Disaster Risk Reduction
Paper presented at the conference on “Child vulnerability and Disaster preparedness”
Asia partners in Development, UK
Disasters in general are frightening for adults and even more, traumatic for children. Feelings of anxiety, sadness, confusion and fear are all normal reactions. Extended periods of anxiety, frightening, or confusion of children can have devastating long-term emotional effects on their well-being. With appropriate support and guidance, children can develop the skills and resiliency needed to deal with, overcome and possibly even grow from traumatic experiences. RCPDS strongly believe that children have the inherent potential for being resilient, if given adequate support and counselling. Therefore, it is extremely important to strengthen the child's communication and coping skills
RCPDS believes that children should be centrally engaged in reducing the risks of disasters – whether natural or human made - in order that the negative impacts on communities are significantly reduced. Children have the capacity to contribute, bring a unique perspective to DRR preparations and have the right to play a part in making themselves and their communities safer. Vision for Child Focussed Community based Disaster Preparedness (CFCBDP) is to increase resilience and reduce the impact of disasters on children and their communities. In its implementation of these programs RCPDS uses a variety of approaches and principles, most notably:
- Child-centred - children are the key actors throughout the process.
- Child participation - children actively make their input into assessing, planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluation and influencing policy and practice.
- Community ownership - the participation of adults as support to children to ensure the process is community based thereby the community takes ownership.
- Child Rights principles - including the best interest of the child, survival and development of the child, ethical participation, equity and non-discrimination through the inclusion of all groups of children, and accountability.
- Integrated mandate - integrating CFCBDP into emergency, rehabilitation and development interventions and ensuring links with other sectors.
- Sustainability - through partnership and capacity building of communities, local organizations and governments to systematically integrate CFCBDP.
Basic framework for CFCBDP
Major objective of the framework is to strengthen children’s skills to face disasters and any unforeseen natural or human made event and to better understand the risks and impacts of potential disasters. This stem out of the following processes
Understanding the context and forming alliances
- Conduct situational analysis at local, National and regional levels to identify vulnerable areas, existing level of mainstream preparedness and response plans and how children and their issues can feature.
- Establish and strengthen partnerships with relevant government agencies and duty bearers helping them to recognize and include children and their issues in their plans.
- Establish and strengthen partnerships with existing local organizations and children led groups to promote action and awareness around DRR.
- Coordinate and collaborate with agencies (INGOs, local NGOs, CBOs and corporate sector – if there is scope etc.) working with DRR helping them to recognize and include children, child rights perspectives and their issues in the intervention plans.
Awareness raising and Capacity Building
- Capacity building of staff and partners who work with children and document best practices.
- Capacity building of staff and partners around emergency preparedness and response standards and how children and their issues can feature.
- Capacity building of organizations, facilitators and trainers (including children) around - participation, leadership and representation of CFCBDP concepts and processes.
- Capacity building of children who will lead the CFCBDP around core skills e.g. M&E and impact assessment.
- Capacity building of stakeholder groups (parents, teachers, academics, community leaders, community facilitators, government etc.) around their roles and expectations in emergency preparedness and response and working with children, including best practices.
- Facilitating children with concepts and terminology of Emergency response and potential roles they can play in such situation.
- Children develop preparedness plans to face any hazard or vulnerability through a process of capacity building.
- Children are involved in awareness raising campaign about Emergency risk reduction - using a variety of methods whereby they engage the adults and marginalized groups (e.g. out of school children or migrant community children).
- Capacity building of children in skills related to search, rescue, first aid and service to the mainstream sources
- Promote simulations involving children, community members and government to reinforce and promote behaviour change.
- Develop clear and time-bound action plans with children, community, and government to mitigate the risks identified.
- Integrate DRR knowledge and practices into the school curriculum and ensure development and dissemination of materials for children not in school.
- Promote safer and child-friendly physical environments through discussions with children and by advocating with relevant actors.
- Identify child related advocacy issues through situational analysis and program experience.
- Identify relevant stakeholders and advocate for inclusion of children’s issues and rights into preparedness and response planning – where possible let the children’s voices be heard in this advocacy.
Monitoring and Evaluation, Learning and Documentation
- Involve children in conducting baseline and situational assessments of target populations to identify knowledge, attitudes and
- Identify and develop impact indicators (with input from children) that reflect the change to be achieved through CFCBDP program before starting.
- Establish M&E plans together with children at the beginning of the program.
- Include children in impact assessments, and lessons learned exercises.