Transaid is an international development charity. They identify, champion, implement and share local transport solutions to improve access to basic services and economic opportunity for people in Africa and in developing countries. Transaid was founded by Save the Children and The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport and our Patron is HRH The Princess Royal.
Charitable volunteers from across the transport industry cycled to Brussels at the weekend, in a bid to raise £75,000 for Transaid.
The 34-strong team had already raised £45,000 by the time they set off on the 340km ride on the 12 September and are confident of reaching their fundraising target once the remaining sponsorship money is collected.
Riders set off from the Freight Transport Association’s head office in Tunbridge Wells and headed for Dover where they caught the ferry to Calais. Their adventure continued through France where even the most experienced cyclists were challenged by a very strong head wind. The group celebrated the end of this particularly difficult day in Bruges where they enjoyed a well-earned break and glass of beer, completing the final 74 miles to Brussels on September 14, finishing at the city’s iconic Grand Place.
Upon arrival the cyclists were greeted by a party from Y4PT and UITP, where we put on a champagne and chocolate reception. We have been very happy to give them a moment of reward and fun after such a challenge and great action!
Sir Peter Hendy, a new Trustee!
Transaid appointed recently four new trustees with a wealth of experience in the health, transport and logistics sectors to help govern the charity as it continues to grow in size and scope.
One of them is Sir Peter Hendy CBE, Commissioner of Transport for London and our UITP President.
Speaking on behalf of the trustees, Sir Peter, said “It’s a privilege to be involved with an organisation which implements truly life-changing solutions in developing countries.”
Sir Peter started his transport career in 1975 as a London Transport graduate trainee. In 2001 he served as Transport for London’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, before taking on his current role in 2006. Sir Peter was instrumental in preparing for the successful operation of London’s transport during the 2012 Olympics and was elected President of the International Public Transport Association in 2013. He was knighted in the 2013 New Year’s Honours list, having been awarded a CBE in 2006.
The first Transaid was established within Save the Children (UK) as a voluntary group of transport industry individuals. Peter Linney, who had just retired from a senior position in British Rail, took up the day to day management of Transaid. The British Railways Board provided office space and administrative support. Over the next 10 years, Transaid volunteers, from organisations such as TNT, P&O and the British Army, carried out a number of short-term projects. In those days, the focus was largely on emergency operations, rather than long-term development, and projects included a review of the potential to handle containerised emergency supplies through Mozambique ports and the specifications for an emergency ambulance service in Swaziland. The transport management handbook for Save The Children was also written.
In the early 1990’s the founders began to think about the role of transport in development, and particularly how lack of transport impacted on the delivery of essential services such as health and education. Research with the Ministry of Health in Ghana led to the realization that a lack of management skills, rather than a lack of transport, was causing a bottleneck in the delivery of everyday health services.
A two-year Save the Children project started in the Ministry of Health in Ghana in early 1993. This was the first long-term programme of its kind by Transaid and marked a shift in focus towards sustainable development.
Transaid is now beginning to focus more intensively on livelihoods work, based on the knowledge that Africa needs an efficiently run transport system in order to provide better opportunities to trade and make a living. Improving the efficiency, safety, availability and professionalism of commercial transport will create work opportunities in the industry, reduce transport costs, open up trade and make basic goods and services more available and affordable.
This is what is meant by sustainable development, looking at the root causes of problems and building the skills and knowledge of local people to tackle them. It isn’t quick and it isn’t easy, but we believe it is the only way we will make a lasting difference.
However, the amount of high profile natural disasters in recent years has brought attention back to the relationship between logistics and emergency aid and Transaid has played an advisory role in the development of two new, humanitarian initiatives – the development of the new Fritz Institute Certificate in Humanitarian Logistics and providing advice to the new CILT Humanitarian Logistics and Emergency Programme (HELP).
One thing which remains unchanged is transport’s importance to the health and wealth of all nations. Trucks, trains and ships are so highly visible on the world’s roads, railways and seas, but the essential goods and services that they carry, and the millions of people who work behind the scenes to get them where they need to go, remain largely invisible and forgotten.
Transaid has been built on the knowledge that skilled people make transport work. It’s up to us to find ways to build those skills where they’ll make the most difference and to continue to harness the skills of the best in the transport industry.