For more safety on the road: A street festival in Liberia
On the road, Liberia is one of the most dangerous countries in the world. The high number of road deaths and injuries as well as the material damage cost the country up to 7% of its gross domestic product - that is with about $ 150 million more than twice as much as all investments in roads across the country.
To raise awareness about the problem and to spread the knowledge of basic traffic rules, GIZ initiated a street festival. The Safe Streets Festival was organized in the center of Monrovia with our partners from the Ministry of Transport of Liberia, with the support of the National Police, the European Union and sponsorship by the private sector. Initially perceived as an impossible vision inspired by the European Mobility Week, it later became an illustration: Everything is possible in Liberia!
An extensive publicity campaign preceded the event with radio advertising, radio talk shows and interviews. It was placarded all over the city and thousands of flyers were distributed with the program and basic traffic rules.
With the Safe Streets Festival, the consequences of lacking road safety reached the public agenda of Liberia for the first time ever. Never before has there been a pedestrian zone - if only for one day - in the center of the Liberian capital. On a stage musicians performed, while local producers, small entrepreneurs and artists could offer their products.
The Safe Streets Festival was officially inaugurated by the Mayor of Monrovia, the Deputy Chief of the National Police, Assistant Minister of Transport, EU and German Ambassadors to Liberia, GIZ Country Director, and a representative of the Liberia National Children's Parliament.
Many people of all ages and backgrounds came to the city for a five-kilometer run and participated at children's games as well as road safety education, in form of trainings and quizzes. The all-day festival was accompanied by dance, drama and comedy performances with major national artists and ended with a live concert featuring Liberia's most popular singers.
In addition to a lot of fun on this day, the event has strengthened the relationship with our Liberian partners, strengthened cooperation with the EU and the private sector, and increased the visibility of GIZ and German Cooperation. The public perceived the Safe Streets Festival as a unique and first event of its kind in the post-war Liberia.
This article was written and photos were taken by our colleague Yana Tumakova.
Visual impressions of the event can be found at the Ministry of Transport’s Facebook. Furthermore there is a short documentary (3 min.) and a long documentary (20 min.) available on Youtube.