Learn more about global youth leaders making an impact in their communities.
Sanaa Khasawneh is a young activist from Jordan doing a positive change in her community by co-founding the Road Safety Trio Team and collaborating with a local non-governmental organisation to create the first digital platform for Road Safety for Arabic-speaking countries.
Speaking to Youth Time, in this interview she shares the idea behind this, and how it is helping youth playing their active role in road safety, and not only.
She and her colleagues have graduated in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and were eager to start something different that would meaningfully contribute to road safety in their community.
They turned their wishes into actions!
“There is a lack of road safety resources in the Arabic language, for example if a teacher wants to teach his students about safe behaviour on the road, they will not find rich material to help them plan their lessons.” she explains in the beginning of our conversation.
That is when they decided to pitch the idea of creating a digital library for road safety since education became remote in most parts of the world, she further explains.
“The library provides different types of knowledge for all road users. We also have prepared special material for what we called road safety heroes to provide anyone in our societies with what they need to take action to make roads safer, like journalists, teachers, activists and many more.”
This project becomes even more helpful, when recalling that young people between 18-35 years old are the most affected age group by road crashes with the highest number of fatalities and injuries in Jordan.
This is another story proving the unique power of young people as changemakers in their communities.
Up to Zero: Youth Driven Movement Towards Zero Road Fatalities
She further introduces our readers to the Innovative Local Action: UP TO ZERO and how this initiative is making Jordanian youth more aware about road safety and Vision Zero and encourage them to be more involved in making the roads safer for everyone.
As mentioned above, youth between 18-35 years old in Jordan are the most affected age group by road crashes with the highest number of fatalities and injuries.
However, Sanaa explains, despite these horrifying statistics, the government is not panicking or taking real measures to protect young people.
“Up to zero is the first youth-led road safety movement that responds to the urgent need of raising youth voices since youth engagement is chronically low in Jordan.”
She elaborates they are raising awareness among university and school students about road safety through organizing workshops, educational sessions, and artistic activities.
“We aim to create a national program for youth that can be implemented anywhere across the country.”
A Narrowed Awareness Campaign
While reading about Sanaa’s initiative, what caught my eye is that she targets male drivers because 36% road deaths are among males aged 18-35 .
Giving us context about the situation, she mentions that according to the Jordan Traffic Institute, male drivers aged 18-35 years old are more involved in car crashes that cause fatalities and serious injuries than any other age group.
“Recent studies also highlight that only 24% of drivers in Jordan fasten their seatbelt and we all know that young people tend to speed more on the road, they text and drive, they are pressured by their peers to behave recklessly on the road, all these risk factors contribute to losing many young lives on the road in Jordan.”
Therefore, she believes they need to create special awareness campaigns for this group.
“My team and myself at up to zero are working on creating our first road safety awareness film that targets young male drivers. We cannot wait to share it!”
Global Youth Coalition Empowering Young Leaders
This initiative is part of those supported by the Global Youth Coalition and in this part of our piece, Sanna describes the importance of this support by saying that before joining the Coalition, she was working on her Deterrent on the Road Initiative and faced many obstacles due to bureaucracy, lack of funds and resources.
Sanaa’s project was selected through a rigorous and competitive process to be chosen as one of twelve winners.
“The Coalition was my magic stick, all the obstacles became challenges that together we can overcome, it truly empowered me as a young leader, providing me with continued support, generous fund, and mentorship on my local action project.”
She feels grateful and proud to belong in their network.
As Youth Time is a magazine run by youth for youth, Sanna seized this opportunity and spread an inspiring message for all the young people out there.
“The future is you and me. There is no time to rest, we need to push for change to respond to the pressing issues around us. We deserve safer roads, a healthy environment, and equal access to our basic needs. If the older generations failed, we shouldn’t! Let’s get to work!”
She also invites all our readers to claim their space and join them on their journey to make roads safer for everyone at the Global Youth Coalition for Road.
Safety from here: claimingourspace.org.
Pictures courtesy of Sanaa Khasawneh
Stay Tuned! We will keep you posted on other great initiatives by young people!
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