Times of Eswatini
Safer roads competition for pupils
MBABANE – “Imagine you are a super hero and your mission is to make all roads around the world safer for children.”
The above is the topic which children and young people in primary and high school are set to compete on by writing letters to someone explaining which super powers they would need to achieve their mission, which is to make all roads around the world safer for children.
The Eswatini Letter Writing Competition was launched yesterday by the different road safety stakeholders, which included the Eswatini Communications Commission (ESCCOM), the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Eswatini Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (EPTC), Macmillan Eswatini, UNICEF Eswatini, Sincephetelo Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (SMVAF) and many others.
The competition is meant to involve children in an efforts to curb the alarming statistics of road accidents.
It had been reported that road traffic crashes caused nearly 1.3 million preventable deaths and an estimated 50 million injuries each year globally, making it the leading killer of children and young people worldwide aged between 5 - 29 years old. Bringing it home, it had been reported that 222 lives were lost annually due to road accidents.
The competition started yesterday and it shall run until April 7, 2023 and the winners will be announced on May 5, 2023.
To enter the competition, participants should be aged 9-18 at the time of close of competition and the letters should be written in both English and siSwati.
The letter must be submitted in an envelope which may be bought or a learner could make one for their letter using a sheet of paper. The letters should have a 50 cent original post office stamp affixed and be submitted at each learners’school or the nearest post office. Children and young people with special needs and disabilities were encouraged to participate as per the rules. ESCCOM Chief Executive (CE) Mvilawemphi Dlamini said these were concerning statistics and serious interventions were necessary.
Dlamini was represented by Ozzie Thakatha during the launch held at Mountain View Hotel.
Dlamini said they were happy that the competition gained so much interest from teachers and young people since they started coordinating it in 2020.
He said they started such an initiative during the COVID-19 era an the response was amazing.
The CE said the commission was committed to supporting initiatives directed at nurturing children and young people.
He said that was the reason the commission was at the forefront of the Eswatini Letter Writing Competition as it fell within the remits of the postal sector and promotes the use of the postal network.
“Moreover, it invigorates our young people to express themselves through letter writing, something which most people have thought is obsolete,” he said.
He noted that the letter was once a main source of communication before these young people were born into the era of emails and most dominantly now social media, which they used on a daily basis.
He said through the letter writing competition, they aim to instil a culture of creativity, letter writing and the use of the post as a means of communication.
He said this competition was conducted under the auspices of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) of which Eswatini is a member.
He highlighted that it was inspiring that this year’s theme for the competition aims to give a voice to young people to share insights on a very important global issue - road safety.
He said with the children’s imaginary super powers, as ESCCOM they believed that children would share recommendations of how roads in Eswatini could be made safer, especially for them.
He stated that the topic would no doubt give children an opportunity to express their ideas on a matter that touches on them on a daily basis.
“I know we will all be amazed at what these young minds are capable of, they have bright ideas which often than not we never tap into or create the necessary environment for them to express,” he said.