Building Capacities to Implement Non-structural Mitigation (NSM) in Schools

Building Capacities to Implement Non-structural Mitigation (NSM) in Schools

OUR AREA OF CONCERN

Bhutan lies in a high seismic zone in the Himalayas making it vulnerable to earthquakes. Majority of schools in Bhutan lie close to mountains, slopes and rivers which makes the infrastructures prone to risk of secondary hazards such as landslides, debris fall and floods. While structural safety is a priority and the use of safe designs are a long-term goal for the country, making existing structures safe is very important.

HOW ARE WE HELPING?

Under the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Preparedness theme, the “Building Capacities to Implement Non-structural Mitigation (NSM) in Schools” project with financial and technical support from Save the Children US was implemented in Zhemgang district as a pilot.

In Phase I of the NSM project, Save the Children Bhutan achieved the following;

  • Offered a comprehensive training on disaster risk management, NSM manual and NSM toolbox for 53 Zhemgang school principals and disaster focal teachers in February 2019 in collaboration with Ministry of Education, Department of Disaster Management and the Zhemgang District Education Office.
  • Procured, assembled and disseminated NSM tool kits to all 28 schools in Zhemgang district.
  • Worked with local Civil Society Organization (CSO) partner, Bhutan Toilet Organization (BTO), to carry out a comprehensive WASH assessment in the 8 pilot schools and 2 ECCD centers. Based on this assessment and priority actions in the school/ECCD center disaster management plans, SC-Bhutan, BTO and Zhemgang district administration implemented over 20 priority mitigation actions with the support of the school/ ECCD center management, parents and the local community. The mitigation actions covered the construction/rehabilitation of over 100 schools and ECCD centre latrines and hand washing facilities.

Phase II of the NSM project was funded by Hau’oli Mau Loa Foundation (HML) with technical support from Save the Children US. Save the Children worked with the Ministry of Education (MoE), Department of Disaster Management (DDM) and Zhemgang District Education Office, and achieved the following goals of:

  • Further strengthening of safe learning environment in schools in Zhemgang district through retrofitting of 5 school computer labs for increased safety and disaster resilience. The retrofitting actions included the mitigation of falling hazards, upgradation of electrification systems, enhancement of internet and power back up facilities, installation of cooling systems, lightening arrestors and safe and sturdy furniture, fitting of interactive white boards, rearranging lab set up to facilitate the “drop cover and hold” action and space for evacuation, and orientation of the lab staff on key disaster risk reduction, safety and preparedness messages.
  • Enhancing MoE’s capacities for monitoring of mitigation and preparedness measures implemented at 5 pilot schools through GIS/Google Earth technology. The five schools, beginning from the 2020 academic year, will use the Google Earth platform to update their school disaster management maps for submission to the Zhemgang district education office and onwards to the Disaster Management unit in MoE.

6558 children and 770 adults benefitted from the Non-Structural Mitigation Project.

Emergency Preparedness Plan

OUR AREA OF CONCERN

Earthquakes, Floods and Windstorms are key humanitarian risks identified by the Bhutan Office during the EPP workshop led by ARO and Nepal Country Office.

HOW ARE WE HELPING?

  1. To make sure that affected children and their families receive timely, appropriate and effective assistance at times of humanitarian crises Save the Children systematically strengthens preparedness and response capacities.
  2. Save the Children developed its Emergency Preparedness Plan (EPP) which was endorsed by Save the Children Nepal and Asia Regional Office (ARO).

Save the Children also identified and facilitated the institutionalization of two response priorities –

  • Education in Emergencies (EiE) to support the establishment and functioning of safe and child friendly temporary learning spaces, emergency teaching and learning materials, school kits, teacher training and support, support to parents, collaborate with other themes to provide other key interventions such as WASH, Nutrition, Health and so on. Through a stockpiling project, Save the Children prepared 10 ECCD kits, 10 Basic Education kits, 50 WASH kits and 15 Recreation kits.
  • Child Protection in Emergencies to provide psychological first-aid, support separated children, family tracing and reunification services.
  • Save the Children Bhutan was pro-active in COVID-19 mitigation actions in Bhutan to ensure our children are save and Protected. We were able to ensure 153,740 students continue their education through remote learning assisted by televised academic lessons during their school closure due to COVID 19 Crisis.