‘Pikinini I Redi’, a project currently underway in Vanuatu aims to equip teachers and students with knowledge and life-skills that would enable them to better prepare for disasters.
The project will train teachers in schools across the country on disaster preparedness and reduction activities.
It includes developing school disaster response plans and risk maps, providing disaster educational kits and organizing simulation exercises to prepare students for potential disasters.
The project acknowledged the important role teachers play in raising awareness among school children and the importance of involving children in disaster reduction to increase long-term community resilience.
Formal education system in Vanuatu does not train children how to handle disasters despite us (Vanuatu) being the most disaster prone country in the world, said the Project Manager of Pikinini i Redi, Lindah Peter, from the Vanuatu Red Cross Society (VRCS).
Being the most disaster prone country means that the lives of everyone in Vanuatu is at risk because of natural disasters like cyclones, landslides and drought.
Vanuatu is also accustomed to being hit by earthquakes and volcanoes because it sits on the Pacific Rim of Fire.
Children are one of the most vulnerable group in communities who often lack the skills to respond in disasters.
The need to mainstream disaster risk reduction into national curriculum was brought up in a workshop yesterday when VRCS, Shefa Education Office, Shefa Provincial Council, Vila North School, Sea Side School and Mele Centre School signed the formal agreements to partner in implementing the Pikinini i Redi Project.
Initiated by VRCS and funded by Japan Red Cross, the project will be piloted initially in these three schools in Shefa.
Shefa Provincial Council said it will support VRCS and other stakeholders working to increase children’s knowledge on disaster risk reduction and ensuring schools have their own disaster response plans.
Pikinini i Redi Project has other sites in each six provinces of Vanuatu.