Over 100 participate in the Resilient Schools and Disaster Risk Reduction Education webinar


The UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA) held a webinar on Resilient Schools and Disaster Risk Reduction Education on 10 February 2021. The webinar, conducted in both English and Portuguese, gathered approximately 100 attendees from all over Southern Africa: including ministries of education representatives, NGO partners, education practitioners and other related stakeholders.

Prof. Hubert Gijzen, the Regional Director and Representative of UNESCO ROSA, opened the webinar and emphasized the importance pre-disaster actions and better preparedness.

He also highlighted the importance of collaboration across natural and social sciences, education, culture and communication within UNESCO to help construct a global culture of resilient communities in a trans- and cross-disciplinary manner.

The webinar highlighted the importance of Resilient Schools and Disaster Risk Reduction Education in the region. According to the Global Climate Risk Index 2021, by German Watch, the countries most affected by extreme weather events because of global warming in 2019 were Mozambique, Zimbabwe as well as the Bahamas. Only one year later, a disaster in the form of COVID 19 has basically paralyzed education systems in the Southern African region. Strengthening disaster preparedness in general and equipping the education sector to provide adequate training on the vulnerability assessment tools to prevent and mitigate the impact of these disasters therefore becomes a priority. The webinar also sparked an interesting discussion and provided an opportunity for participants to explore the fundamental question of funding options for Resilient Schools and Disaster Risk Reduction.

Dr. Wilfred Lunga from the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa shared interesting findings from the assessment commissioned by UNESCO conducted in 2020. The assessment revealed that investments and efforts are needed to make education buildings resilient, as well as the need for better data; capacity building at all levels of the education system and the importance of acknowledging and respecting public perceptions especially among vulnerable groups including young people and locals.

Prof. Luis Lage Eduardo from Mondlane University in Mozambique presented on Multi-hazard risk assessment and how the VISUS methodology was implemented in Mozambique while Jair Torres introduced the Massive Open Online Course on Resilient Schools and Disaster Risk Reduction Education.

The Massive Open Online Course on Resilient Schools and Disaster Risk Reduction Education seeks to strengthen the capacity of the education sector and local communities to prepare for, mitigate, respond to, and recover from disasters through disaster risk reduction (DRR) education, school disaster management, and the provision of safe learning facilities. It will strengthen disaster risk management by providing adequate training on school safety planning and implementation in the context of the commitments of the 2030 Agenda and Systemic Risk. It is structured around the comprehensive school safety framework (CSSF), and is divided into eight modules aiming to provide a wide-ranging overview of the challenges and opportunities to ensure resilient schools and DRR education. The course starts in April 2021 and will be completely free of charge. Register here to undertake the course.

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