‘Hello and welcome to 2012’ First, apologies:- this greeting comes at rather a late time but I have also heard the famous English statement ‘Better Late Than Never’. Well, I guess the French speaking will not take me to courts of Law under the clause of ‘Qui S’excuse S’accuse’…As for us the Arabic speaking, we shall yell ‘Shukrrrrannnn, Yalaaaaaa Bring on the road safety champagne!’ Greetings from the African continent! Mes remerciemments de Afrique!
As my favourite Italian writer very many times quoted by arguably the only saint Africa has ever produced, Nelson Mandera, Mr Dante Alighieri once said ‘The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis’
Michael Meyer’s article entitled "Public Advocacy" places the question of neutrality at the heart of the debate. Neutrality is one of the Fundamental Red Cross and Red Crescent Principles and is defined as follows:
Neutrality : In order to continue to enjoy the confidence of all, the Movement may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.
To give further food for thought on the issue of whether the components of the Movement should become involved in defending or promoting a cause, the Review is reproducing a few pages which Hans Haug , in his book Humanity for All , devoted to neutrality as a Fundamental Principle.
The word " neutral " comes from the Latin ne-uter and means: neither one thing nor the other. An institution or a movement is neutral when it refrains from participating in a conflict or al tercation and abstains from any interference. Refraining from participation and abstaining from interference can be for various reasons: it may be a question of self-preservation and self-assertion, of the judgement that good and bad, true and false are to be found on both sides, of holding back in the interests of a higher purpose or a special task. Neutrality may however have its origin in indifference, fear and cowardice. Neutrality in itself is therefore not a virtue.
The motivation of the principle of Neutrality is the Movement abstaining from any participation in hostilities and at all times in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature in order to continue to enjoy the confidence of all . This motivation is clearly well founded: those who take sides or interfere may estrange or deceive one side or the other, push them away and lose their confidence. States or economic powers may stand losses of confidence but for the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which lacks the resource of power, retaining the confidence of all is essential for the fulfilment of its humanitarian mission.
Road safety advocacy
To minimize death and injury on the roads, advocacy for more road safety is necessary. Advocacy is the act of arguing for action on behalf of a particular issue and the process of influencing, informing and assisting decision and policy makers. The case should be based on well documented studies and numbers. Only with good information can good decisions be made. Sometimes advocacy targets media, sometimes the general public, but decision makers are normally the primary target.
Raising awareness through the humanitarian village (02-12-2011)
The Global Road Safety Partnership used every opportunity available to engage with Red Cross Red Crescent partners at the statutory meetings, including the interactive "humanitarian village". Situated at the main entrance of the meetings, the humanitarian village aimed to raise awareness on various issues within the Movement, and engage National Societies and their governments to take action.
The Global Road Safety Partnership utilised the humanitarian village as follows:
- A stand on road safety and the Global Road Safety Partnership provided a consistent resource for information. National Societies involved with road safety initiatives shared information on existing programmes, promoted the pledge as well as the individual commitment card designed specifically for National Societies. A series of photos added an overview of existing, positive solutions to the road safety crisis.
Leading up to the statutory meetings, the Bloomberg Philanthropies sponsored project, Road Safety in 10 Countries (RS-10), held its first advocacy workshop with several selected National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The workshop gathered for the first time ever, National Societies involved in RS-10 from around the world including Cambodia, Egypt, Kenya, Mexico, Russia, China and Viet Nam. It provided a unique occasion to share ideas, learn new skills and build momentum for road safety advocacy
As it looks, it still remains a no-joke zone to improve road safety>>>>>>>>>>making the impossible possible!