Partnerships to mainstream inclusive and child sensitive disaster risk reduction
In cooperation with United Nations Children’s Fund, the Ministry of Education tapped into the international expertise in disability inclusive disaster risk reduction (DRR) provided by an international non-governmental organization Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund in Georgia (ASB). A series of capacity building and technical interventions for national education specialists and representatives of the civil society based organizations took place from 22 to 28 April 2017 within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between UNICEF and ASB. The purpose of the partnership interventions is to introduce standards of the disability-inclusive and child-sensitive Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) to pre-school institutions and rehabilitation centres throughout the country.
Given Turkmenistan’s context prone to natural hazards, the Ministry of Education is committed on strengthening disaster risk reduction by building resilience on school safety. Towards this, UNICEF has been working closely with Ministries of Education and Defence, and other respective partners since 2012 under the DIPECHO Projects funded by the Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department of the European Commission (ECHO). This cooperation found further relevance and strategic urgency as the country adopted Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015. Another important milestone was Turkmenistan’s adaptation of the Sustainable Development Goals, in which environmental protection and DRR are the essential centerpiece and a cross-cutting issue across the post-2015 goals.
“In line with the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, disability inclusive DRR embraces the entire community and pays specific attention to persons with disabilities, including children. In a changing climate, we understand more that there is a need to change the way we work to reach those who are most vulnerable. One of the most effective ways we can do that, is to raise the resilience of all groups of population. This should be seen as an opportunity to improve the quality of life of persons and children with disabilities through sound and inclusive investment and decision-making processes”, said Shaheen Nilofer, UNICEF Representative.
In March 2017, the delegation of Turkmenistan represented by specialists of the Ministry of Education in charge of the inclusive education and Rehabilitation Centre, and Yenme, an NGO visited Georgia with support of UNICEF to learn from its experience on how to integrate inclusive and child-sensitive DRR into pre-school education system.
As a follow up to the visit, representatives of the National Institute of Education, Education Managers in charge of Pre-Schools, Practitioners from Rehabilitation Centres, Directors of the Education Training Resource Centres from five velayats and Ashgabat city, National Red Crescent Society, and Yenme, an NGO working on disability issues participated in the five-day training on Disability Inclusive and Child Sensitive DRR in Pre-schools, facilitated by the ASB experts. “Inclusive approach to DRR makes it more powerful. Disability inclusive knowledge and practice build resilience of communities no matter if families have persons with disabilities or no. We hope that respective knowledge transforms into action within education system and other sectors”, shared one of the training participants.
The trained group of the education specialists will carry on further cascade training to introduce disability-inclusive DRR practices in pre-schools and rehabilitation centres across the country. National training facilitators will use the adapted resource and learning materials, which will be included into preschool and primary school system in future.
The training was concluded with the observance of the "Safety Day" at school №27 of Ak Bugday etrap in Akhal Velayat. Organized in cooperation with the National Red Crescent Society, the event was aimed at assessing the coordination among national emergency response teams, local authorities, school management, teachers and children in responding to a potential disaster. Such learning drills are also organized in DRR exemplary schools in Turkmenabat and Balkanabat cities.
Currently, with technical support of UNICEF, 180 schools nationwide, which makes 10% of all schools, are undergoing school safety assessment. The assessment will inform the education authorities on the actions required for strengthening structural safety of the school buildings and preparedness of children and teachers to respond to disasters. The Ministry of Education is planning to assess all schools in the country by 2020.
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