23 November 2012 

Join us on ‘The Long Short Walk’ 

Children take part in a ‘Long Short Walk’ in Tanzania
Zindzi Mandela announced the start of ‘The Long Short Walk’
Etienne Krug, WHO Director of Injury Prevention, at the announcement
Michelle Yeoh, Global Road Safety Ambassador, is walking to protect children

As part of the Zenani Mandela campaign, the family of Nelson Mandela together with the Make Roads Safe campaign and the Road Safety Fund have announced the ‘Long Short Walk’ calling for protection for pedestrians on the roads around the world.

The Long Short Walk was announced during a meeting of the Commission for Global Road Safety in London on 22 November. The advocacy initiative will highlight the need to prioritise safe walking in support of the 2nd UN Global Road Safety Week.

Communities, schools, NGOs and activists around the world are invited to join the Long Short Walk, in a common call for global action to save lives. Schools and NGOs have already taken part in the first Long Short Walks in Kenya and Tanzania. Corporate donors are also invited to get involved, by supporting activities for the UN Global Road Safety Week, which has a focus on pedestrian safety, and by backing implementation projects to make roads safer for pedestrians and particularly children.

To join the Long Short Walk people are being encouraged to share and upload photos and short videos of their daily walk to work or school, a favourite walk or to highlight a road that needs safety improvements. Supporters can also download ‘I’m Walking For…’ signboards to explain what – or who – they are walking on behalf of. These ‘Short Walks’ from around the world will then be combined to form a ‘Long Short Walk’ that will  during UN Global Road Safety Week on 6-12 May 2013. The campaign will be urging governments around the world to include road safety in the new Sustainable Development Goals expected to come into force from 2015.

On behalf of the Zenani campaign, Zindzi Mandela said:

“We are not doing enough to protect the most vulnerable. All around the world every single day, pedestrians are being killed and injured on the roads. Many of them are children who are simply trying to get to school. We are calling for action to save lives. Leading up to UN Global Road Safety Week, let’s all join the Long Short Walk. Together let’s help reach the goal of safer roads for all.”

Michelle Yeoh, Make Roads Safe Global Ambassador said: “Far too many children are becoming casualties just trying to walk to school. This is simply not acceptable. Safe walking should be a right for all. Let’s join the UN in making pedestrian safety a priority for Global Road Safety Week. We can and we must do far more. With the Long Short Walk we’re urging global action, calling for a Sustainable Development Goal to make our roads safer for everyone.”   

Joining the Zenani campaign are the first groups who have already taken part in the Long Short Walk. They include children from a neighbourhood in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where  a number of youngsters have been injured by vehicles on nearby roads. With support from the Road Safety Fund, the NGO Amend is working with local schools on a programme to identify and implement infrastructure improvements and raise awareness amongst both pedestrians and drivers, as well as the local authorities, for the need to reduce speeds and provide safer streets. The Road Safety Fund is seeking additional donors willing to invest in these life-saving programmes, implemented by partners including Amend, Safe Kids Worldwide, the Global Road Safety Partnership and iRAP.

UN Global Road Safety week will be held from 6-12 May 2013 worldwide. It aims to campaign on and draw attention to the need for pedestrian safety, to generate action on life saving measures needed to protect pedestrians and to help achieve the goal of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety to save 5 million lives by 2020.