The Issue



UNICEF-DIPECHO Diaster Risk Reduction Programmes in CEE/CIS

© UNICEF Georgia/2013/Khizanishvili

DIPECHO 2012-2013

Starting from June 2012, ECHO, the Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection of the European Commission, and UNICEF are joining efforts in the area of disaster risk reduction in education. ECHO is contributing 1.6 million Euros and UNICEF 282,359 Euros to the project called “Supporting Disaster Risk Reduction amongst vulnerable communities and institutions in Central Asia and the South Caucasus.” It is part of a global program reaching eight regions.

Within this partnership, ECHO and UNICEF are working in seven countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan to improve disaster preparedness and risk reduction.

School and preschool children, young people, parents, communities, teachers, principals and other school staff, as well as government policy-makers and sector managers at regional and local levels will benefit.

Activities to be undertaken are:

  • Reflection of needs and rights of the most vulnerable children (including children with special needs) in disaster risk reduction policy; capacity building of children and schools in hazard prone areas to better prepare for, mitigate, and respond to disasters, as well as tackling issues related to disaster risk reduction in the context of the national educational system;
  • Advocacy and awareness-raising events and activities around disaster risk reduction on national, regional and global level;
  • Capacity development of teachers and government officials from the emergency and education departments; and
  • Strengthening cooperation with the leading agencies, governmental authorities and other donor partners.
In February 2013, the CEE/CIS Regional Office organized a Regional Knowledge Management Workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction in Education for the countries of Central Asia and South Caucasus. The workshop provided an excellent opportunity for the different country teams and regional DRR partners (eg. UN ISDR, UNDP, Save the Children and SEEDS) to share information on the specific strategies and approaches pursued generally under DRR in Education, as well as specifically under the DIPECHO-funded programme.

The networking was particularly valued and appreciated by the government counterparts, many of whom are dealing with similar issues and challenges in their respective countries. One of the major outcomes of the workshop was the development of recommendations for actions in DRR in education and regional coordination mechanisms.
Download the English version of the KMW final report 
Download the Russian version of the KMW final report

    DIPECHO 2010–2012

    UNICEF worked in seven countries across South Caucasus and Central Asia: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan on disaster preparedness and risk reduction, primarily in the education sector. Similar to the previous initiatives, the programme addressed policy, institutional arrangements, and school- and community-level activities, raising awareness and soliciting commitment from respective governments. It implemented:

    • Support for the establishment of national coordination mechanisms for disaster risk reduction in education;
    • Assistance with the revision and enhancement of national education policy documents, including national curricula, to incorporate disaster risk reduction concepts and approaches;
    • Development of teacher training programmes, training manuals, and teaching and learning materials;
    • Organization of the training of teachers, administrative staff and sector managers on disaster risk preparedness and mitigation strategies and measures; and
    • Equipping school children with the knowledge and skills necessary to protect themselves from future natural disasters, through simulations and training.
    In the framework of the DIPECHO project and as a regional DRR initative in March 2011, a regional workshop on knowledge management was organized. Its aim was to facilitate exchange of information, experiences and resources between the seven countries, thereby enhancing the overall impact and quality of the UNICEF-DIPECHO project. This networking was particularly valued and appreciated by the government counterparts, many of whom are dealing with similar issues and challenges in their respective countries. Moreover, the meeting helped in further strengthening UNICEF’s relationship with government representatives as well as in bridging the cooperation and understanding between the ministries i.e. emergency and education. 
    Download the Summary report on Central Asia and South Caucasus Knowledge Management Workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction in Education.

    DIPECHO 2008–2009

    UNICEF worked in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to integrate key principles of risk reduction, community safety and disaster preparedness into the education sector. It assisted national efforts to ensure the safety and protection of children against future disasters in the region. This contributed to priority actions under the Hyogo Framework for Action and specifically focused on “Use knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels”.

    Manuals and other teaching materials were developed in national languages and in Russian, and widely distributed. These materials included, Minimum standards for education in emergencies, chronic situations and early reconstruction, School as Shelter and theRiskland board game.

    Information, guidance and tools were provided to nearly 10,000 teachers, and 1,124 school staff and disaster management officials. These were instrumental in assisting more than 380,000 children and 240,000 parents to protect themselves more effectively from the impact of future disasters. School preparedness plans, emergency school committees, and school emergency brigades were introduced as a foundation for school-based disaster preparedness.

    At a regional conference on disaster risk reduction in December 2009, a compendium, prepared jointly with UN-ISDR Regional Bureau for Central Asia, was presented which illuminated good practices, lessons learned and case studies from within the Central Asia region. The project provided significant support to existing inter-governmental cooperation and collaboration to address disaster risks and vulnerabilities in the region.

    DIPECHO 2007

    Within six highly disaster-prone provinces of Uzbekistan, UNICEF worked to strengthen risk reduction in vulnerable communities, especially among women and children. With national, local and community support, the programme focused on developing children’s understanding of risk reduction and skills in disaster preparedness in the event of an earthquake.

    A central objective was to re-orientate the government's strategy from disaster response to participatory disaster preparedness, incorporating disaster risk reduction.

    Public education was the key. Through participatory action planning and training activities, whole communities learned how to minimize the effects of hazards and developed skills to reduce the risks of disaster. The programme demonstrated the potential for multilevel, simultaneous, public outreach on a nationwide basis. The Uzbekistan Ministry of Emergencies Civil Protection Department provides a foundation for national implementation. It links very effectively through local government to the makhalla(neighbourhood) structure within villages, towns and cities, incorporating schools and health facilities at every level.

    Through this programme, UNICEF pioneered a very productive working relationship with an important Uzbekistan government agency. With national and international partners and the European Commission’s Director General as a donor, it represented a major step forward in multilateral collaboration. Providing impetus for building multi-agency awareness, it significantly advanced the objectives of the Hyogo Framework for Action and created a coordination and implementation mechanism for a National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.




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