VIA Global Road Safety Education for the Next Generation (VIA) is a global road safety education programme targeting children and youth aged 10 to 18. Jointly created by the corporate foundations of Total and Michelin, the programme is managed by the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP).
VIA is currently implemented in several countries across three continents by local GRSP partners. In addition to educating young people to practise safer behaviours on the road, the programme aims to raise awareness on the importance of road safety education through stakeholder engagement. The long-term goal is to integrate road safety education into school curriculums, and in this area we have observed promising development in our flagship country, India.
Since 2019, United Way Mumbai (UWM), GRSP’s local Implementing Partner in India, has worked closely with over 100 schools and 8,000 children across several cities to deliver VIA. It has also involved a total of 832 teachers from 74 schools through their road safety awareness sessions. Last year, as part of the VIA Programme, UWM engaged 25 schools in the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) to run road safety trainings for 271 teachers and deliver VIA activities for approximately 2500 students. One of those sessions was attended by an Education Officer from the Education Department of the MCGM.
“We at United Way Mumbai firmly believe in collective community impact,” said Ajay Govale, Director of Community Impact at UWM. He continued, “While implementing VIA in India, we have been actively engaging various stakeholders including the Motor Vehicle Department, the Traffic Control Branch, the Mumbai Police, and the Education Department of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai.”
On 2 November 2020, the Motor Vehicle Department of the Government of Maharashtra issued a circular for Education Departments and Institutes to conduct road safety education sessions for school students. “Impressed with the quality of our trainings,” said Ajay, “the Education Department of Municipal Corporation invited United Way Mumbai to organize a training on the topic of road safety for children. This was delivered to a total of 2,000 officers from the education department and to selected teachers from all the municipal schools in Mumbai.”. The selected schoolteachers were then tasked to upskill their colleagues from their respective schools on how to conduct road safety sessions with students. These trainings will be monitored and reported to the Ward Supervisor of Education.
“This is a good development in our journey to make road safety integral to the school curriculum in Mumbai,” added Ajay, who also shared his belief that the collaborative engagement embedded within the VIA Programme will help UWM strengthen their partnerships with local education and road safety stakeholders.
The initiative and ability of UWM to engage in stakeholder relations has been inspiring for the whole VIA Community. It has also been an important step forward towards the vision of VIA, a vision whereby every child receives quality road safety education.