Transaid, an international development organisation, has expanded its professional driver training programmes into Malawi. This follows the programme’s success in raising commercial driver training standards in Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
With its headquarters in the UK, Transaid aims to improve people’s quality of life in the developing world by making transport more available and affordable. It was founded by Save the Children and the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK) and works by sharing skills and knowledge with local people to enable them to put in place and manage efficient transport systems.
In Malawi, Transaid experts will be working alongside Malawi’s Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) to tackle the high road traffic fatality rate in the country which, according to the WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015, stands at an estimated 35 deaths per 100 000 population, compared to 2.9 per 100 000 in the UK.
Initially running for three months in Blantyre and Lilongwe – and thanks to generous support from a private donor – the project will offer driver trainers from public and private sectors UK-standard training and the tools to pass on this first-class tuition to their own students.
Vehicle inspection courses for the country’s traffic police and officers from the DRTSS will also form part of the project, facilitating better enforcement of Malawi’s road regulations.
Gary Forster, CEO of Transaid, says: “We’re thrilled to be working in Malawi and hope to replicate the success that the driver training initiatives have had in Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, which in the past 12 months alone helped to train nearly 6 000 commercial drivers.”
The programme will be bolstered with the support of professional volunteers from the European transport and logistics sector, including Silvio Sorrentino, Operations Manager at ALSA, part of the National Express Group, who will oversee the coordination of the scheme as project officer.
The programme will also benefit from a series of two week secondments, including PSV training from National Express’ trainer, Phil Reynolds, and two HGV inputs – first from Chris Hill, senior driver trainer from Hoyer Petrolog UK and second, from DHL’s senior driving instructor, Chris Brook.
Vehicle inspection training will be conducted by the Road Haulage Association’s Technical Director, Steve Biddle, and training manager, Bob Auchterlonie.
“The wealth of expertise that our professional volunteers bring to our projects is simply phenomenal. We would like to thank our volunteers and our corporate members for their continuing support and commitment to making this new project in Malawi a success,” says Forster.
Prior to the launch of the project, Transaid’s Road Safety Project Manager, Neil Rettie, and programme support manager, Sam Clark, carried out a research and assessment trip to Malawi. During the visit, the pair held a workshop for key stakeholders with the aim of discussing Malawi’s road safety standards and identifying the areas most in need of Transaid’s support.