AFRICA – TANZANIA – UK – Once again a British freight company has stepped in to try and improve the horrific death toll seen annually on the African roads with Jon Aspden, Regional Driver Training consultant on secondment from Bibby Distribution, overcoming humidity, difficult road conditions and a Swahili language barrier, completing his second two-week project with Transaid in Africa, training a group of truck driving instructors to deliver better training at the National Institute of Transport in Tanzania.
4,000 people are killed on Tanzania’s roads each year and bus, coach and truck drivers there have historically hit the road without adequate training. Having previously worked on a separate Transaid project in Zambia in 2009, Aspden knew to expect challenging driving conditions in Africa. But conditions in the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam were a little more challenging still.
Aspden saw buses overtaking on blind hills over solid white lines, trucks with their cargo inadequately secured, and met a policeman who had recently arrested a bus driver for having no brakes and no reverse gear, despite carrying passengers on a regular 250-mile journey leading the consultant to comment:
“Fortunately the policeman had recently received vehicle inspection training from another Transaid volunteer from the Freight Transport Association. So he was able to identify the problems on the bus, and avert a potential disaster.”
Three Tanzanian truck driving instructors gained an instructor certification as a result of their efforts and Aspden’s help. Their training was split over two weeks, with the first week focused on driving best practice, and the second week on instruction techniques with Aspden having to work through a translator to deliver the training in temperatures that were considerably hotter than the UK’s. Bibby Distribution chief executive Iain Speak explained why his firm is so pleased to be part of work like this saying:
“Bibby Distribution is a founding member of Transaid because regardless of industry or experience, road safety worldwide is still vital. We’re pleased to help out with overseas projects and spread our expertise to save lives, and we’re very proud that our own people are up for the challenges to make a real difference.”
Transaid was founded by Save The Children and the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK) (CILT) and enjoys strong backing from the transport and logistics industry and the active involvement of its patron, HRH The Princess Royal and works tirelessly to improve professional driving standards and supports projects to improve the quality of life by teaching preventive vehicle maintenance management and introducing local, low cost transport solutions including its innovative bicycle ambulance. Transaid’s project coordinator, in Tanzania Neil Rettie points out that the organisation’s training is operating on the “teach-a-man-to-fish” principle saying:
“We’re very grateful to Bibby Distribution for letting us make use of Jon’s expertise, and to Jon for coming out here to help develop much-needed driver instructor skills in Tanzania. The three instructors are now well on their way to being able to pass on their skills to more driver trainers and they hope to have trained a further three instructors by the end of the year. This will not only save more lives on the roads but also ensure that this type of training becomes locally sustainable.”
If you or your company feel there is something you can do to support Transaid with one of their many projects please check out this part of the Transaid Website and see the ways you can help make a difference and save lives.
Photo: Jon Aspden ‘on the job’ in Tanzania.