Solidarity, connectivity and making a positive change for road safety through social media were among the key themes addressed at the first Regional Road Safety Youth Assembly in Muscat, Oman in mid February. Entitled, ‘Connectivity and Moving Forward,’ the three-day assembly hosted by the Government of Oman, with technical support from the Global Road Safety Partnership, included representatives from 24 countries in the Middle East and North Africa region who exchanged expertise and discussed various issues related to road-crash death and injury.
The key outcomes of the assembly, which will serve as a foundation for road safety efforts in the region, include the presentation of the Muscat Youth Declaration on Road Safety and the formation of a regional Road Safety Youth Association. The event also helped to galvanize the participants’ energies around activities for the Decade of Action for Road Safety, which launches in May 2011.
Amongst the numerous discussions, one key theme resonated throughout each group: Participants stressed the importance of common solidarity and connectivity, with an understanding on how communities can benefit from sharing experiences in order to reduce traffic collision and injury.
Youth at the assembly further emphasized the need to leverage the power of social media and modern technology in order to promote road safety. Participants highlighted the value of raising awareness and information on road safety by using key avenues of communication most used by young people to inspiring change for action.
The assembly also provided a forum to discuss methods to create change. “We need to work in order to revive volunteerism and develop materials to highlight traffic safety as an issue,” stated Dr. Wahid Al Kharusi, President of the Oman Road Safety Association who delivered a speech on volunteerism.
The goal for civil society, businesses and other members of the Global Road Safety Partnership, is to continue supporting youth as they take what they learned at the assembly and bringing it to the streets in their communities.
This article was adapted from a piece written by Rahima al Balushi in the Times of Oman