DHAKA, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- The World Bank and BRAC, a global NGO based in Bangladesh, have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate to improve road safety in Bangladesh.
An on-line event held on Saturday titled "Road Safety Collaboration: Reducing road fatalities 50% by 2030" also launched a Road Safety Awareness Campaign as part of the partnership.
The campaign will complement the World Bank-supported WeCARE project, which was approved in June 2020 and aims to upgrade an existing two-lane highway, Bhomra-Satkhira-Navaron, and Jahore-Jhenaidah to a safer four-lane highway, said the bank in a statement.
BRAC and the World Bank will partner together to promote safety for women in public transport systems and conduct training and skills building for drivers, including women drivers, it said.
According to the statement, BRAC's driving school's initiative "women behind the wheels" has trained so far 214 women as professional drivers.
Globally, it said, about 1.35 million people die every year in road accidents. In Bangladesh, road crashes are the fourth leading cause of death of children aged between five and 14, and 67 percent of victims are within the 15-49 age group.
At the event, Bangladeshi Minister of Road Transport and Bridges Obaidul Quader praised the joined initiative by the World Bank and BRAC and said, "Under the leadership of Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has taken actions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of cutting the number of road traffic fatalities by half within the next decade.
"With more awareness and safer behaviors by road users, training of drivers, and better roads, Bangladesh is taking a comprehensive approach for ensuring road safety."
The minister also assured that his ministry will provide full support regarding the training and employment of female drivers.
"Road safety has become an economic and development priority for any country," said Dandan Chen, Acting Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
Dandan Chen said, "We are proud to be part of the government's commitment to better road safety through a National Road Safety Program. Our partnership with BRAC will reinforce the support to the program for improving road safety in both rural and urban areas in Bangladesh."
According to the statement, the collaboration will support exchange of knowledge and raise awareness among stakeholders to reduce fatalities and injuries from road accidents. This will help the country adopt interventions based on the Safe-System Approach, including safe roads and safe behaviors, as recommended globally.
Since 2011, under BRAC's community road safety awareness program, over 1.2 million people have received training on the safe use of roads. In addition, 5,451 schoolteachers and 498,000 school children have received special awareness training on road safety.
"I believe this joint initiative between BRAC and the World Bank will be a big step forward to take the road safety system in the project area to a new level. With the support of the government of Bangladesh and the World Bank, we aspire to take BRAC's community led road safety model across Bangladesh," said Asif Saleh, Executive Director of BRAC. Enditem