Disaster resilience is built through knowledge

Tuesday 21 November 2017

What do children think on how to reduce risk from natural and other disasters in educational institutions? All schools must have basic equipment for response in emergency situations. Evacuation plans should be posted in all classrooms and on every wall. Additional literature should be provided for teachers, along with regular training for protection and rescue. Teachers should start pupil sections that would deal with protection and rescue topics. Regular drills and workshops for pupils are required to teach them about risks and proper response in emergency situations. Also, psychological assistance to children is requisite in emergency situations.

These are the conclusions of elementary school pupils after a conference “Building and integrating the natural and other disasters risk reduction system in BiH, focusing on children” organized by Save the Children in cooperation with the BiH Ministry of Security, discussing the role and importance of state and international organizations and other partakers in the protection and rescue system.

Children participants come from elementary schools „Safvet-beg Bašagić“ and „Musa Ćazim Ćatić“ Zelinja Donja from Gradačac, as well as from „Osma osnovna škola Brka“ and „Deseta osnovna škola Brka“ from Brčko District, all participating in the natural and other disaster risk reduction program implemented by Save the Children over the last three years in municipalities of Gradačac, Šamac, Maglaj, Srebrenica, Sanski Most and Brčko District. Listed municipalities’ administrations were included in capacity building activities for handling emergency situations together with eight schools and two kindergartens, whereas about 4500 children took part in workshops and practical drills. Also, 684 adults went through a training course for improving disaster preparedness. All of the said activities were implemented in cooperation with the BiH Ministry of Security and relevant institutions of all governmental levels in BiH.

“The project is multidimensional, dealing with the capacity building of local institutions, including schools and kindergartens, aiming to improve the level of preparedness for natural and other disasters, facilitate the process of disaster risk assessment and action plans production for municipalities, school and preschool institutions, as well as to raise awareness within the community, especially with children.” said Save the Children director for North West Balkans, Andrea Žeravčić.

“The Ministry of Security seeks to include protection and rescue in emergency situations into existing teaching curricula, enabling children to be provided with input information regarding natural and other disasters, how to respond and be protected. We have obtained positive opinions and approvals from all ministries stating that the developed Guidelines for protection and rescue program implementation in elementary schools are accepted and that curricula would change accordingly.” said Idriz Brković, Head of the Department for strategic planning, measures for protection and rescue.

We never know when a natural or another disaster caused by human activity may hit us. The situation in the area of protection and rescue is gradually changing for the better today, and all the conference participants agree that continuity is of key importance.