TACLOBAN CITY: A foreign non-government organization is pushing for heighten disaster risk reduction (DRR) awareness among school children in central Philippines following the destruction of Super Typhoon Yolanda.
Drawing best DRR education practices before and after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, SEEDS Asia boardmember Etsuko Tsunozaki said they will introduce the disaster risk reduction (DRR) education guidebook that will be incorporated in existing curriculum in the country.
“Disaster risk reduction is everyone’s business, but we want this initiative to be sustainable and systematic by teaching future community leaders. The first step is to train the children on how to stay safe during disasters,” Tsunozaki said.
Since January 16, SEEDS Asia has been distributing educational supply and rolling out DRR education to affected schools and students by the typhoon. The project, funded by the Japan Platform, will end on March 31.
Tsunozaki said the DRR education guidebook for the Philippines will be piloted in northern Cebu through a training of teachers. They are planning to roll out the guidebook in the Visayas this year, and eventually in the entire country this year.
In Japan, the guidebook was developed with the technical assistance of SEEDS Asia and the academic knowledge provided by Kyoto University.
“We want to partner with the Department of Education to localize the guidebook. The overall objective of this guidebook is to give students the knowledge, right attitudes and abilities to protect themselves as well as their family and community members during and after emergencies. The guidebook provides many valuable suggestions on how to conduct DRR education in school and special activities,” said Shohei Matsuura, Kyoto University environment and disaster management professor.
Citing their experience in Japan’s Kesennuma City when the tsunami struck in 2011, he said all the 2,500 learners present in school that day managed to move to safer grounds. Only few children who were not present in school perished.
“We want children to be able to take decisions when they’re away from the campus. They will be taught on how they can save their own lives and develop a mindset that their family is somewhere and safe,” Matsuura said.
SEEDS Asia will also conduct community-based drills to encourage widespread participation on DRR education among stakeholders.
Established in India in 2006, the non-government organization has been advocating DRR education in Maldives, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, and Pakistan. This is the first time for the organization to introduce DRR education in the Philippines.