Protecting Local Communities from Road Risk in Georgia

In 2015, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, along with their client Adjaristsqali Georgia (AGL), supported a road safety awareness campaign in the towns of Shuakhevi and Khulo in Adjara, Georgia. The aim of the project was to reduce road risks faced by local populations living in the vicinity of the hydropower development work being carried out.

AGL developed and operates the Shuakhevi HPP, a hydroelectric power plant located on the Adjaristsqali River in south-western Georgia.  During project implementation AGL identified concerns related to road safety in the surrounding Shuakhevi and Khulo communities. AGL had taken some steps already to reduce road risk – for example, efforts to promote safer driving among its workforce. However, they felt a more coordinated approach was needed to raise awareness of risks in the local area and promote safer road behaviour in local communities. In 2013 the fatality rate on the roads of Adjara was 19 per 100,000 people, compared with 11.5 per 100,000 in Georgia as a whole.

Project Leaders Gela Kvashilava and Irakli Izoria identified key road safety stakeholders in the exposed villages, collected data on local road risk, and prepared an awareness-raising programme to address the situation.

A training workshop targeting key leaders and stakeholders from the community was conducted to increase understanding of road safety risks specific to the local area.  The training included incident statistics, common traffic incident causes, key road risks faced locally and nationally, fitness to drive, pedestrian visibility and road safety regulations.

Road safety education was also carried out in schools in Shuakhevi and Khulo. Children received road safety teaching, viewed videos, and participated in a ‘Be Seen to Be Safe’ exercise about the importance of visibility on the roads. As part of the training, Headteachers of the schools were given educational materials for  ongoing use. Posters on key road risks were produced for public buildings and on preventing road injury for schools. Children and adults received reflectors to wear on their clothing at night to improve their visibility.

A final meeting was held with key officials responsible for regional road safety management.  This included the Head of the regional State Road Administration, the representative of the regional government responsible for transport, a representative of Batumi Autotransport and a representative of the regional Ministry of Education. All agreed to collaborate in further active road crash prevention strategies.

In Conclusion

The Team delivered a comprehensive package of consultation, stakeholder and community engagement around this large-scale development. The project highlighted the importance of ensuring that road risk is minimised when undertaking major infrastructure developments as well as the benefits of successful community engagement.

The project imbeded a culture of safety amongst in the community and the team have since returned to work with local volunteers to promote the international campaign ‘Save Kids Lives’ on the roads.

Key Areas
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Community engagement
  • Partnership working
  • Reducing road risk
  • Road safety education

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