Safe Educational Facilities
UNESCO is truly engaged in empowering schools and their communities in the identification of the hazards and risks they are the most exposed to, their vulnerabilities and their capacity to manage them, by actively participating in the ongoing activities of the Global Alliance for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience in the Education Sector, a network regrouping major UN agencies and NGOs. The Alliance promotes a comprehensive approach to DRR education based on education policy, plans and programmes that are aligned with disaster management at national, regional, district and local school site levels.
A comprehensive education sector safety contains three overlapping areas of focus: Safe School Facilities, School Disaster Management and Disaster Prevention Education. Each of these involves a significantly different (though sometimes overlapping) set of decision-makers, developers, stakeholders and implementers as well as indicators, activities and actors responsible for implementation. Enveloping these three pillars are education policies and plans at the government level, ideally undertaking systematic analysis of threats to school and system safety and developing policy and plans that address each of these three areas.
UNESCO is currently working in partnership with the Safety and Protection Intersectoral Laboratory (SPRINT) of the University of Udine (Italy) to enhance school safety and develop a methodology (VISUS), and related tools for risk mitigation, including a mobile application. The partners have developed a school assessment methodology (VISUS) which serves as resource for policy makers to decide where to focus their risk reduction efforts and interventions.
This project is part of the World Map of UNESCO's Point of Interest (POI) initiative.
Pilot Project in El Salvador
The pilot project was launched in August 2013 and implemented in February 2014 at the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture at the University of El Salvador, in San Salvador. It aims to promote school community engagement in decision‐making processes concerning safe educational facilities in disaster‐prone areas of El Salvador, through school facilities assessment and OpenStreetMap sourcing. The pilot project will contribute to establishing a geo‐spatial inventory of schools to El Salvador National Authorities in order to:
- Protect children and education workers from death and injury in schools
- Plan educational strategies in the face of expected hazards
- Safeguard education sector investments
- Strengthen a disaster resilient citizenry through education and capacity building
The cross-cutting pilot project involved different sectors of UNESCO (Science, Education and Communication and Information), the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources and the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture of the University of El Salvador.