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A community-based approach

Why a community-based approach?

Every year, unsafe schools collapse or are damaged in floods, fires, or natural disasters. As a result, the lives of hundreds of thousands of children are threatened, and their right to a basic quality education is also at risk. School is the one place every child must attend. As a community, we are responsible for creating safer schools for our children.

A community-based approach to safer school construction makes sure schools are resistant to expected hazards and gives communities the chance to learn new skills.

The community-based approach means that communities are involved in creating a safer school, from planning through to design and construction. Communities have a great deal to learn from safer school construction that can help them to become more resilient. Communities can learn to recognise hazards to reduce their risks, and to prepare for and respond to hazard impacts.

Two goals of a community-based approach

  • A safer school
  • A more resilient community

Benefits of a community-based approach:

  • Higher quality builds. Communities can monitor school construction and check that funds are being used appropriately.
  • Community ownership. A sense of community ownership will improve school maintenance after construction is over.
  • Improved local economies. Local workers will have access to jobs and learn new skills.
  • A broader culture of safety. Communities will better understand risks in their homes and neighbourhoods, as well as in schools. They will learn how to adopt safer construction techniques and become advocates for safety for themselves and other communities.

DRR school presented-by a grade 5 student in-Paxeng primary school LAOS  

What is a community-based approach?

When projects have this approach, communities are ideally involved at all stages. They help plan where a school is built and how it is designed. Local builders help construct the school and parents and students volunteer on the construction site. The approach can be changed to meet the needs and capacity of a community.

Ongoing benefits

  • The community becomes caretakers. When a school is built together, they understand how it was built and what makes it safe.
  • Building a school together becomes a learning opportunity. Communities can apply ideas about safer construction to their own homes and to their broader community.

Guiding principles

The community approach is guided by five principles that help make sure its goals are achieved. Learn about the five principles

The community-based approach and broader safety initiatives

The approach advances Comprehensive School Safety (CSS)

The approach supports the implementation of the Worldwide Initiative for School Safety (WISS)


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