Author: UNESCO Bangkok
Year: 2007
Agency: UNESCO
Full Citation: UNESCO Bangkok. (2007). Natural disaster preparedness and education for sustainable development. Bangkok, Thailand: UNESCO. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0015/001504/150454e.pdf
Associated Resource Tool(s):
Overview: This publication draws together the work completed under the Educational Materials for Education for Natural Disaster Preparedness in Asia-Pacific in the Context of Education for Sustainable Development project.
  • This document provides details of the development of culturally appropriate and locally relevant educational material for natural disaster preparedness that targets key stakeholder groups and integrates Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) principles and strategies. It is expected to develop and strengthen a regional network to implement and further ESD initiatives throughout the region by promoting education for natural disaster preparedness as well as ESD.
  • The publication articulates the lessons learned by the four in-country project teams (i.e., the Maldives, Thailand, Indonesia and India) and two collaborating organizations (i.e., Asia/Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO and Bangladesh Red Crescent Society) in developing materials in collaboration with community groups in the Asia-Pacific region. It provides insights into effective techniques to develop locally relevant educational materials, and highlights some of the challenges in that field.
Methodology: The research methodology used to conduct the analysis of existing materials included consultation both with Ministries of Education and with carefully selected key environmental organizations with knowledge and expertise in education for sustainable development in Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Thailand as well as in other natural disaster prone countries of the region such as Japan. Organizations and individuals who contributed to the project were already involved in disaster reduction education, post-tsunami management and assessment at the local level, and were in a position to identify which potential natural disasters could occur (e.g., floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, fires, typhoons, etc.), what effect they have and how damage can be minimized.
Findings: In developing their projects, the teams learned that:
  • Collaboration and Consultation – are essential to correctly identify needs and gaps, learn about a community’s preferred learning styles and develop ongoing support for their projects.
  • Affected Communities are Keen to Help – natural disaster affected communities want to be involved in projects that will lessen the impact of future natural disasters. They must be viewed as a valuable resource rather than passive recipients of donor aid.
  • Language Barriers – it is important to use local languages effectively in order to deliver natural disaster preparedness messages. However in doing so, the universality of the project may be lost. A lack of natural disaster preparedness terminology in local languages inhibits effective natural disaster preparedness communication.
  • Culture and Religion – require sensitivity in order to develop innovative approaches that can build upon local culture and religion and promote communication and understanding where certain cultural beliefs and practices may present obstacles to natural disaster preparedness.
  • Government/Programmatic Support – is important to develop sustainable, ongoing commitment to local stakeholder initiatives. This can be at the national or local government levels and can include policy, financial or coordination efforts.
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