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Tajikistan and UNICEF launch EU-backed project on disaster risk reduction

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan - 24 April 2009

The Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Education, the Committee of Emergency Situations and Civil Defense, and UNICEF in Tajikistan on disaster risk reduction in education sector has been signed in Dushanbe. The Memorandum is designed to establish co-operation and partnership for 2009 as part of the project called “Supporting disaster risk reduction among vulnerable communities in Central Asia”.

The project is financially supported by the European Commission through its Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO), Disaster Preparedness Programme (DIPECHO). The aim of the project is to support strategies that enable local communities and institutions to better prepare for, mitigate and respond adequately to natural disasters.

Mr Abdujabbor Rahmonov, Tajik Education Minister, Mr Haibullo Latipov, Chair of the Tajik Committee of Emergency Situations and Civil Defense, and Ms Hongwei Gao, UNICEF Country Representative in Tajikistan signed the Memorandum of Understanding for the Project implementation.

Tajikistan is very prone to natural disasters. Mountainous landscape and climatic conditions often cause floods, landslides and mudslides, and avalanches, all of which strongly impact the lives and welfare of communities across the country.

“The impact of natural and man-made disasters falls disproportionately on children,” said Hongwei Gao, UNICEF Country Representative in Tajikistan. “Due to their age children have limited knowledge and skills, life experience and physical capacity to adequately react under stress of disaster. The project is designed to enhance skills and knowledge of children during disaster. The Tajik Government understands that without adequate and coordinated efforts by all stakeholders it is impossible to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels of society”.

As part of the project, a training course on disaster risk reduction for teachers and schoolchildren will be developed and introduced in pilot schools in 20 target districts. Based on this experience, the Ministry of Education and UNICEF will be looking into ways of integrating this course in the existing teaching curricula with the goal of equipping children with knowledge and skills on survival in disaster situations.

“The project will directly benefit more than 190 thousand people across the country. Moreover, by building up awareness of and preparedness for disaster risk, the project will help children survive and play an important role in saving lives of people”, added Hongwei Gao, UNICEF Country Representative in Tajikistan.

For further information, please contact:

Alexander Sodiqov, UNICEF Tajikistan Communication Officer
Tel.: +992 48 701 14 89, fax: +992 48 701 14 95



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