A week-long school safety training workshop on hazard, vulnerability and capacity assessment for school facilitators is being held in Dominica.
The workshop, funded by the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid, is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development and Isra-AID.
The workshop, which is one part of a strategic plan to better prepare teachers and schools across the island for emergencies, will run from today, Monday 23rd, April to Friday April 27th at the Garraway Hotel.
“We are having our second teacher training, under the Disaster Preparedness Plan that is under the Safe School Programme,” Project Manager for Isra-AID, Karin Lafziel told Vibes news.
She noted that this is one component of a strategic plan to better prepare the schools in Dominica.
“Today the teachers will be learning how to lead a process with the student councils to better prepare the school community, through a school assessment of hazards and vulnerabilities of each community, so that they can put it in their school operational plan and later on, even implore on the students to take on projects around the schools with funds that will be given to them through this program” Lafziel explained.
She noted that the workshop is an initiative of the Education Minister to help reduce the impact of emergencies on the school communities following Tropical Storm Erika and Hurricane Maria.
“As we were working with the Minister, both UNICEF and Isra-AID, we came to the conclusion that if we want to make a change, so that we don’t have the same gap that we had between Erika and Maria, working on long term projects that did not end in time, and did not ensure that the school communities are prepared,” Lafziel stated.
It was therefore decided by the Minister to take direct action in all seventy-three (73) schools, and create a team in each school to lead the school operational plan.
This, Lafziel noted, is with a view to ensure that “we know how to act, before, during and after and emergency so the emergency dies not turn into disasters”.
The main outcomes of the workshop are to lead an awareness program with the children themselves, for teachers to know how to build emergency preparedness program for their houses, for the schools, and to be more involved in the community.
Dominica is the first country in which this training has been held so far, they are looking forward to inviting ministers and other officials from various ministries to the upcoming workshops.
“This specific program was pushed by the Minister of Education, as we came to the island to do direct action in twenty schools, he pushed for a national program with the seventy-three schools and we are excited to lead this process,” Lafziel added.