Real-time SMS Tech for School Safety Practices

Establishing a baseline of school safety practices using RapidPro real-time SMS technology in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Elliot McBride, Innovation Specialist, UNICEF Pakistan
Flood-displaced child, Khuda Bus, suffers from severe malnutrition brought on by dysentery from dirty water from floodwaters
UNICEF/UNI116387/Page

27 February 2017

Floods, terror attacks, earthquakes, and medical emergencies are the most common types of disasters identified by UNICEF Pakistan’s Disaster Risk Reduction unit for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Pakistan. These disasters pose a threat to the safety of many schools and school children within KP.

To be emergency-ready, it is vital that schools develop a safety plan. Numerous studies have shown that the establishment of a safety plan contributes to an increase in preparedness and ability to cope with an emergency, and a decrease in the risk of injury, death, and post-disaster recovery.

To address these, UNICEF Pakistan’s Innovation unit in conjunction with UNICEF Pakistan sections for Education and Disaster Risk Reduction aim to assess the baseline of school safety – measuring safety confidence and practices in KP. In addition, this baseline assessment was designed to serve a dual purpose. First, to analyze the levels of confidence and habits surrounding safety in schools. Second, to provide pre-intervention measurements for impact evaluation towards safety training conducted to schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

A makeshift shelter has been assembled beside a utility pole in the city of Hyderabad, Sindh Province. Nearby, children play in flood waters.
UNICEF/Pakistan/Warrick Page
A makeshift shelter has been assembled beside a utility pole in the city of Hyderabad, Sindh Province. Nearby, children play in flood waters.

To support this initiative, RapidPro, an open source software platform that sends and receives messages from beneficiaries over SMS and consolidates their responses for post-hoc analysis, was utilized.

Read the full report on Establishing a Baseline of school safety practices using RapidPro real-time SMS technology in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa here. Excerpts below:

 

This report was written to disseminate results from a census of government schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Its aim was to measure both school safety confidence and safety practices, as well as measuring the impact that safety practices have on comfort around emergency preparedness. The relationship between safety training and perceived emergency preparedness was also measured to determine training effectiveness. Furthermore, existing School Safety Plans (School safety plans) will be measured against preparedness. All data taken from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been geographically plotted by Tehsil which is a subdivision of a district. This measurement was taken to give a more accurate geographical distribution of collected data. The results will also be compared to recent emergencies in order to examine regional perceptions of preparedness based on previous disasters.

An old man stands holding his grandchild in flood affected village of Sadra Sharif in Dera Ismail Khan district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan.
UNICEF/Pakistan/Shehzad Noorani
An old man stands holding his grandchild in flood affected village of Sadra Sharif in Dera Ismail Khan district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s extensive history with disasters is the basis of this confidence and safety practice assessment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This baseline assessment was designed to serve a dual purpose. First, it analyses the levels of confidence and habits surrounding safety in schools and compares those metrics with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where disasters occurred between 2005 and 2015. Second, it provides pre-intervention measurements for any potential impact evaluation on safety training due to being given to schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Following safety preparedness training given to schools, a follow-up survey can be distributed, using the pre-training survey results as an initial measurement of training impact.

Previously, feedback on safety programming could only be collected during active training, whether through focus group discussions (FGDs) or other activities conducted in the field. This method leaves a time gap between the programme and incorporation of the feedback that is received. Integration of RapidPro technology allows a real-time information component to be included from a distance so that preparations can be made to future initiatives based on user feedback prior to delivery, not after programme implementation. A key part of the “Transformative Agenda” introduced by the Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASC) in July 2012, which sought to reform humanitarian interventions, is “accountability to affected populations,” including principles such as transparency, feedback, and complaint resolution”. This RapidPro initiative is positioned to maximize the line of communication between the beneficiary and UNICEF through the collection and dissemination of real-time information.

Flood affected regions and concern surrounding flood preparedness.
UNICEF/Pakistan
Flood affected regions and concern surrounding flood preparedness.

UNICEF Pakistan is now using RapidPro as an innovative way to monitor programmes in real-time. The survey was completed by 3842 school focal points across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Respondents were self-selected in either English or Urdu and the results of incomplete surveys included.

Read the full report on Establishing a Baseline of school safety practices using RapidPro real-time SMS technology in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa here.

 


 

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