Regional Toolkit on Building Disaster Resilient School Communities

Globally, Southeast Asia is the most disaster-prone region, with climate change and environmental degradation contributing to the increasing number of disasters (Canadian International Development Agency, 2012).

Disasters have physical, educational and psychosocial impacts. Teachers and students are vulnerable during disasters when they are injured or killed due to unsafe schools caused by poor quality of building materials or affected by civil unrest and migration due to war.

The education sector is the entry point to incorporate disaster risk mitigation, relief and reconstruction – a section highlighted in the Hyogo Framework for Action, which aims to substantially reduce disaster losses by 2015 by building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters.

(Download the toolkit’s brochure)

Rationale for the Toolkit

As a response, and as part of its mandate to contribute to the achievement of Education for All (EFA) by 2015, education in emergencies and disaster risk management (DRM) is one of the ten collaborative projects identified by the 11 SEAMEO Member Countries.

There is a wealth of information and publications about disaster risk management (DRM) programs and projects in Southeast Asia. Different organizations and institutions have different disaster risk reduction capacities and experiences, whether programs are national or regional in nature. There is no one solution to problems that affect disaster-stricken communities.

At the school level, SEAMEO Member Countries are in varying stages of developing their school DRM programs and the degree to which these programs are anchored to a national DRM plan. SEAMEO INNOTECH aims to combine in one toolkit different information and resources developed by other organizations on DRM in schools as a resource on disaster risk reduction, disaster response and disaster recovery in the region, and to highlight the best practices. It is designed for high-risk school communities in the region within the context of education for sustainable development (ESD). It present important key concepts and examples on disaster risk reduction and the strategic action taken by Member Countries in integrating these in education and local governance. It is intended for school heads and teachers to help them coordinate, set-up, maintain and sustain effective DRM programs in their respective school communities.

Moreover, it captures life-giving stories and innovations on school-based DRM projects in Southeast Asia into one learning resource package the end goal of which is to develop disaster resilient schools.

As of March 2013, field visits in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Thailand and the Philippines to gather DRM best practices, stories of resilience and DRM materials for teaching and learning have been completed.

Scope of the toolkit
DRM initiatives were documented from over 40 schools in Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Also included are experiences from selected schools in Japan that were affected by the Great East Japan earthquake in 2011. The schools have generously shared their DRM experiences and practices that work for school communities.

Features of the toolkit

The toolkit is divided into five sections:

1. Country profiles

The first section describes, as contextual background, disaster risk profiles and efforts of Member Countries in mainstreaming DRM in their national policies and development programs.

2. School-based DRM Projects and Stories Behind These Innovations

Through the experiences of selected schools from the region, the second section illustrates the role of the education sector in developing school-based solutions or projects that will strengthen the schools’ capacity for disaster preparedness, response and recovery.

The section also highlights inspiring and life-giving stories to concretely describe how the school-communities were able to withstand crisis situations through DRM projects in ways that could develop and strengthen the culture of resiliency.

3. Anthology of Reference Materials

Useful and relevant resource materials developed by various organizations working to mainstream DRM in school communities are organized in the third section based on the following themes: school-based disaster risk management, disaster prevention education, child protection, disaster prevention activities for students, education in emergencies, gender and emergencies, persons with disabilities in emergencies, health in emergencies, animals in emergencies, structural safety, and climate change adaptability.

4. Inputs and Reflections

The fourth section summarizes the reflections gleaned from the programs implemented by the different SEAMEO Member Countries and partner organizations. The discussion runs along the five domains (Community Participation, Access and Learning Environment, Teaching and Learning, Teachers and Other Education Personnel, and Education Policy) of the minimum standards for education during emergencies set by the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE).

5. Partner Organizations Involved in DRM Projects in Schools/ Education

The fifth section showcases how partner organizations and stakeholders are involved and how they help shape community participation and collaboration, governance, networks, and DRM learning and innovation in school communities. Contact information of some organizations is also made available under this section.