Education in emergency situations - Training and information from the education sector about disaster risk reduction can help to minimize the impact in the lives of children and their families

The increase of emergency situations all over the world, linked to various factors such as wars, economic crises, epidemics, climate change and others of natural character, has been a reality in which governments, United Nations, private sector and society have focused and prepared a set of strategic measures to ensure the safety and well being of people, particularly the most vulnerable.

Thus, in the context of natural disaster prevention program and to strengthen the planning capacity and the level of preparation of the educational sector in emergencies, the UN Office in Cape Verde and the Ministry of Education in close partnership with UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office, will organize on October from 26th to 29th, a training course for trainers about "Education in Emergencies" designed for representatives of the Ministry of Education, National Civil Protection Service, NGOs and UN staff.

This training aims to equip participants with theoretical and practical knowledge about the component of education in emergency situations through an interactive and participatory approach, in order to be prepared to work in an emergency situation and ensure that children exercise their rights to education.

Besides its objectives, this activity will also contribute to the strengthening of the interconnection between the sectors of the country in conjunction with the National Civil Protection Service to best prepare and anticipate the risks and to respond to emergency situations. The purpose is the protection of children and young people, in the case of Cape Verde, a group nearly 100% involved in the education sector; a privileged group for a wide, swift and harmonized response. Therefore, it is understood that the school has a role as a disseminator of information, providing it to the students and their families. But it is also an occasion to promote a review on the sector's organization in event of disasters or emergencies that endanger the maintenance of the education system and its continuity, even temporarily.

At the opening ceremony, where there were representatives from the Ministry of Education and of Civil Protection, representing UNICEF Cape Verde and other UN agencies involved on Education matters, Mrs. Narjess Saidane, referring to the importance of this training, said that several examples from other countries have shown that children who received specific information about the reduction of natural hazards are better prepared to face the difficulties and play a positive role in protecting their lives and their communities.

Since children and youth are the most vulnerable part of the population, the training in emergencies component provided to the educational sector contributes to their empowerment and consequently to their qualification to adopt attitudes, practices and behaviors before and after a disaster, thus minimizing the adverse effects that an emergency situation can cause, both physically and psychologically.

Thus, it is recognized the important role of the schools in this process, which in addition to conventional wisdom, they can and should contribute to disseminate information to help reduce risks and consequences of disasters. The integration of risk reduction modules in the curriculum of primary and secondary education will help increase the perception of children and adolescents about their role in responding to emergencies.

According to Mrs. Narjess Saidane, Cape Verde has defined in its contingency plan a number of risks, some of which may occur more frequently than others, hence, the imperative need to prepare the society, and especially children on how to act in emergencies. It is in this context that this training course for trainers will lay the groundwork for extending, in time, the theoretical and practical knowledge to all teachers in the country.

This training consists among others, the following topics: I) the rationale for a specific discipline of Emergency on Education as a primary humanitarian response; II) Framework for Education in emergencies, including standards, technical components and actions to be taken; and III) the education sector and the existing coordination mechanisms in Cape Verde to prevent and respond to emergencies.

At the end of the training, the focal points should be selected for Education in Emergency Situation and the multiplication strategy for all teachers and others involved in the education sector. The participants should establish a plan of action for implementation of capacity building activities at the decentralized level.

During his speech, the Director General of Planning, Budget and Management of the Ministry of Education and Sports, Dr. Pedro Brito, highlighted the commitment of the Ministry and expressed its interest to agree with the plans that will result from this training course for trainers, in the view that its dissemination will better prepare the sector and all interested parties play their part.

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