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Publications and Tools

icon1Stage 1: Prepare

icon2Stage 2: Plan

icon3Stage 3: Design

icon4Stage 4: Construct

icon5Stage 5: Maintain


Stage 1: Prepare

Comprehensive School Safety Framework

Download the Comprehensive School Safety Framework

English 4.09 MB | Nepal PDF? | Spanish PDF 4.09 MB | French PDF 4.09 MB | Arabic PDF 4.09 MB


Towards Safer School Construction: a community-based approach

A guide for individuals and program managers involved in school construction. The guide is particularly useful when communities will be taking part in school construction, when local construction is not disaster-resistant, or when schools are being reconstructed after a disaster.
Download the guide [5.53MB]

Safer Schools, Resilient Communities: a comparative assessment of school safety after the 2015 Nepal Earthquakes

Paci-Green R, Pandey B, Friedman R. 2015. Post-earthquake comparative assessment of school reconstruction and social impacts in Nepal. Risk RED.
Download the assessment [PDF 3.17MB]

Global Alliance for Disaster Risk Reduction & Resilience in the Education Sector (GADRRRES)

The Global Alliance seeks to strengthen global coordination, increase knowledge, and advocate for risk reduction education and safety in the education sector. It promotes the Comprehensive School Safety Framework. Go to GADRRRES (external site).


Worldwide Initiative for Safer Schools (WISS)

Announced at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, the initiative encourages governments to be Safe School Leaders and announce their political and financial commitment to safer schools. Go to WISS (external site).


Global School Safety Collaborative Platform

This platform monitors activity related to Comprehensive School Safety. It aggregates data on hazards and school facilities, with descriptions of safer school projects and programs. It provides statistics and maps at the country, region, and global scale. Go to the School Safety Collaborative Platform (external site).


ASEAN Common Framework for School Safety

This operationalization of this framework in 10 ASEAN nations is aimed to create a safe and secure learning environment for children. This framework comes with a roll-out manual for its operationalization.
Read the Framework (external site).

PreventionWeb Education and School Safety Materials

PreventionWeb, a project of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), is a web platform for the disaster risk reduction community. Under Themes, the Education and School Safety section has a searchable database of hundreds of news, documents, and tools. Individuals may also submit new material. Go to PreventionWeb (external site).


Communicating Building for Safety

Conveying messages about hazards and safe school construction can sometimes create more confusion than clarity. This book provides good tips for getting safety concepts across in low-literacy contexts and examples of miscommunications.

Dudley, E., Haaland, A. (1993). Communicating Building for Safety: Guidelines for Methods of Communicating Technical Information to Local Builders and Householders. London: Intermediate Technology Publications.

Read online (external site).


Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030

The Framework aims to substantially reduce disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries over the next 15 years. This framework is the successor to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA). Target 4 supports the sustainable reduction of disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, which includes educational facilities. Priority 4 focuses on “enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to ‘Build Back Better’ in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction”.
Download the Sendai Framework (PDF 1MB)


FEMA P-1000, Safer, Stronger, Smarter: A Guide to Improving School Natural Hazard Safety (2017)

This Guide provides up-to-date, authoritative information and guidance that schools can use to develop a comprehensive strategy for addressing natural hazards. It is intended to be used by administrators, facilities managers, emergency managers, emergency planning committees, and teachers and staff at K through 12 schools. It can also be valuable for state officials, district administrators, school boards, teacher union leaders, and others that play a role in providing safe and disaster-resistant schools for all. Parents, caregivers, and students can also use this Guide to learn about ways to advocate for safe schools in their communities.


Stage 2: Plan

A Guide to School Vulnerability Assessment: Key Principles for Safe Schools

This guide explains how to form vulnerability assessment teams, assess schools, and rank risks, and is compiled by the United States Department of Education. Download the guide (external site)


The Vulnerability and Capacity Toolbox (VCA)

The VCA toolbox provides guidance and strategies for engaging volunteers and communities in vulnerability and capacity assessments. Participatory hazard mapping is one tool included in this guide that is particularly important for communities planning safer school construction projects. Download the Vulnerability and Capacity Toolbox (PDF 5.2 MB)


Participatory Vulnerability Analysis

This document provides field practitioners with step-by-step guidance on how to assess vulnerability. It has a particular focus on how to link development and emergencies, and how to use local analysis to influence national policy. Download the Participatory Vulnerability Analysis (PDF 193 KB)


School Construction Strategies for Universal Primary Education in Africa: Should Communities be Empowered to Build Their Own Schools?

This book examines the scope of the infrastructure challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa and the constraints to scaling up at an affordable cost. It assesses the experiences of school planning, school facility designs, construction technologies, and construction management in African countries over the past 30 years. It also draws lessons from approaches that could enable African countries to scale up the facilities required to achieve the ‘Education for All’ goals and the ‘Millennium Development’ goals to complete quality primary education for all children at the lowest marginal cost. Download the School Construction Strategies (PDF 3.3 MB)


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Stage 3: Design

Guidance Notes on Safer School Construction

These guidance notes provide process guidelines and design principles for hazard-resistant school construction. Many aspects are relevant to community-based approaches. Download the Guidance Notes on Safer School Construction (external site)


Compendia on Transitional Learning Spaces, 2011 and 2013

The 2011 and 2013 Compendia on Transitional Learning Spaces provide on-site selection and building layout choices based on safety and child-friendly design principles. Many of these site selection, design and construction choices are also applicable to permanent school construction. Case studies provide architectural drawings and details about cost, materials, and implementation at more than 20 sites affected by natural hazards and conflict. Download the Compendia on Transitional Learning Spaces 2011 (PDF 14.1 MB)

Download the Compendium: Transitional Learning Spaces (TLS) – Resilient Design and Construction in Emergencies 2013 (external site)


Guidelines for Earthquake Resistant Non-Engineered Construction

This guidance document provides technical details for designing and constructing un-engineered buildings. These are buildings that are spontaneously and informally constructed with little or no intervention by qualified architects and engineers in their design. Download the Guidelines for Earthquake Resistant Non-Engineered Construction (PDF 2.6 MB)


Reducing Vulnerability of School Children to Earthquakes

This document explores the use of community approaches to safer schools as a tool for community and regional development. It includes many case studies of projects that constructed safer schools that built local risk awareness and capacity. Download Reducing Vulnerability of School Children to Earthquakes (PDF 5.5 MB)


Design Guide for Improving School Safety in Earthquakes, Floods, and High Winds

This document provides an overview of how school buildings can be designed to withstand hazards. Download the Design Guide (external site)



Stage 4: Construct

How-To Guide for Managing Post-Disaster (Re)-Construction Projects

This 2013 guide provides detailed advice and successful examples of owner-driven and contractor-built construction using a community-based approach. For each type of construction, the guide covers important topics such as procurement, tendering, scheduling, construction monitoring, payment procedures, project completion and required staff for successful construction projects. Download the How-To Guide (external link)


Safer Homes, Stronger Communities: A Handbook for Reconstructing Housing and Communities after Natural Disasters

Although focused on post-disaster housing reconstruction, this document offers an overview on project governance and accountability action plans. Such plans can support transparency and reduce corruption in large-scale construction projects. Download the handbook (PDF 18.3 MB)


Construction and Maintenance of Masonry Houses for Masons and Craftsmen

In an easy-to-understand cartoon format, this manual provides guidance on confined masonry.
Download the manual (PDF 4 MB)



Earthquake-Resistant Construction of Adobe Buildings: A Tutorial

Adobe mud blocks are one of the oldest and most widely-used building materials. They are very low-cost and construction material is readily available. Thus, they will continue to be built in high-risk seismic areas. This tutorial contains a guide on how to build and strengthening existing adobe buildings against seismic activity. Download the tutorial (PDF 745 KB)



Stage 5: Maintain

School Disaster Risk Management Guidelines for South East Asia

The guidelines are aimed to support school-based risk assessment and planning, educational continuity planning and development of response skills (such as temporary and locally built learning facilities). These guide teachers and students 5 steps to achieving comprehensive school safety: 1) know your risks, 2) plan for safety and educational continuity, 3) implement you plan, 4) monitor and evaluate your plan and 5) share, reach out, and advocate. They also recommend associated tools for each step. Read the Framework (external site).

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