Sometimes, it seems like the energy and passion for an issue is slumbering within the hearts of people, just waiting for someone to take action. A year ago, a tragic car crash in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, changed Sofia Salek de Braun’s life forever. This was her wake-up call to no longer accept the situation in her home country. No one would have thought how the vision and voice of one person could affect everyone else around her.
Friends and colleagues at PTV Group were blown away by the energy of Sofia. Together, a plan has been made to start a rethinking process in the minds of Bolivian people. In terms of road safety, Latin America ranks number one in the global ranking of regions with the highest number of deaths from road traffic accidents. According to Roads Kill Map 23.2 people die on Bolivian roads per 100,000 inhabitants per year. It is a number that concerns not only authorities, but also every individual. People need to be aware of the consequences they are facing when it comes to unsafe driving. PTV Group decided to go to Bolivia with a team of experts from Academia, NGO’s and the private sector, to raise awareness amongst local authorities and institutions through a hands-on workshop on the issue of road safety.
Many things happened since we first announced the Road Safety Training in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. We never imagined such an overwhelming reaction by the public. All level of governments, police, universities, civil society organizations and private sector signed-up for the course. With more requests than expected, we had to enlarge the workshop to make sure that everyone interested could join. From the start, it also caused a huge response in the local media. Radio stations, newspapers, local journalists and TV channels were talking about the initiative and the attempt to turn things around in Bolivia.
In November 2016, Greg Speier from Speier Road Safety Solutions, Paulo Humanes and Sofia Salek de Braun from PTV Group, Saul Alveano from WRI, Neil Thorpe and Roger Bird from Civil Engineering & Geosciences, Newcastle University finally got to Santa Cruz to get the ball rolling. On the first day, more than 100 experts from different sectors were waiting for the exercises to begin. Locals and foreign experts found themselves being interviewed by journalists for the local news. The highlight was an invitation from TV Channel Red UNO on Thursday, December 1, to talk about the initiative, its purpose and motivation.
The following days dealt not only with the challenges but also tried to go further by assisting in solving the key problems. Road safety is not only a governmental issue. Although the week was a huge success, it should not be a left alone, but should be seen as a starting point. To make a change, Bolivian individuals need to step in the dialogue as well. The movement is already in motion. Join us! facebook.com/superlucabolivia
We thank all the participants, as well as the international experts and all the people who helped on-site for their effort and time to make everything work!
Find out more about the workshop: Workshop details.
This post is also available in: German