UNIFIL raises road safety awareness among schoolchildren

At a UNIFIL Road Safety Day, local schoolchildren climb out of the vehicle after practicing how to fasten their seatbelts, and the next group waits for their turn.

UNIFIL Italian and Tanzanian military police peacekeepers teach children how to use a pedestrian crossing.

At the end of the UNIFIL road safety session each student receives a certificate of completion.

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2 Feb 2017

UNIFIL raises road safety awareness among schoolchildren

Hundreds of schoolchildren, accompanied by their teachers, from UNIFIL’s area of operation in south Lebanon braced cold weather recently to gather at Tair Harfa Public School. They were there for a reason: to learn about road safety from UNIFIL peacekeepers.

In collaboration with local authorities and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), UNIFIL’s Civil Affairs Office has established a network of some 35 public and private schools – involving about 3,000 school students and about 250 teachers – in south Lebanon to carry out road safety awareness activities like this one.

According to a UNIFIL civil affairs officer, Habib Aziz, each road safety awareness activity is divided into two parts: first the lecture, and then practical activities in the playground that include – among other things – the measures to take in order to avoid traffic accidents. It is implemented on the ground with support of UNIFIL’s Transport Section, Italian Military Police and Tanzanian Military Police.  “The students are benefitting from the instructions and they are going on to apply these methods,” said Mr. Aziz. “They are also sharing these lessons with their families, in schools and in their communities.”

One of the student participants at a similar event held at Tyre Public School, Lea Mhanna, said, “We should not feel nervous when we encounter a traffic accident and we should follow the traffic lights and the white and yellow markers on the ground.”   Another student, Dana Wehbe, said she learned about the harm of using mobile phones while walking in the street. “They taught me that we should look right and left before crossing the road, and to check the traffic lights,” she added.

Lena Jebran, the vice-president of Kun-Hadi Association, a local civil society group that partners with UNIFIL in organizing these school awareness activities, said such campaigns enable them to communicate with schools in remote areas.  “The students are eager to learn new things, just as their teachers. With regard to the impact, one session is certainly not enough. The schools should designate special classes for this purpose or engage in any sort of activity about traffic safety,” said Ms. Jebran. “If we start to teach the children in an early age, we will find in the future when they become grownups that they have already learned the correct rules of driving.”

Article: Tilak Pokharel
Video Editor: Suzane Badereddine, Mohammad Hamze
Video Camera: Aoibheann O'Sullivan, Mohammad Hamze
Photo: Pasqual Gorriz