Transaid and Bibby Distribution team up again in Africa

A driver training consultant on secondment from Bibby Distribution has completed his second two-week project with Transaid in Africa, training a group of truck driving instructors to deliver better training at the National Institute of Transport in Tanzania.

4,000 people are killed on Tanzania’s roads each year and bus, coach and truck drivers there have historically hit the road without adequate training. To save some of those lives Jon Aspden, Regional Driver Training consultant with Bibby, overcame humidity, difficult road conditions and a Swahili language barrier, all on behalf of Transaid.

Having previously worked on a separate Transaid project in Zambia in 2009, Aspden knew to expect challenging driving conditions in Africa. But conditions in the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam were a little more challenging still. Aspden saw buses overtaking on blind hills over solid white lines, trucks with their cargo inadequately secured, and met a policeman who had recently arrested a bus driver for having no brakes and no reverse gear, despite carrying passengers on a regular 250-mile journey.

“Fortunately the policeman had recently received vehicle inspection training from another Transaid volunteer from the Freight Transport Association,” says Aspden. “So he was able to identify the problems on the bus, and avert a potential disaster.”

Three Tanzanian truck driving instructors gained an instructor certification as a result of their efforts and Aspden’s help. Their training was split over two weeks, with the first week focused on driving best practice, and the second week on instruction techniques.

Aspden had a challenging time in Tanzania, having to work through a translator to deliver the training in temperatures that were considerably hotter than the UK’s.

Bibby Distribution chief executive Iain Speak explains why the firm is so pleased to be part of work like this.

“Bibby Distribution is a founding member of Transaid because regardless of industry or experience, road safety worldwide is still vital,” says Speak. “We’re pleased to help out with overseas projects and spread our expertise to save lives, and we’re very proud that our own people are up for the challenges to make a real difference.”

Transaid’s project coordinator in Tanzania says the training is operating on the “teach-a-man-to-fish” principle.

“We’re very grateful to Bibby Distribution for letting us make use of Jon’s expertise, and to Jon for coming out here to help develop much-needed driver instructor skills in Tanzania,” says Transaid’s Tanzania project manager Neil Rettie. “The three instructors are now well on their way to being able to pass on their skills to more driver trainers and they hope to have trained a further three instructors by the end of the year. This will not only save more lives on the roads but also ensure that this type of training becomes locally sustainable.”