Use of a branded truck to get awareness messages closer to the people

Written by
Dr Ayub Macharia

In November 2015, the world community adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, which are to be implemented by all stakeholders including government, civil society, private sector, media, development partners and learning institutions. These players are expected to innovatively address the 17 goals and 169 targets to make our world more peaceful and livable. Goal 4 requires stakeholders to Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Target 4.7 reiterates that by 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.
Environmental challenges are a major concern for all humanity. In this regard, everybody is a learner who require to be educated to enable participation in environmental management. Environmental challenges are context specific and hence vary from place to place. The population needs contextualized knowledge, skills and relationships to enhance sustainable pursuit of development. The context in this regard informs the kind of intervention and education required to steer behavior change for sustainable development.
The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has prioritized implementation of initiatives on solid waste management this financial year. The initiatives include ensuring the public dispose their waste appropriately, and creating awareness on the same using diverse approaches. One of the awareness approaches that has been utilized is use of a branded truck.
A branded truck is a vehicle (normally a lorry) fitted with a powerful sound equipment including choice of appropriate music, and this truck moves from place to place attracting people with its noise. The noise comprise of choicest music and interludes of awareness messages on solid waste management.
The truck also has other accompaniments to the loud sound. The outer body is branded with solid awareness messages comprising of choicest photos or illustrations on waste management and appropriately crafted messages. Before the public hears the oral presentations, those who can read are already captured into the written messages and pictorials. Wherever the truck passes, the branding on the body with awareness messages serve as a mobile learning space on diverse solid waste management approaches. The diverse mix of colors serves to attract public attention to the vehicle. This approach has proved to be quite effective in raising public awareness in an abortion campaign done in the United States of America (Salladay, R., 2001)
Another crucial accompaniment of the branded truck are artists, mainly youths or prominent presenters. These artists are chosen due to proven prowess in capability to deliver captivating public utterances, or performing unique robotic gymnastics that attract the crowd. Thus as the truck moves around, the public cannot avoid being attracted to performances and funny utterances by the reknown or celebrated artists who facilitate the awareness creation drive.
To motivate public participation, the awareness team provide several gifts to people who have done well in waste management. For instance, a shopkeeper with a dustbin outside his/her premises may be given a T-shirt in addition to the announcement that he/she demonstrates good practice. Answering a question by a member of the public may also be rewarded with a hand bungle or a book or another awareness material on waste management. These goodies act as a motivator for demonstration of best environmental practices. Since the truck could move from place to place, it introduces the institution involved or concept being promoted to remote areas.
One may wonder why use of branded trucks and awareness caravans are crucial in reaching out to the public. There are several reasons why this approach is unique and include the following:-
1. The mobile truck can reach members of the public in places where educators could not have reached using conventional methods.
2. The innovative mix of loud sound, music, reknown artists and acrobatics makes the approach very appealing to members of the public and helps to capture their attention for some considerable time for environmental messages to be shared with them.
3. The approach encourages public debate on pertinent sustainable development challenges since the artists engage the public in an innovative way.
4. The use of small handouts such as Tshirts, bungles, and books with environmental messages among others serves as a motivator for the public to participate in the debate. Winning a prize regardless of its value is memorable to the participant as well as a psychological enrichment.
Moving ahead and reflecting on success made so far, NEMA wishes to upscale use of this approach to raise awareness on diverse environmental issues. The Kenyan counties could also pick up this innovation since they have a bigger role to play on environmental issues such as waste management and prevention of noise pollution.
Salladay, R., (2001) Abortion foes plan a convoy campaign Pictures of fetuses displayed on trucks, San Francisco Chronicle, November 24, 2001. Downloaded at on 27th November 2016.

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