From Okwe Obi, Abuja

Research by the GreenLight Initiative, Owerri Federal University of Technology and Uganda’s Makerere University has indicated that Nigeria and Africa have performed poorly in providing mobility and transport for older people.

GreenLight Initiative CEO Patrick Simon Obi, speaking at an event in Abuja yesterday, charged the government to do more.

Obi explained that the dissemination symposium that took place was aimed at promoting safe and sustainable transport and the inclusion in mobility of the elderly.

“I believe this study would increase knowledge and further assist transportation policymakers, advocates, and stakeholders in making evidence-based decisions regarding mobility and access for seniors.

“We continue to thank the Volvo Research and Education Foundation (VREF) for their generous support allowing us to embark on this important but often neglected area.

Furthermore, Owerri Federal University of Technology researcher/professor Dr. Chinebuli Uzondu said, “It was such a pleasant surprise.

“I am very excited and honored that we have been announced as the recipient of a grant from the Volvo Research and Education Foundation (VREF).

“This grant has allowed us to work on a very important, but often neglected issue.

“Our research has explored the mobility needs of older people in Nigeria and Uganda, to understand their travel patterns, unravel their travel patterns, the transport options available to them, the needs and barriers to active mobility.

“We identify country-specific challenges and present evidence-based strategies and recommendations to address and improve the condition.

“This research is very important to me because I feel that the VREF recognizes the importance of this research and how it will continue to address issues around transportation inequities and exclusions.”

Furthermore, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Climate Sciences at Makerere University, Uganda, Dr. Paul Mukwaya, said: “For Makerere University, the grant is one that has opened up new opportunities, local level. and internationally, as we build for the future.

“Most importantly, the research has highlighted; not just the type of transportation inequities experienced by older people to be more specific, but also the gaps in transportation policies that exist at the city and/or national scale.

“We have been able to: 1) network with a number of national stakeholders and have a conversation about critical issues of transport inequality in the city of Kampala; 2) initiate an informal dialogue on the mobility needs of older people across the city and we believe this will be incorporated into the revised multimodal transport plan for the city of Kampala; and 3) the results of the project have been incorporated into our processes revision of the curriculum with an improvement of the course content in the Transportation Geography course unit.

“Finally, now that we are nearing the end of the grant term, the grant has been used for benchmarking and benchmarking as we engage in new grant writing ventures with our partners across the continent.

“We have also been able to build the capacity of our early career researchers and/or graduate fellows who have been directly involved in project activities, not only in research management skills, but also in scientific writing activities, communication and catchment”.