In this blog, project Research Fellow Liam Dillon describes a research visit to Blantyre earlier this year.
A youth-led road safety intervention in Malawi
The Chitetezo study evolved from our original MRC funded project “The RTrT Partnership: Reducing Traffic-related Trauma” – A community-based prevention and first-response programme intervention for Malawi and beyond ending in December of 2019. Chitetezo is an adolescent-focused, arts-mediated, rights-based and advocacy intervention designed to decrease the frequency of road traffic collisions. It aims to decrease the frequency of road traffic collisions and subsequent deaths and injuries. Chitetezo is based on evidence from three previously unconnected areas: rights-based youth work, road safety education, and intergenerational approaches to co-producing local community development agendas. One of the murals that the young people developed as part of the pilot project can be seen in Figure 1. Find out more about how we think Chitetezo will work here.
Figure 1 – A mural (of several) created by pupils of the Jacaranda School for Orphans, depicting perceived issues relating to road safety and infrastructure.
Chitetezo – First research trip
In January 2023, Prof. Edward Duncan (Principal Investigator), Dr Jennifer Dickie (Co-Investigator), and I visited Blantyre, Malawi to meet with the Malawi study collaborators and partners. It was a busy week! Field trips helped us to identify ten candidate schools situated across the city of Blantyre (Fig.2) in which we hope to implement and evaluate Chitetezo. Figure 2 – A map showing the locations of each of the 10 schools selected to participate in the Chitetezo Project (map created with ArcGIS Online).
We then liaised with the participating school headmasters during a stakeholder meeting (Fig.3) in which they were invited to involve students from each of their schools in the activities comprising the Chitetezo intervention. We also held several research team meetings during which we worked on developing our Chitetezo intervention toolkit.
Figure 3 – A stakeholder meeting with the participant school headmasters, the District Education Office representative and Luc Deschamps, chairman of the Jacaranda Foundation.
The toolkit will provide all the information that the peer facilitators and in-country study team members will need to deliver the intervention and undertake data collection. Following completion of the study, this toolkit will be revised and then made freely available online for any school that wishes to undertake Chitetezo locally.
What’s next for Chitetezo?
Following our visit to Malawi, a study workshop took place at the Jacaranda School for Orphans with the pilot study peer facilitators and pupils from the school who were the intervention champions. The output of this workshop has helped us to understand what worked best with the pilot study and things that could have been done differently in order to optimise the delivery of the Chitetezo intervention. All these findings are helping us to revise the toolkit before rolling it out across the ten schools. We are now excited to be approaching the implementation of the revised Chitetezo intervention with the first two schools, the Jacaranda School for Orphans and Chichiri Primary. The implementation will be facilitated by Lusizi Kambalambe and Roselyn Dzanja from the research team together with a group of peer facilitators and Chitetezo champions selected from the two schools. Following the completion of Chitetezo in these two schools, it will be introduced to the next block of schools including Bangwe Catholic, Kanjedza, St Maria Goretti and Nkolokoti CCAP Primary schools. More blogs to follow as the intervention rolls out.
This research is jointly funded by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) under the MRC/FCDO Concordat agreement, together with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)