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JustHere | December 8, 2016

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And another traffic safety campaign is about to launch…so what?

And another traffic safety campaign is about to launch…so what?

Communications specialist and long-term Doha resident Aziz Louksah speaks to the team behind a new traffic safety campaign.

Keep an eye open for @wranSade , a slang which means “wrong side” in Qatari dialect, a word chosen by a group of youth to best describe this initiative. The name, that was once used by elders in Qatar to refer to someone who goes against the common direction, is now being used to brand what could be the most successful traffic safety awareness campaign in Qatar to date.

What makes the campaign so promising? Very simply, it’ s organic. And it’s the brain child of a core team of three; Rashed Al Kuwari, Abdul Aziz Yousif and Latifa Al Darwish who are working with a larger team of more than 80 Qatari youth as brand ambassadors and representatives to launch this first of a kind social media campaign. The larger team includes some local celebrities and professionals from all walks of life contributing time and efforts for the success of the campaign.

According to statistics from Hamad Medical Centre, one out of eight deaths (12.5%) are caused due to road accidents. Over 4000 vehicle crashes occur in Qatar in a year. These cause over 600 major injuries resulting in around 200 deaths.

The idea for the campaign came to mind when Rashed and Abdul Aziz lost a common friend in a car accident. They then decided that it’s time to take matters into their own hands and do something about the alarmingly high number of road traffic accidents that happen in Qatar. So they joined their talents in animation with Latifa, a renowned cinema director to produce a series of animated episodes that aim at showing what they think is leading to this wrong behavior, but with a twist. They don’t preach or advise. They just highlight real life scenarios through their animation and ask the audience to do their part through #doyourpart.

When I asked him about the plan for the campaign, Rashed said that they have the core concept and the animation series that will include an episode each month. Once the episode is published, the 80 contributors in the team will then evaluate the public response and will develop side tactics and events inspired by the audience response to give the campaign further reach.

This open, interactive creativity approach and fresh thinking earns the campaign, in my opinion, huge credit for going not necessarily @WranSade but surely in a good direction.

As a communication specialist, I am thrilled to finally see a campaign that takes full advantage of social media by developing compelling content focused around the target audience and not the message. A campaign that talks in its audiences’ language and aims at engaging them.

As a member of the Qatari community, I would say that although it’s going to take time to witness an actual reflection on injury figures, it is very important that a step is being made in the right direction (or the wrong one…)

First episode is expected out by 1 February, but you can already see the trailer on Instagram and twitter @wransade.

What more can we do to change people’s behaviour on the roads? What ideas do you have?

[Photo courtesy: Hani Arif via Flickr, image modified to fit]

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Comments

  1. Paul Wood

    The problem is one of a lack of a coherent message, combined with a lack of trust or belief by the ex-pats in the Police. The Police seem to be both powerless and absent in their apprehending of, and prosecution of those offenders who deliberately choose to ignore the road traffic rules of their own country. This bad behaviour only serves to promote this as acceptable by other road users and so the cycle is perpetuated.

    As an ex-pat in Doha, I witness daily examples of bad, or anti social behaviour on the road. And yet, the Police presence seems to be confined to ensuring the security of dignitaries on Al Luqta Street or issuing parking tickets around shopping malls and Qatar Foundation car parks, victimising Students, Faculty and Staff, who have seen parking provision severely reduced in the past year, often without warning.

    The opposite it has to be said, is the case outside Mosques, where cars are parked sometimes two or three deep away from the pavement, very often blocking the road. What would happen in the event of an emergency vehicle needing to get past? This lack of social responsibility should surely be of a higher priority for the Police than parking tickets?

    I think the question of road safety has to be embraced at the highest level by the government, who need to focus on the engagement of those who feel they are above the law. Given the higher rate of deaths on the roads in Qatar, something must be done about this, to more positively promote Qatar as the safe place to live that we know it to be.
    Apart from on the roads.

    Where else in the world can you lose your driving license for amassing parking tickets and not for life endangering driving on the roads?

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