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More than just “box ticking”. Here's why fleet management in humanitarian aid organisations is so vital.

Dmitry Sambuk, Managing Director, EASST Academy
Dmitry Sambuk, Managing Director, EASST Academy
17 October 2017

And what you can do to make sure it is more than mere “box ticking” exercise.

Fleet management in humanitarian aid organisations

Too many organisations engage with fleet safety as a mere “box ticking” exercise, considering it only as part of a wider risk assessment. But what mitigating actions are actually taken and what impact does this really have?

Here are three core ways in which a robust fleet management strategy is so vital to every humanitarian aid and development project, and why your organisation needs to take it seriously.

  1. It saves lives

  2. It ensures that programmes and deliveries are as cost effective and efficient as they can be.

  3. It can have huge long-term benefits for economic development and environmental sustainability.

Saving lives

Saving lives

As an aid worker in a developing country, it is par for the course that you are vaccinated against diseases such as malaria, typhoid or dengue fever. But did you know that the number one cause of aid worker deaths is actually road traffic crashes?

Good fleet management reduces the number of road crashes and is therefore just as essential as being vaccinated against common diseases.

Cost-effective & efficient programmes

cost effective and efficient programmes

Transportation is the second largest overhead cost to humanitarian organisations. Every crash costs your organisation or project even more money, which could surely be better spent elsewhere.

Paying out to repair damaged vehicles is just the tip of the iceberg. The cost a road crash can spiral out of control as you start incurring financial losses from absenteeism (perhaps due to injury), lost productivity, late deliveries, brand damage, and even staff turnover.

In 2011 Oxfam’s Global Fleet Manager estimated that his organisation was involved in around one crash every week, or 50 crashes every year.[1] Based on an average financial loss of €4500 per vehicle involved in a crash (including indirect costs)[2], the annual cost to Oxfam could therefore be pitched at around €225,000. Or, the cost of providing water to around 4500 villages![3]

Economic development & sustainability

economic development

Road deaths and injury are estimated to cost countries between 1-5% of GDP. And with 90% road casualties occurring in low and middle-income countries, this cost is hitting the developing world hard.[4]

In 2015 road safety was recognised a mainstream player in global development when it was included within the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

SDG 3.6 - By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.

SDG 11.2 - By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons.

The Save LIVES road safety technical package launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO) earlier this year also calls for “leadership in fleet safety” as a means to both reduce road casualties and encourage more public transport use.

Indeed, with one in three road crashes taking place when people are driving for work purposes,reducing the risk of commercial vehicles and public transport globally could play a very significant role in cutting road fatalities, aiding economic development, and achieving UN targets.

Putting good fleet safety management into practice

The EASST Academy Road Safety at Work: Online Course for Managers is a resource to give managers the skills they need to put a good fleet safety management system into practice.

The course is specifically designed to address issues and challenges faced by those operating fleets in developing countries. It is flexible and simple enough that it can be followed by in-country programme managers and country officers. It’s also low cost and offers simple, practical advice that can be implemented by anyone responsible for staff or contractors that operate vehicles within their projects.

If you you'd like to know more or if you have any questions about the course, please email me at d.sambuk@easstacademy.org.

To find out more about the course visit www.easstacademy.org or visit us at stand B24 at AidEx Brussels in 15th-16th November. 

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[2] Lecture 4 – EASST Academy Online Course

[3] Figure based on cost of helping provide 3 villages with water costing £42/ €50 https://www.oxfam.org.uk/donate/