ISDR Informs The Americas

DIPECHO PROJECT “Local Risk and Disaster Management Strengthening in the Education Sector in Central America”

The project financed by the European Union – Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) – seeks to recover and systematize experiences and reproduce practices and instruments regarding risk management in the field of education in six Central American countries, allowing such promotion and reproduction at a local level.

In addition, the project contributes with national authorities of the education sector in order to elaborate and implement their policies and strategies regarding prevention, preparation and response to emergencies and disasters. The experiences identified in the region will facilitate the elaboration, validation and feedback of the methodologies and tools used by Central American ministries of education, contributing to the process of regional integration through the exchange of local experiences and updating Central American Education Plan for Risks and Disasters.

At the same time, the project seeks to develop a series of model documents for different sectors (safe school, minimum regulations for education in emergencies, school/shelter) that will allow the authorities as well as the education sector – teachers, technicians, and cooperative institutions dealing with risk reduction in the education sector – to have available the basic tools to prevent, be prepared for and respond to disasters as well as to ensure the right of children to a prompt return to educational activities immediately after an emergency.

Photo: © Gonzalo Bell

The countries of Nicaragua and El Salvador have exemplified the mission of the project through national and local activities. Nicaragua 23 trained trainers in Bilwi RAAN on the use of the project inspired materials highlighting best practices in risk management, safe schools and temporary shelter planning. In the north and coastal areas a National workshop to systematize best practices in risk management in the education sector was held with the MINED, school leaders and alumni, as well as various DIPECHO partners including CARE, the Nicaraguan, Spanish and Dutch Red Cross units.

In coordination with Save the Children, 28 trainers were trained how to work with communities on Minimum Standards for education in emergencies, chronic crisis management and early reconstruction.

In El Salvador, after six months of intense efforts, the C.E Carias school community has successfully developed its commission and Plan for Educational Protection. Trainers were trained to spread the message throughout the surrounding community with the support from strategic allies such as the MINED, Salvadorian Red Cross and local fire department. Community awareness events were directed at joining teachers, students and parents in preparing for emergency situations through hands on activities creating evacuation routes and maps, shelter planning and the basics of risk management. Youth facilitators were also trained to spread the message amongst their peers and in all three schools and their surrounding communities benefited from the untiring efforts to build a culture of awareness.