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Transaid - CILT's Charity of Choice by Clare Bottle: Edinburgh meeting of 3 November 2010

The first Edinburgh meeting in November was addressed by Clare Bottle, a freelance Logistics Specialist and active supporter of Transaid, the CILT's charity of choice.

The meeting started of with the serving of an excellent hot buffet and enabled those present a chance to network, before the main presentation.

Clare Bottled

Clare Bottle

© John Yellowlees, 2010

Clair began her presentation by outlining the background to the establishment of the charity. Following famine in the Sudan, Princess Anne's role as Patron of both Save The Children and CILT facilitated the emergence of Transaid in 1998 as an independent charity aimed at reducing poverty and improving livelihoods across Africa and the developing world through creating better transport.

Everywhere in Africa transport is politicised, and with a CILT presence in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Malawi, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia the Institute has the virtue of neutrality, offering a forum for impartial consultation, deriving its income from the award of qualifications and unlike in the UK enjoying in some places statutory representation on government agencies amid a dearth of information where libraries may have not one book on transport and on-line access is unreliable.

Aimed at developing skill-sets to give better access to the essentials of everyday life as part of a wealth-creating economy, Transaid has three workstreams :

- efficient vehicle management, deriving a paper-based way of managing a fleet
- the application of appropriate technology, e.g. a bicycle may be more useful than a motor vehicle; and
- the introduction of professional standards, offsetting the African tendency to rise through the ranks with corrupt allocation of licences.

In Zambia road crashes are the third biggest killer after HIV and malaria. Transaid is aligned to the UN's millennium goals of eradicating hunger, achieving universal education, empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating disease, ensuring environmental sustainability and building a global partnership for development, and while transport is not one of these goals there is much room for underpinning them through these workstreams in a country like Nigeria, which has only 7500 ambulances for 150 million people as against the UK's 12,500 for 60 million.

Making better use of transport for improving health in Nigeria involves training for ambulance drivers (with a T-shirt saying in Hausa what they do), motorbikes with chilled panniers for vaccination clinics and taxis for women in labour.

Africa's economic sustainability relies on skilled professionals, good transport infrastructure and efficient logistics operations, and Transit's strength is in building capacity - just £270 buys a bicycle ambulance whose introduction in Zambia saved seventy lives in three months. Transaid has a turnover of just £0.6 million and half-a-dozen employees, and with a tiny marketing budget relies on collaboration with UK partners to make its voice heard.

The Scottish Region would like to thank Graham Atkins for the arrangements at the venue, including the provision of delicious haggis, neeps and tatties.

Claire will be taking part in the "Trek Ethiopia 2011" event and you can find out more about this at

You can sponsor Clare on her Ethiopian Trek at

Further informaiton on Transaid can be found on their website at

Report by John Yellowlees


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