The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) has engaged education authorities in mainstreaming disaster risk management (DRM) programmes in schools.
Officials from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST), Malawi Institute of Education (MIE)and DoDMA have converged in Blantyre to develop plans on how to mainstream DRM programmes in schools as one way of ensuring that pupils are equipped with knowledge and skills in DRM, so that they take active role in reducing disaster risks and build resilience of their communities to disasters.
DoDMA’s Chief Mitigation Officer Dr. Stern Kita said that the importance of mainstreaming DRM in schools cannot be overemphasized.
“We developed the DRM source book for primary schools and we are finalizing the development of a source book for secondary schools with an aim of mainstreaming DRM in schools.
“We are continuing the process of working with education authorities and school structures in mainstreaming disaster risk management issues as part of the curriculum. Learners have the capacity to assist us in building resilience of their schools and communities,” said Kita.
The developed plans primarily aim at establishing DRM School Clubs in 9 local authorities of Chikwawa, Nsanje, Phalombe, Mulanje, Zomba, Machinga, Balaka district councils; Lilongwe and Mzuzu City Councils. The clubs will be expected to implement small scale activities aimed at building the resilience of the schools and communities.
Inspector of Schools and Colleges in the Directorate of Inspection and Advisory Services in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Jennings Kayira hailed DoDMA for taking an initiative to establish DRM school clubs in both primary and secondary schools.
“The frequency at which disasters are affecting schools is alarming. Equipping leaners with knowledge and skills on risk reduction, preparedness and mitigation is of paramount importance,” said Kayira.
The officials, who also reviewed DRM social marketing tools during the four-day meeting, undertook a learning visit to Mfera, Mkuzi and Limphangwi where the Malawi Red Cross Society is working with school clubs in building resilience of schools and communities to disasters.
The engagement of education authorities, such as District Education Managers, Primary Education Advisors and Inspector of Schools, has been made possible with funding from the United Nations Development Programme, under the Disaster Risk Management for Resilience (DRM4R) project.
The project, which is being implemented in seven districts and two city councils in the country, seeks to build resilience to hazards for women, youths, vulnerable groups and communities in disaster-prone rural and urban areas, and ensure that they are benefiting from integrated interventions in risk knowledge, risk governance, risk reduction, disaster preparedness, response and recovery.