Accelerating Health and Road Safety through NSEWA Learning Network

Johannesburg, South Africa: North Star Alliance and Fleet Forum have announced ‘NSEWA’, an initiative to close the gap between health services and road safety through specially designed driver safety training and health-related programmes aimed at the Road Freight Industry. This comprehensive training package is made possible through support from the UPS Foundation and the Road Safety Fund in conjunction with the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety.

‘NSEWA’—which is a contraction for North-South-East-West Africa—will be piloted in South Africa with local and regional transport companies beginning in May and roll out internationally later this year. The NSEWA modular training package is meant to be a refresher and reinforcement for drivers who have already had some training but lack specific knowledge and skills needed to stay healthy and safe while on the road.

“The local industry training that I have witnessed over many years is repetitive. Drivers do the same thing over and over again. We are bringing something fresh and new to the market that reinforces but does not repeat the practical training from the past” says Mr. Paul Matthew, Director Africa for North Star Alliance.

Truck drivers will be able to learn on the job through a professional, locally-recognized training programme that is self-paced and offers individual certificates upon completion of each learning module. As part of the package, drivers will have access, through North Star Alliance Roadside Wellness Centres, to occupational health and safety products and services designed to meet their needs.

The NSEWA training and certificate programme will help truck drivers take control of their own health and safety with free access to health care and acquire better road safety knowledge and skills through an entertaining, self-paced programme. “Our training package addresses serious issues: health and safety on the roads. But the most effective way for people to learn and change behaviour is to provide training that increases knowledge and challenges them, but at the same time is fun and relates to their own experience. By providing certificates at the end of each successfully completed module we stimulate truck drivers to keep investing in their own future” says Ms. Rose van Steijn, Programme Manager for Fleet Forum.

Transport operators also stand to benefit from the NSEWA initiative by investing in a healthier workforce that reduces absenteeism, road incidents and associated costs, creates skilled and knowledgeable employees, and boosts business growth. Mr. Simphiwe Rasmeni, Project Manager for NSEWA, says that “transport operators require training that can generate behaviour change while truck operators require training that will improve their life style and help them prosper in the near future.”

The NSEWA training package, called HOT-R (Health on the Road), includes modules on malaria, tuberculosis, HIV and sexually transmitted infections as well as nutrition, diabetes and other occupational health issues. The Driver Safety modules cover general road safety information, defensive driving, transporting dangerous goods and eco-driving. Learning modules use face-to-face methods, storyboards, audio CD-ROMS and touch screen technology to train and assess learners at the Roadside Wellness Centres and transport workplaces like depots and warehouses.

By coming together under NSEWA, North Star Alliance, a leader in health care delivery for mobile populations, and Fleet Forum, a leader in delivering standards-based solutions for the humanitarian and commercial transport sector, create a powerful force to accelerate targeted health and safety for the transport industry.

The NSEWA logo was designed by Ms. Simbiso Faranisi, a graphic design student at the Zimbabwe Institute of Vigital Arts (ZIVA) in Harare, Zimbabwe, under the direction of the Mr. Saki Mafundikwa, Founder/Director. The designer explains that “the shape of Africa is formed by stylised people to represent NSEWA’s mission of providing health and safety to communities throughout Africa. The people have their arms up showing strength, liveliness, health and joy. The fluid shape of their bodies represents the movement around Africa, like that of the truck drivers.”

About North Star Alliance

North Star LogoNorth Star works at the crossroads of disease and mobility to ensure that highly-mobile populations, especially truck drivers and their direct and indirect contacts have access to health and safety services. North Star is strengthening national health systems by expanding their reach and plugging the gaps through a network of “Roadside Wellness Centres” (RWCs) located at hotspots along major transport corridors in sub-Saharan Africa. North Star’s unique approach unites the transport and public health sectors in a common response to high impact diseases.

North Star’s RWCs are open to everyone, but designed for the specific health needs of mobile populations. They offer a focused package of prevention and treatment services, including: information, education, primary health care, treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV counselling and testing, and medical referrals.

North Star Alliance is supported by six core partners including International Transport Workers’ Federation, ORTEC, PharmAccess Foundation, TNT, UNAIDS and the World Food Programme and more than 70 strategic and local partners. Currently, North Star is operating 23 RWCs in 10 East, West and Southern African countries.

About Fleet Forum

Fleet Forum was formed in 2003 to encourage, facilitate, and develop relationships between humanitarian aid and development organisations all over the world. It has grown to encompass commercial transport organizations that share concerns about road safety, green practices, and fleet efficiency. It is an interagency association of more than 40 members, including NGOs, international organisations, the UN, academic institutions, donors, and corporate partners. The organizations that are behind the successful growth of Fleet Forum include International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), TNT, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and World Vision International (WVI).

The mission of Fleet Forum is to convene all of the various stakeholders that play a role in road safety and fleet efficiency in dialog and shared activities that will help save lives, by cost efficient, and will help save the planet. Through effective leadership in the development and implementation of standards-based solutions, Fleet Forum provides support to the aid and development and the commercial transport sectors in low- and middle-income countries, in the areas of road safety, cost efficiency, and environmental impact.

More information is available at:

Contacts for North Star Alliance:
Contact for Fleet Forum:
Mr. Paul Matthew, Director Africa
Office: +27 317672294; Mobile: +27 826 044055

Ms. Robin Landis, Director Communications
Tel: +254 707 722424

Ms. Rose van Steijn, Programme Manager
Tel: +31 651853160


  1. This is a great initiative! Hats off to the students from ZIVA also for their excellent work on the logo!

  2. The NSEWA Learning Network is a unique and exciting initiative that will benefit many.

    And the NSEWA identity project is a great story too — the logo is beautiful and so appropriate! The development process was really positive and the students treated the assignment like real pros. Congratulations to Saki and his 2011 senior class of Graphic Design students. We wish them much success in their design careers.

  3. Seems to be a good initiative and it would make it better if NSEWA carries out free awareness program.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment. While NSEWA is a commercial training programme, it will run in addition to free awareness and community outreach programmes already implemented by North Star Alliance across our network of Roadside Wellness Centres. These programmes are already being accessed by drivers as well as by members of the communities surrounding the transport hubs where we operate.

      NSEWA allows us to further extend our reach to transport companies and offer them a valuable service that will in turn help support our ability to offer healthcare as well as free outreach and awareness programmes.

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