UNESCO to present report on School Safety Assessments conducted in Chimanimani

The UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa will on 16 December 2021 present the findings of the Visual Inspection for defining the Safety Upgrading Strategies (VISUS) for School Safety Assessment that was conducted in Chimanimani district (Zimbabwe) from 4 to 8 October 2021. This was implemented under the World Bank-funded Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project (ZIRP), managed by UNOPS and in support of the UNOPS Community Infrastructure Project of the ZIRP.

The assessments were conducted by a team of international experts, in collaboration with local experts from the University of Zimbabwe. In total 15 primary and secondary schools and staff quarters from Chimanimani district were assessed.

The webinar seeks not only to present the findings but also to find ways to upscale the assessments to other districts that are prone to the recurrent disasters. To discuss upscaling options in Zimbabwe, representatives have been invited to the webinar from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Schools, Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities, Department of Civil Protection, Education Cluster, UN agencies and NGOs, among others.

The VISUS methodology that has been piloted in Chimanimani and Chipinge helps assess schools using a holistic, multi-hazard approach that considers five aspects: site conditions, structural performance, local structural criticalities, non-structural components, and functional aspects. VISUS is used as an effective decision making tool for planning risk mitigation actions at the regional scale, yet remains grounded in local contexts and needs. The methodology also assists in making investments decisions to strengthen the safety of schools efficiently and economically. The methodology has been piloted in more than 8 countries worldwide with Zimbabwe being the second country in Southern Africa after Mozambique to have the assessments.

This initiative is part of the World Bank-funded Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project, and in support of the UNOPS Community Infrastructure Project of the ZIRP. The ZIRP Project is a unique partnership between the World Bank, UNOPS and the UN to address the early and medium-term resilient disaster recovery needs of Cyclone Idai-affected communities in Zimbabwe.