[intro]Deaths on the roads exceed one million people each year and have been described as a global health crisis. The International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) wants to prepare scribes to better cover the subject. This article first appeared on IJNet and is republished by permission.[/intro]

Traffic crashes kill more than 1.24 million people and injure between 20 and 50 million a year, according to the World Health Organisation.

South Africa has one of the highest number of road accident fatalities in the world with over 31 road fatalities per 100 000 people. About 15 000 people die on the country’s roads each year. Out of hundreds of countries where accurate statistics are available, only Eritrea, the Dominican Republic and Libya have higher road fatality rates than South Africa.

The top cause of death among South African children between the ages of 1-18 was road-related deaths, with 80% of these being pedestrian-related deaths and 20% passenger-related deaths, according to Child Safe South Africa.
To help improve coverage of this global public health crisis, the International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) invites journalists to apply for the “Journalists’ Fellowship on Road Safety.”

ICFJ will select 15 journalists from around the world to attend the 2nd Global High-Level Conference on Road Safety hosted by the government of Brazil and co-sponsored by the World Health Organisation. The conference, held in Brasilia, Brazil, from November 17-19, 2015, seeks to share knowledge and spur action on what works to prevent traffic-related fatalities and injuries and improve safety on the roads for all who use them. With WHO’s support, the program will cover all Fellowship-related costs including travel to the conference, accommodations and registration.

The ICFT said: “On Nov. 17, 2015, in a day-long session before the conference begins, the Road Safety Fellows will focus on improving and enhancing stories on road safety that they proposed during the application process. The Fellows will learn to use a variety of data to demonstrate how road safety affects communities on many levels. They will work with new tools that help them find and scrape data from various sources and create simple data visualizations, even in low-tech environments. And they will learn to engage audiences using visualizations such as interactive graphics and social media. In addition, the Fellows will be registered for the conference, giving them full access to two days of high-level discussions and interaction with the 1,500 experts and organizations attending from around the world.”

“By the end of the conference, each Fellow will have developed a new list of sources and an action plan to ensure the full development of their story. They will have a fuller understanding and awareness of this under-reported and often misinterpreted topic. In addition to reporting on their proposed stories, the Fellows will cover news generated by the conference for their media outlets, including emerging issues in road safety on a national and global level.”

Journalists who apply for the Fellowship and Training Programme on Road Safety must be fluent in English. Applicants will be asked to provide the following:

• A 500-word essay detailing their motivation and goals for seeking the fellowship;
• A story idea for a road-safety reporting project that may focus on their own country and incorporates the use of digital tools and/or data as well as ways to use these tools and social media to engage audiences in a dialogue about these vital safety issues;
• A letter endorsing the journalist’s participation from an editor or newsroom manager to demonstrate understanding of the fellowship’s value and support for publishing or broadcasting the journalist’s coverage of the conference and story project;
• A resume or curriculum vitae;
• Published/posted/broadcast work samples.

Selection will be based on the journalists’ professional qualifications, relevant experience such as demonstrated interest in the topic of road safety, English-language proficiency, and endorsement by a newsroom manager.

The application deadline is Monday, August 31, 2015 (5:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time).
ICFJ will inform the finalists by September 21, 2015.
Useful links for applicants:

Conference home page: 2nd Global High-Level Conference on Road Safety
World Health Organization resources on road traffic injuries
World Health Organization guide: Reporting on Road Safety
For more information, please contact ICFJ’s Dina Tariq, dtariq@icfj.org

View the original story here.