Can raising Awareness on Road Safety be Fun?
Liberia: Oh yes, when you make it a Road Safety Comedy Competition!
Defective vehicles, the lack of helmet use by motorcyclists, excessive speeding, and the lack of knowledge of safe road usage are the major factors in fatal road crashes in Liberia. With the aim of drawing attention to road safety, the Traffic Section of the Liberia National Police in collaboration with GIZ in July hosted a Road Safety Comedy Competition. The comedy show is in fulfillment of the Liberia National Police’s duty to enforce road safety and traffic rules and regulations.
In 2018, the World Health Organization ranked Liberia as having the worst safety record worldwide, with an estimated 35.9 deaths per 100,000 people. With the Road Safety Comedy Competition, the Liberia National Police (LNP) is taking an unusual approach to tackling road safety and getting Liberia’s drivers and road users thinking about road safety while highlighting factors contributing to road related deaths in the Liberian communities. The LNP is deploying humor to raise awareness of road safety issues among children, parents, and community dwellers.
Six comedians competed to see who could encourage road safety techniques such as wearing seatbelts and using a helmet when riding motorcycles--while effectively getting the audience to laugh along. The show featured nationwide well-known comedians Lib Jalloh, Angel Michael, the Bookman, George Boutini, Ojuku Kpui, and Super Maman (in the order of winning the competition). It was hosted by Julius the Comedian. A board of judges featuring experts, representatives of relevant government institutions and participants from civil society were giving the points for each round to decide on the winner.
Around 400 community dwellers, representatives of media houses, vehicle operators, pedestrians, marketers, students, youth, and the general public came to the Road Safety Comedy Competition Event. The live broadcast online was watched by over 6,000 people. The best performer received an award and will be featured in the upcoming Safe Streets Festival in November 2019.
Now, the idea is to continue this approach for community awareness on road safety and organize the Road Safety Comedy Show in different communities in the capital Monrovia, as well as in other cities along the major highways. Local comedians from communities shall also be integrated in the competition to secure the ownership and involvement of all.
Watch the Show: