Kyrgyzstan hosts an international event on mobilizing volunteers for emergency preparedness and response

16 February 2024
volunteers at the conference
UNICEF Kyrgyzstan

More than 50 UNICEF volunteers from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Serbia are attending a conference devoted to emergency preparedness and response. The conference also includes presentations from volunteers and students from Japan. The participants of the two-days meeting will discuss the role of volunteers in managing disaster risks and responding to such situations. The event was organized under a project on improving the safety of schools funded by the Government of Japan.

The Minister of Emergency Situations Boobek Azhibekov, the Ambassador of Japan in the Kyrgyz Republic Goda Hideki and the UNICEF Representative in Kyrgyzstan a.i. Cristina Brugiolo participated in the opening ceremony.

As part of the project, UNICEF volunteers worked with over 900 schools across Kyrgyzstan. They helped to train almost half-a-million schoolchildren and over 10,000 school staff preparedness to emergencies. They learned about correct behavior during fires and earthquakes, explored the safe exits at schools, studied basics of emergency preparedness. All of them participated in drills and simulation exercises to practice their skills in real-life situations like fire and earthquake.

During his speech minister Azhibekov highlighted the importance of volunteers in general, and especially in responding to emergency situations. “Development of the volunteerism is a big achievement for any society” he noted.

As part of the project, UNICEF had previously equipped 600 schools with essential items for emergency situations, including loudspeakers, hand-held sirens, fire shields, evacuation stretchers, first aid kits, disaster risk information boards, and emergency door handles for school safety purposes.

Ambassador Hideki stressed the importance of sharing best practices and expressed his hope that Japan’s experience in emergency preparedness and response will be useful not only for Kyrgyzstan, but also for the whole region.

According to Cristina Brugiolo, children are the most vulnerable in emergency situations like earthquakes, fires, floods or conflicts. “Equipping them with the right tools and knowledge is key to keeping them safe," said Ms. Brugiolo.

The project on enhancing the resilience of children to climate and disaster risks in the Kyrgyz Republic had been implemented since March 2020. Under this initiative, UNICEF collaborates with the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Emergency Situations to ensure the safety of girls and boys in schools/pre-schools in the face of potential stresses, shocks, impacts of climate change, and disasters.

Media contacts

Kairatbek Murzakimov
Communications, Advocacy and Partnerships Officer
UNICEF Kyrgyzstan


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