Albert Banda’s story

Albert Banda transformed his life, the lives of his family, and the lives of drivers across his country when he became a driver trainer. Albert is changing the face of road safety in Zambia. 

The 43-year-old, who works on the professional driver training programme at the Industrial Training Centre Trust (ITC) in Lusaka, Zambia, says: 

“I never saw myself becoming what I am right now. I have come to realize that it’s through such programmes like this that you’re able to make an impact in society.”

The father-of-one started his working life as a mechanic, but changed career after joining ITC in 2008. He now trains hundreds of drivers a year and has contributed to the Zambian Road Safety Agency’s National Driver Training Syllabus and Highway Code.

“It makes me feel good. When I see my name on the syllabus, I feel important.”

The opportunity also inspired him to start a Bachelor of Science course in logistics and transport management, which he attends seven days a week, after his full-time work as a trainer has ended.

Road safety is a huge issue for Albert, both professionally and personally.

An accident devastated his family when his cousin was injured in a crash in Nyimba. A Lusaka-bound Zambia-Malawi bus collided head-on with a truck and 34 people died.

Albert has also spent time driving a truck for long distances and saw first-hand the dangers drivers face through lack of training.

“For half a year I drove a truck, a friend trained me for a week and then I got my licence. [Back then] speed and space, for me, was not as issue. I came to realise later that I wasn’t doing the right things.”

Albert is concerned that drivers in Zambia are expected to work for long hours and make quick returns from trips, making lack of rest an issue. Truck drivers may drive across borders for up to 19 hours a day and be away for weeks at a time. They put their lives at risk due to the dangerous conditions of the roads, and are targeted for the theft of goods. Bus drivers are also pushed to their limits with lengthy days and quick returns. A bus driver could leave at 4am in the morning, drive until 9pm, then be expected to return at 4am the next day.

The many challenges the drivers face on a daily basis highlight how crucial the driver training programme is.

“When you see they are appreciating the knowledge or discovering new things in the driving profession, this gives me a sense of satisfaction.”

Albert’s work at an individual and national level is changing the face of road safety in his country and he is proud of the opportunity Transaid created for him.

“With this [Transaid-facilitated training], I’ve been able to become what I am. I’ve learnt a lot in terms of knowledge and skills, and the income has really helped.” 

The Professional Driver Training programme

In August 2008, Transaid partnered with the Industrial Training Centre Trust (ITC) – the only public commercial driver training centre in Zambia – to build capacity to deliver professional HGV driver training to internationally recognised standards.

Transaid provided a Programme Manager to oversee the daily running of the project and coordinate inputs from professional volunteers which included driver training and teaching techniques, tyre management and safety, maintenance, defensive driving, hazardous chemical training, and bus, coach and forklift truck driver training, and human resources. 

Following the success of the Zambia Professional Driver Training initiative, the programme was expanded into Tanzania, Uganda, and Malawi.

In the last 12 months alone*, Transaid and its partners:

  • Trained 5,929 PSV, HGV and FLT drivers in Zambia and Tanzania and 24 driver trainers. 
  • Facilitated 12 professional volunteer placements across our programmes
  • Developed a new HGV/PSV curricula and instructors’ manual, to be used in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

* Statistics cover 1 May 2015 – 30 April 2016