Transaid delivers essential training to field officers supporting secondary schools in Sierra Leone

A group of 190 local field officers supporting secondary schools across Sierra Leone has received essential motorcycle training designed to reduce the risk of road traffic accidents, thanks to a road safety programme delivered by Transaid.

For the field officers, motorcycles are a vital mode of transport between schools, and are key to connecting main towns with isolated rural communities, often on unpaved roads and tracks. Together, they are working on the Leh Wi Lan (Let Us Learn) initiative, which aims to improve Maths and English learning outcomes in secondary schools across Sierra Leone, with a particular focus on girls and pupils with disabilities. The initiative is funded by the Department for International Development (DfID) and implemented by global consultancy Mott MacDonald, who appointed Transaid to carry out the UKaid-funded training.

In the training, each field officer was given an induction followed by a tailored course combining theory with practical skills to teach them how to ride safely and confidently whilst adhering to rules and regulations. The theoretical side covered essential mechanical checks and maintenance, and how to deal with a mechanical breakdown or emergency situation, plus essential first aid.

Each trainee was assessed at the beginning and end of the course to measure their progress, confirming that they had shown improvement by the end of the training. At the end of the course, trainees also went home with reference materials with key information summarising what they had learnt.

On top of this, Transaid provided further training for six experienced motorcycle riders, who were taught how to pass on the skills they had learned in another 13-day course that will allow them to coach others in the future.

Transaid was able to deliver the training using a team of four experienced motorcycle riders, three of which were from the Industrial Training Centre (ITC) in Lusaka, Zambia. Transaid has partnered with the ITC since 2008 to deliver professional driver training to internationally recognised standards.

According to Neil Rettie, Transaid’s Road Safety Project Manager, the ITC has been instrumental to the success of the training: “To have a team from the ITC supply this fundamental training is testament to all of the hard work carried out by ITC staff, Transaid and our partners.

“Our focus has always been on sharing knowledge to build local training capacity and we’re naturally incredibly proud to have seen this training carried out directly by ITC trainers. Plus, we placed a real emphasis on transferring these training skills to members of the team in Sierra Leone, so they can deliver their own training in the future.”

Around the world, road crashes kill more people than malaria. For over a decade, Transaid has been working with local and international partners to combat this by improving road safety across the transport and logistics sector in sub-Saharan Africa, delivering driver training courses for governments and NGOs.