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Children in Georgia learn how to respond to natural disasters

© UNICEF/Geo-2010/Pirozzi
Georgian children are now learning about natural disaster preparedness in schools.

TBILISI, Georgia, 3 November 2010 – Children in Georgian schools will soon be able to learn how to respond adequately to natural disasters thanks to the new partnership initiative launched by the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, the National Curriculum and Assessment Centre, Emergency Management Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, UNICEF and the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department.

The Memorandum of Understanding about the new partnership has already been signed by Mr Dimitri Shashkin, Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, Ms Natia Jokhadze, Director of the National Curriculum and Assessment Centre, and Mr Roeland Monasch, UNICEF Representative in Georgia.

Within the framework of the initiative a special Technical Working Group will be established to review the existing national education and disaster preparedness policy and to initiate the process of mainstreaming disaster preparedness and risk reduction in formal education as well as in extra-curricular activities.

“Georgia is part of a highly disaster-prone region and natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, snow avalanches, and floods are potential threat to people”, said Roeland Monasch, UNICEF Representative in Georgia. “The most vulnerable and affected by natural disasters are children. We hope that thanks to our partnership initiative children will be able to acquire basic skills on how to behave in emergencies and be adequately prepared.” added Monasch.   

Children and their caregivers, especially in conflict affected and disaster prone areas lack knowledge and related life-skills on disaster preparedness. Furthermore, existing educational and teacher training programmes in the country are in short of such information.

Within the framework of the current initiative the relevant curriculum will be developed, teachers will be trained and the curriculum will be introduced in eight pilot schools in disaster prone regions of Georgia, including Tbilisi. The project also envisages development of the relevant policy and legislation to further strengthen education on disaster preparedness and carrying out information campaigns for children on safety practices and disaster risks.

About ECHO
The European Commission Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) is one of the world’s largest providers of financing for humanitarian aid operations. Its mandate not only includes the funding of disaster relief but also the support of disaster preparedness activities, in particular at local level. Through its disaster preparedness programme (DIPECHO) it assists vulnerable people living in the main disaster-prone regions of the world in reducing the impact of natural disasters on their lives and livelihoods.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:

Maya Kurtsikidze, Communication Officer, UNICEF Georgia
Tel: (995 32) 23 23 88, 25 11 30,  mob: (995 99) 53 30 71




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