Real lives



Children on climate change and disaster risk reduction

Mark exchanging views with fellow participants on how children can play a part in their own communities.

The COP 18 Conference on climate change is now taking place in Doha, Qatar. During a recent conference on child centered disaster risk reduction in Manila, we asked children why they should be put at the heart of climate change and disaster risk reduction interventions.

Mark Patrick Balaca

During disaster, children are at greater risk of injury and suffer from disease as water, sanitation and food security are threatened. Children’s rights are sacrificed during and after each disaster. Our right to education is very much affected. In the Philippines, these impacts on children are being experienced. People need to consider our vulnerability and needs.

There are many things that children can do to participate. I can be part of the facilitator’s pool where adult and children can work together to conduct school and community based activities. We can have a room to room campaign on Disaster Risk Reduction like simple hazard assessment and what to do before, during and after flooding, typhoon and even earthquake and  tsunami.

To me, what is important really is that children must have a role in the decision making in the school and in the community.  Like in the school as a classroom officer I want to influence my fellow classroom and school officers to include DRR and CCA in our agenda. I can share to them how important it is to know the meaning of Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in our lives as children and how we can support our teachers and parents in building a safe and resilient school.

At the community level, I can talk to the barangay officials and make them aware since they are still very reactive to the events of disasters. Education at the community level is very crucial as people need enough preparation and understanding of what a well prepared community means. As child volunteer Disk Jockey and a radio broadcaster, the power of communication is very important so I can relate discussions in the radio on the DRR and CCA, sharing information for resilience and what more children can do at home, in the schools and in their communities like simple solid waste management, information about the weather conditions as
a form of early warning system and what to do in order to minimize the impacts of the hazards.

We need to have an enabling environment for us to fully engage. I am fortunate to have nurturing and loving parents who support me in this advocacy, my teachers and the school administrators who always guide me, my “Ates and Kuyas” from Plan International who support us children to be more participative. I see lots of bayanihan spirit or cooperation among communities which allow us children to also support in our own little ways.

Thania shares her ideas on disasters and climate change during the child-centered CCA and DRR conference.

Thania A. Borca

How important is the involvement of the children on Disaster Risk Reduction? This was the question in my mind before I engaged in DRR. My participation during the forum on Child-centered Disaster Risk Reduction (CCDRR) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) brought me to a clearer understanding on the importance of the involvement and participation of children.

I learned that there are also good practices of children’s participation on DRR in other provinces. I learn of the good practices which can also be adapted in Eastern Samar such as the theater production in San Mateo Rizal. Through theater the children were able to express their views on DRR and it does not only entertain the viewers but also were able to learn something about DRR. I am also happy that some local officials like in Albay, Camarines Norte, Camotes and other provinces are also engaging in DRR and also working with children on reducing disaster risks. Only one consideration that I learned in the sharing and my fellow children also shared sentiments with me is the training of kindergarten children. In giving training, consideration should be made on the evolving capacities of the children to be trained.

It is very important that we, children must enjoy our right to participate especially on reducing disaster risks because we are the most vulnerable sector in the community when disaster occurs and we need to be protected from any disaster and other forms of abuses. Let our voices be heard.



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