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Case Studies

icon1Stage 1: Prepare

icon2Stage 2: Plan

icon3Stage 3: Design

icon4Stage 4: Construct

icon5Stage 5: Maintain

An overview

Students lead the way

Country: Nepal
Organisation: National NGO
Hazards: Earthquakes

When the NGO’s funding was exhausted and the small building that housed the classroom for first and second graders was yet to be strengthened, a community dug deep. Worried about the safety of the students who would use the classroom, the engineer asked the community to pledge some of their own savings. The first to raise their hand was a fifth grader. That inspired other students, parents, community members, and teachers to pitch in to make sure the building could be strengthened. As a result of the work, both school buildings withstood the 2015 earthquake.

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Trade-offs in post disaster response

Country: Haiti
Organisation: Save the Children
Hazards: Earthquakes, flash floods, high winds

In the complex and shifting situation after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, international humanitarian organisation Save the Children helped provide school buildings to get children off the streets and back into school. Amid conflicting priorities and pressures of time, resource constraints, internal organisational mandates, and relations with the Haiti government, Save the Children made difficult trade-offs of quality, speed, and cost to complete their mission using community-based principles.

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A de-centralised approach to school construction

Country: Indonesia
Organisations: Ministry of Education, Ministry of Public Works,
Ministry of Finance, World Bank
Hazards: Earthquakes, floods, landslides, high winds, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis

Since 1999, Indonesia has been decentralising almost all sectors of its government. As part of giving power to local authorities, the Ministry of Education and Culture gave funding and decision-making power to school management committees, even enlisting them to manage school construction. Although the government is still struggling to provide appropriate funding and technical support, many school communities have already constructed new school buildings or rehabilitated existing buildings.

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Stage 1: Prepare

Fostering demand for safer schools

Country: Nepal
Organisations: National Society for Earthquakes Technology-Nepal (NSET)
Hazards: Earthquakes

Nepal has a history of destructive earthquakes. Until recently, the country has done little to protect its infrastructure and housing. In response, the NSET has started to raise national awareness through safer construction practices. NSET started a public dialogue about the imminent threat of earthquakes, and has offered tools to help the community be more resilient. NSET encourages the community to connect with outside funding sources, so costs are shared. In all projects, NSET works to identify which schools are most likely to scale-up the program in their communities and protect more Nepali children and adults.

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Stage 2: Plan

Rapid visual assessment for strengthening weak schools

Country: El Salvador
Organisations: UNESCO, University of El Salvador, University of Udine, Italy
Hazards: Earthquakes

Rapid visual assessment is the first step before school strengthening programs can begin. In El Salvador, UNESCO and two universities piloted a tablet-based rapid visual assessment tool. The project assessed 100 school buildings in 10 days, and built the capacity of government officials, professionals and engineering and architecture students along the way. For many, the pilot was their introduction to building assessments and the fundamental principles of earthquake-resistant construction.

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School community-based construction

Country: Laos
Organisation: Save the Children, Ministry of Education and Sports
Hazards: High winds, wildfires, floods

In Laos, the Ministry of Education and Sports and Save the Children identified an urgent need. Schools were not able to access information about the safety of school facilities and improve decision-making processes. A Hazard Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (HVCA) was conducted, which allowed sharing of information surrounding disaster risk reduction in schools and communities. As a result, communities were more active and created positive safer school activities and plans around the international day for Disaster Risk Reduction.

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Stage 3: Design

Sustainable design: building from the ground up

Country: Republic of Ghana
Organisations: Sabre Charitable Trust, Arup International Development
Hazards: High winds, earthquakes, extreme temperature

Local building materials and design preferences were introduced into kindergartens in Central and Western Ghana, paying special attention to sustainability principles. Through prolonged research and community interaction, the team from Sabre Charitable Trust and Arup International Development created a design that catered for modern preferences for concrete, alongside local materials, to create safer schools.

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Stage 4: Construct

Training masons to build seismic-resistant schools

Country: India
Organisations: India’s national and state governments, United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank
Hazards: Earthquakes

In 2006, the Uttar Pradesh State Government in India approved a hazard-resistant design for a massive school construction project that aimed to build thousands of schools. At the time, since the schools were remote, there were too few engineers to monitor and inspect all the construction sites. This was a good opportunity to introduce a community approach. The state government trained thousands of communities in safer school construction. By 2007, the state government, in partnership with UNDP and with a loan from the World Bank, constructed almost 7,000 seismically safe schools and 82,000 additional classrooms in Uttar Pradesh.

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Step 5: Maintain

Influencing Comprehensive School Safety

Country: India
Organisations: SEEDS, Nayang Technical University, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Public Works, Temasek Foundation
Hazards: Earthquakes, flash floods, landslides

After witnessing the pattern of earthquakes and other natural hazards, in 1994 SEEDS began working with Indian communities, technical universities and government authorities. The project helped train engineers and masons to strengthen weak schools. SEEDS spent more than a year in each community to work to change the culture of safety as well as increase the safety of school buildings. Newly trained local masons strengthened schools while engineers provided oversight during the process.

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