In order to raise awareness and empower schoolchildren with practical tools to become safer road users, UNIFIL French peacekeepers together with Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces personnel carried out a pedestrian and road safety awareness campaign in a south Lebanese village last week.
French gendarmes of UNIFIL’s Force Commander’s Reserve (FCR) gave the training to 60 young students of the Burj Qalawiyah Public School on 11 February 2020.
For UNIFIL French peacekeeper, Warrant Officer Cyril, raising awareness while also teaching road safety habits and pedestrian behaviour skills for children is one of the main objectives of this campaign.
“The goal is to educate the students so that they adopt the right behaviours when they are on foot,” he said. “Because of their small size, they are more vulnerable than adults because they are less visible, and it is important that they learn to move around or to cross a road safely.”
Warrant Officer Jean-Marc, a UNIFIL French peacekeeper who also attended a presentation alongside schoolteachers, hopes that this training initiative provides vital tools for children who are exposed to the dangers of the road.
“One of the main roles we have back home is to watch over road safety, so within this context, we are used to carrying out awareness-raising activities with children,” he elaborated. “We are also fortunate to work together with our Lebanese counterparts to lead these type of activities.”
This training session ended with a dynamic and practical quiz, about the body’s natural and automatic reflexes, in which the 60 children participated with great enthusiasm. Each child was thus given their pedestrian permit with a reflective bracelet to wear to make them more visible to motorists.
This pedestrian and road safety awareness campaign for children will continue in other schools in southern Lebanon, giving the chance to save lives that would otherwise be needlessly lost.
Between their core peacekeeping duties, UNIFIL peacekeepers regularly carry out various activities like this one in support of and as requested by the host communities, which – together with their operational activities – have helped keep calm in the Mission’s area of operation for over 13 years.