Engineer and entrepreneur Mohd Shahnawaz started the Suraya Foundation in memory of his young sister whose life was snuffed out by a reckless driver. Others might have shrunk in despair, but Mr. Shahnawaz has worked tirelessly, despite several obstacles, to be the UAE’s ambassador against reckless driving. His hopes to receive airtime donations for a series of carefully crafted radio advertisements discouraging recklessness were dashed when the government-owned radio station of Dubai asked for payment. The foundation is now seeking assistance from the public so they can get down to the business of saving lives.
After doing extensive market research, Mr. Shahnawaz established a three-pronged approach to ending reckless driving:
- Content: emotionally compelling followed by facts will most effectively change the attitude of reckless drivers. The foundation has partnered with Murdoch University in Dubai in order to create said content.
- Spread: that content needs to reach the greatest number of people possible. They’ve established that in Dubai, radio has the most potential.
- Measure: once the message has been “put out there,” special firms such as Media Ipsos and AC Nielson conduct research to determine how effectively the message was received.
Mr. Shahnawaz hopes that these methods will spread awareness and generate peer pressure. And once the radio campaign is complete, the Foundation will present their findings to governments and road-safety organizations. In so doing, the aim is to demonstrate that an ongoing and targeted campaign is not only effective, but necessary.
Indeed, if just one of those deaths is prevented, that would spare 365 lives every year.
If you are interested in contacting the foundation or getting involved, please visit: http://www.surayafoundation.com/are-you-reckless.html
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