Total, NGO Team Up for Road Safety Libraries

The literacy NGO Sipar is set to expand its fleet of mobile libraries and place a new focus on teaching the country’s youth about road safety as part of its partnership with global gas giant Total.

A “Safety” library—the 10th in Sipar’s fleet—will join nine other buses that will also devote some of their resources to spreading the word about road safety, according to a statement released by Sipar on Tuesday.

Villagers sit in front of a mobile library operated by the literacy NGO Sipar. (Sipar)
Villagers sit in front of a mobile library operated by the literacy NGO Sipar. (Sipar)

In its first year, the bus will make stops at 60 schools in Phnom Penh and 50 villages in Kandal province, educating locals by reading stories about good and bad driving behavior, screening short movies about proper driving and hosting educational games.

In its second and third years, the library is expected to expand its route to Kompong Speu and Takeo provinces. Each of the nine pre-existing mobile libraries—ornately painted minivans with shelves installed to hold books, movies and games—annually visit more than 100 sites in Phnom Penh, the surrounding provinces and Siem Reap province.

“We have nine mobile libraries that operate daily to teach road safety through Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal, Takeo and Kompong Speu,” said Sothik Hok, director of Sipar.

“We hope this new mobile library for road safety will be helpful in reducing traffic-related deaths.”

Mr. Hok said Total would provide about $10,000 per year to the project.

In May, police recorded 916 traffic deaths in five months leading to May, an increase of eight percent over the same time period last year.

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