible thanks to our strong partnerships, incredible teams and partners in Africa, and the remarkable backing from the transport industry and those that fund our work. Despite another challenging year, your support has remained constant, and I know that you are as committed to Transaid’s mission as ever.”

Looking to the future, Neil said that Transaid must work hard to support female drivers in gaining employment after completing their training – explaining that when entering a male dominated sector, women are often compared directly to male candidates for employment who already have years of experience.

He also highlighted that the environmental impact of transport means Transaid will place a renewed focus on teaching fuel-efficient driving, whilst also adjusting training to cater for the introduction of buses and motorcycle taxis with electric drivelines. Neil also warned that spiralling shipping costs are making it unrealistically expensive for Transaid to send donor vehicles to countries where they are needed to establish and grow training fleets – and invited offers of assistance from logistics or shipping partners.

As well as shining a spotlight on Transaid’s breadth of road safety projects, which includes work with the FIA Foundation in Kenya to establish a national motorcycle helmet coalition, the event included an update on its access to health initiatives, which have continued apace in 2022 with implementation of the MAMaZ Against Malaria@Scale programme.

The showcase was also an opportunity to present the annual Victor Simfukwe Awards – which recognise outstanding contribution and are held in memory of the former Transaid team member who passed away in 2019 following a road traffic accident in Zambia.

GXO graduate Abbie Rennison was highly commended for her nine-month secondment to Transaid’s professional driver training work in Uganda, whilst former Transaid Chair Jo Godsmark, who stood down in the summer, won the overall award for her unwavering commitment to the organisation. Jo spent nine years on the board of trustees, including six years as Chair, and will next week take part in Transaid’s Cycle Malawi event – the latest in a string of major fundraising commitments.

The event was kindly hosted at the central London offices of law firm Ashurst LLP.

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