UNESCO to launch the Visual Inspection for defining the Safety Upgrading Strategies Initiative under the Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project

The UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA), under the Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project will host a launch session to mark the beginning of an initiative on Visual Inspection for defining Safety Upgrading Strategies (VISUS) for Zimbabwe on 4 October 2021.

The Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project (ZIRP)  is a $72 million project that is funded by the World Bank and managed by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). ZIRP is supporting infrastructural development in irrigation schemes, health facilities and schools in the two districts of Chimanimani and Chipinge.

Those invited to participate in the launch session include stakeholders from the relevant line ministries, UN agencies, Non-Governmental Organisations and academia. The launch session will be followed by the conducting of school safety assessments in 14 selected pilot schools in Chipinge and Chimanimani districts. 

As experienced during the recent cyclones that hit Zimbabwe and the Southern Africa region, disasters have a major impact on children, youth and education systems. Studies of disaster trends and the likely consequences of climate change suggest that each year 175 million children are likely to be affected by natural hazard-related disasters alone. UNESCO, through the Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project, is taking steps to improve the safety of educational infrastructure in Zimbabwe, Chimanimani and Chipinge in particular, using a VISUS methodology. 

Developed by UNESCO and the University of Udine’s SPRINT-Lab, VISUS facilitates risk assessments in school facilities and provides fact-based practical information to help decision-makers identify areas of concern and prioritise investments. The methodology which has a strong component on capacity building for decision-makers, technical staff and universities, has been successfully tested in seven countries: 

  • Italy in 2010 (1022 schools were assessed)
  • El Salvador in 2013 (100 schools were assessed)
  • Lao PDR in 2015 (10 schools were assessed)
  • Indonesia between 2015 and 2018 (240 schools were assessed)
  • Peru in 2016 (60 schools were assessed)
  • Haiti in 2017      (101 schools were assessed)
  • Mozambique in 2017 (100 schools were assessed)

Through these pilot projects, more than 11,000 buildings in about 1,700 school complexes were assessed, and most importantly, the safety of more than 500,000 students and education personnel was assessed. 


Register here to attend the launch session that will take place from 9am-10am (GMT+2).