On Monday, December 22, 2021, a group calling itself the Coalition of Concerned Journalists and Social Activists (COCJASAARC) paid a courtesy call on the National Road Safety Authority to brief them on their activities and how the two organizations can work more effectively together to help reduce road crashes in the country.
On a visit to the National Road Safety Authority’s (NRSA) headquarters in Ridge, Accra, the group, headed by a seven-member delegation comprised of its executives, was greeted with a thunderous welcome by a waiting team of senior officials.
Mr. Joseph Wemakor, Co-convener of the COCJASAARC, who briefed the gathering, first introduced the organization and then detailed its operations to NRSA officials.
He said that the organisation is on a mission to raise public knowledge about road safety in order to assist keep the occurrence of road incidents, including deaths, injuries, and other consequences, to a minimal minimum.
He added that the group, alarmed by the outcome of recent road crashes that claimed several lives, believes the government is handicapped in dealing with the situation, emphasizing the importance of partnering with the National Road Safety Authority and strongly supporting its efforts to achieve results.
Mr. Wemakor, who was a victim of a horrific road accident that he narrowly escaped this year by the grace of God, remarked on his traumatic experience, “I derive my passion to see this campaign through to a successful conclusion on the basis that I, too, have been a victim and equally share in the plight of all Ghanaians who have also been victims.”
The National Road Safety Authority’s Director of Planning and Programs, Ing. David Osafo Adonteng, who addressed the COCJASAARC membership on behalf of his team, lauded the group’s efforts to help its outfit in achieving its goals.
According to him, it was a pleasant surprise to witness a group of young journalists and social activists together for the first time with such zeal to advocate a cause that others had abandoned due to delivery failures.
He also utilized the opportunity to inform the audience about the organization’s recently launched road safety campaign, branded “Stay Alive,” emphasizing that “that’s what we’re going to do for the next three (3) years.”
While praising the initiative as being based on the National Framework, he rapidly pushes the Coalition to embrace it and guarantee that their next campaign fits equally into it, saying that “any campaign from anywhere would have to be fitted into it.”
“As a result, we will not allow any campaign to operate concurrently without violating the framework,” he said, adding, “Because we need to control everything.”
Mr. Adonteng discussed the dos and don’ts of a successful road safety campaign, recalling one incident when the Authority voiced dissatisfaction over the behavior of certain campaigners who misled the public.
“At times, everywhere you go, you’ll hear someone declare, ‘I’m running a road safety campaign,’ and we had no idea who they were. Some were employing a variety of terms,” for example: “If you speed or exceed the posted speed limit, you are a fool.”
According to him, the message’s substance was completely unfit for public consumption, and he advised the organization against disseminating such’unsavory messages’ to the general public, especially motorists and road users.
For her part, Pearl Adusu, the National Road Safety Authority’s Head of Corporate Affairs, urged members of the Coalition to radiate confidence in the face of any problems that may come throughout their campaign time and to remain fully devoted to achieving desired goals.
As the name indicates, the Coalition of Concerned Journalists and Social Activists (COCJASAARC) is a network of over 60 media and civil society groups comprised of journalists and social activists dedicated to promoting road safety.
As part of its efforts to dramatically decrease, if not eliminate, road collisions, the organisation is educating the Ghanaian people, particularly motorists and road users, on the need of carefully adhering to road safety standards in order to save lives.
The campaign, dubbed ‘Stop road crashes, save lives,’ aims to increase road safety awareness and instill a disciplined culture among road users prior to, during, and after the yuletide season in an effort to reduce the number of road traffic crashes, fatalities, and injuries on our roads in order to keep them safe.
It would see campaigners engaging road users and the general public in a vigorous manner at major lorry stations/parks, market places, and religious settings located in three regions of Ghana, namely Greater Accra, Central Ashanti, and the Northern Regions, where they would be vigorously sensitized and presented with educational materials on road safety regulations in order to contribute to the development of deeper education and awareness about road safety, which would result in a positive outcome.
“As media practitioners, our agenda shaping role is critical to the success of this initiative, along with our active use of social media to assist our campaign messaging and reach out to the broadest audiences possible with the good news,” the group’s convener Samuel Adobah said.