May 21, 2015

gui2de launches Road Safety Campaign Nationwide in Kenya

In an effort to reduce fatal traffic accidents in Kenya, the Georgetown University Initiative on Innovation, Development, and Evaluation (gui2de) organized a nationwide launch of the “Zusha!” road safety campaign in partnership with Kenya’s National Transportation and Safety Authority and National Road Safety Trust in early May 2015.

Traffic Accidents in Kenya

In Sub-Saharan Africa, traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 29 and the second leading cause of death for people ages 5 to 14. Many of these deaths occur as a result of reckless driving in minibuses—known as matatus—the primary mode of transportation in the region. Often, accidents occur because speeding or dangerous overtaking.

Traditional solutions to accidents caused by reckless driving—like speed governors, complaint hotlines, or increased traffic enforcement—can be extremely expensive and do not empower passengers to ensure their own safety at the moment of dangerous driving.

Zusha! is a cost-effective intervention that places stickers inside buses with motivational messages that encourage passengers to "Zusha!"—to protest or speak up in Kiswahili—directly to their driver against bad driving.

Georgetown Research

The Zusha! campaign follows two highly successful research trials conducted by Georgetown University professors James Habyarimana and William Jack.

“The scale up of Zusha! is an example of the power of quantitative evidence in influencing policy, and testimony to the hard work and perseverance exhibited by members of our team over nearly a decade of research efforts,” said Jack.

Results from two randomized control trials conducted between 2007 and 2013 showed that vehicles in which Zusha! stickers were placed had between 25 to 50 percent fewer insurance accident claims, translating into 140 avoided accidents and 55 lives saved annually.

“Around a dozen Georgetown students from the College, SFS, and McCourt have contributed to this work, alongside local counterparts from insurance executives to bus drivers, and from high level government officials to field enumerators,” Jack added.

The scaled-up campaign will see stickers placed inside every public service vehicle in Kenya. The launch has been supported by a media campaign that includes radio advertisements, billboards, and social media.

Looking beyond Kenya

The success of the trials helped professors Jack and Habyarimana secure a grant from USAID to scale up their intervention nationwide in Kenya and initiate research trials in Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda.

Road safety and industry stakeholders from these countries attended the Kenya launch, participating in a workshop hosted by gui2de to discuss implementing Zusha! pilot programs in their respective countries.