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Stuck in the mud!

Eco-driving and off-road training with Toyota.

I haven’t written since I returned from the Delta in Myanmar back in September, so I thought it was time for a quick update!

I have been helping out the logistics team in the UK Head Office. As part of that role, I have attended a great training on security and first Aid with Save the Children, and a course on eco-driving and off-road training with Toyota.

The Toyota Training Seminar was held in the south of Spain (near Gibraltar where the stockholdings are based). They supply 4×4 cars, ambulances and vans etc, for lots of different charities. Being based in Gibraltar means that they can send cars to our offices in Africa quite easily. Around 19 members of various NGOs (non-governmental organisations) from all over Europe attended the training.

We began by learning the meaning and aims of Eco-driving principals, which are aimed at ensuring that you make the most of your vehicle. You can minimise fuel consumption by not accelerating too fast and by using your brakes as little as possible. We learnt lots of other great tips too that will be useful when I next get out to the field and get to look after my own fleet of vehicles.

Learning how to maintain the vehicles...
Learning how to maintain the vehicles...

After testing out the Eco-driving ourselves we had a fun afternoon looking at the maintenance of the vehicles and also some recovery methods for towing vehicles out of sticky situations. I found this stuff really useful since there’s unlikely to be any car recovery services when I next head to the field!

The following day we all gathered to have a quick briefing on off-road driving before taking out some of the 4x4s around the surrounding countryside. We went up a nearby hill with dirt tracks and paths of rocks and then around a track set up by the Toyota team through mud and up and down steep and slippery gradients.

The off-road driving was so much fun. It was great to know the limits of the vehicles we purchase for the field, and to get a chance to test them out under controlled circumstances. Lots of cars got stuck in the mud and I had a few goes at towing them out!

Towing the vehicle out of the mud!

I definitely feel more confident that I could manage a fleet of these cars should I need to in my next placement overseas. Thanks to everyone at Toyota for the great course – it was so valuable to have some hands-on time with the vehicles. When I next go to the field I will also hopefully be able to share some tips on how to save fuel as well as being kinder to the environment.

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