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Project launches to educate school children on vital safe behaviourduring disasters

In the new academic year,children from 10 schoolsin Batken and Leilek districts of Batken oblast will participate in activities to help them learn how to behave if natural disasters strike.  Schoolchildren, together with teachers, parents and other community members, will be given opportunities to consolidatetheskills they acquire through simulationdrills and other activities on disaster risk reduction (DRR) and emergency preparedness. The schools will be equipped with torches, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, warningtools and other equipmentto be used in disasters.

The project is being implemented bythe Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Emergency Situations with the support of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and in partnership with ECHO,the Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection of the European Commissionwhich is funding the activities.

The project also focuses on trainingof adults, including the staff of ministries, local authorities and schools. The objective is to develop training plans and strategic documents that can be appliedin all schools throughout the country to ensure that every child is aware of safe behavioural skills during earthquakes, mudflows, fires and other disasters.

Afifteen-month project aimed at preschools in 2010-2011 preceded the new project.  Children from 20 communitybased kindergartensand 18 pre-school classes in the same districts participated in the simulation drills. Teaching manuals andmethodologies were developed for teachers and parents to educate thepreschool children on safe behaviourduring and after emergencies. The learning materials, including a safety series of books featuring the characters from the popularKeremetKoch cartoon series, were designed to strengthenawareness. The outcomes of the activities demonstrated that children's inquisitive minds help them to easily learn the vital safe behaviour skills. The children became more confident in themselves and their abilities.

The current initiative is being implemented in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan and is entitled “Supporting Disaster Risk Reduction amongst Institutions and Vulnerable Communities in Central Asia." The total budget is 900,000 Euros of which 200,000Euros is for project implementation in Kyrgyzstan.

UNICEF anticipates thatthe project will support efforts to significantly reduce the number of child deathsand injuries in Kyrgyzstan as a result of disasters.



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