End User representatives
Children represent the most vulnerable demographic group in disasters – it is estimated that 30-50% of fatalities are children - while they are also most vulnerable to psychosocial impacts. Early research indicates that children are a resource for reducing current disaster risks and can also mitigate future risks.
The role of children’s disaster education in managing risk has been recognised as a major priority in the federal government’s National Strategy for Disaster Resilience. Yet, despite a recent surge in child-centred disaster research, the social, psychological, economic and political mechanisms that enable children to both understand and take action to reduce disaster risk remain largely unexplored and the evidence-base for best-practice remains limited.
A promising approach to supporting children’s active engagement in disaster risk reduction is referred to as childcentred disaster risk reduction. Its aim is to strengthen children’s skills so that they understand the disaster risk in their communities and are able to take a lead role in reducing that risk. While it is becoming increasingly popular amongst government and non-government agencies and organisations around the world, rigorous empirical research on the efficacy of the approach is scarce.
This project is conducting a nationwide evaluation of programs and strategies based on a child-centred disaster risk reduction framework. It aims to develop cost-effective programs that reduce the risk and increase resilience for children, schools, households and communities.
Project Leader Prof Kevin Ronan, along with researcher Dr Briony Towers, attended the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, in 2015. A background chapter by Prof Ronan was commissioned by UNESCO and UNICEF for the Sendai Framework planning process and for the UNISDR’s Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015, focusing on one of the ‘core indicators’ for the UNISDR Hyogo Framework for Action - Priority for Action 3: School curricula, education material and relevant training including disaster risk reduction and recovery concepts and practices.
The project has published widely in journals including the International Journal of Disaster Risk Education, the International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, the Journal of Homeland Security and the Australian Journal of Emergency Management.
Children represent the most vulnerable demographic group in disasters.
There remains an assumption that children and young people are passive victims with no role to play in communicating risks or participating in risk reduction strategies.
Disaster education for children has been identified as a key stragety for increasing disaster resilience. In Australia, comprehensive, evidence-based guidance for the development and implementation of quality education programmes is lacking. This framework, underpinned by current research in the field, aims to provide emergency service agencies and other stakeholders with a good practice approach to developing education programmes that foster children's capacities for building resilience.
Children represent the most vulnerable demographic group in disasters. The world health organisation estimates that 30-50% of disaster fatalities are children. They are also most vulnerable to psychosocial impacts. However, preliminary research and the new Sendai Framework also identifies them as community “drivers” of change for reducing current and future disaster risks and increasing community resilience.
The national strategy for disaster resilience recognises disaster resilience education (DRE) as a priority.
Children form a vulnerable demographic in both the response and recovery phases of natural disasters
Child-centred disaster risk reduction (CC-DRR) is a flexible, rights-based, innovative approach to disaster risk reduction (DRR) combining child-focused (for the children) and child-led (by the children) activities involving children, families, communities, non governmental organisations, emergency management agencies and governments (UNICEF, 2014; PLANUK, 2010; Save the Children, 2007).
Can children be agents of change through school-based education?
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