Lessons for life: Building a culture of safety and resilience to disasters through schools (2007)

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The paper is based on the one of the core components of Hyogo Framework for Action 2005–2015 - the ‘use of knowledge and education systems to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels’. With the help of examples of best practices, the paper presents argues that governments cannot ignore the opportunity that schools and education offer in reducing the risk of hazards and disasters. The paper aims to set out concrete and practical recommendations to help governments meet their commitment. These recommendations will facilitate government dialogue with citizens and guide the creation or integration of national policy on disaster risk reduction.

The paper argues that focusing on schools as part of initiatives to achieve greater resilience to disasters is one of the best ways in which governments can protect communities. This is because schools can bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and practical local action by transmitting messages, setting standards and physically protecting the community from disasters.

The final recommendations to governments are placed within the framework of achieving a ‘culture of resilience and safety’, which has the main objective of reducing vulnerability to disasters and its risks.

The recommendations made are as follows:

Integrate teaching on local risk and hazards into the curriculum:
  • establishing targets for disaster risk education which are transparent and monitored by citizens;
  • raising awareness on local hazards through existing subjects such as geography or natural sciences, using community vulnerability assessment tools as a frame of reference;
  • providing adequate teacher training on disaster risk education;
  • involving teachers’ unions to ensure widespread understanding and commitment from teachers.
Increase the physical safety and resilience of school building:
  • ensuring that all new school buildings adhere to building codes that incorporate disaster resilience;
  • conducting safety reviews of existing school infrastructures with respect to local hazards;
  • following up on safety reviews by setting transparent time bound targets for repairing and rebuilding schools;
  • developing a legal and institutional framework for systematically implementing, monitoring and evaluating school protection, involving stakeholders from all levels.
Language: English
Imprint: Action Aid: A briefing paper http://www.unisdr.org/eng/public_aware/world_camp/2006-2007/iddr/docs/UK-actionaid-report.pdf 2007
Series: Discussion paper,