UNESCO and UNICEF co-organize a Training Workshop on Educational Planning for Disaster Risk Reduction in Tehran

29 November 2018

UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office, UNICEF Iran, the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO (NatCom), and the Ministry of Education (MoE) have partnered together to organize the training workshop on Educational Planning for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) from 26 to 29 November 2018 at Bashgah-e-Farhangian in Tehran.

The training builds on the Government of Iran’s efforts to improve its response capacity to natural disasters. More concretely, the workshop will feature practical and participatory sessions on analysing risk of natural disasters in the education sector and development of programmes to reduce risks; costing and financing of these programmes; and identification of relevant indicators in order to monitor progress towards the objectives.

At the opening ceremony, Dr. Maryam Soltanzadeh, Officer-in-Charge of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office outlined the workshop’s main objective to serve as a platform for sharing experiences and learning from successful practices of other countries. “the dialogue between provincial and Central actors with regards to past experiences could create an opportunity for new collaborations, development of effective programmes at local level, and mutual understanding of complexities and challenges of work in the provinces as well as in the central ministry” highlighted, Dr. Soltanzadeh.

Dr. Hojatollah Ayoubi, Secretary-General of the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO, likewise underlined the importance of dissemination of updated information and good practices. NatCom Secretary-General mentioned that UNESCO is well-known as a non-politicized intellectual organization with purely educational, scientific and cultural mandates.

Dr. Will Parks, UNICEF Representative briefed the audience on UNICEF’s work to deliver uninterrupted learning for every child affected by crises. “We work to provide learning spaces that are safe, available, suitable for children and equipped with water and sanitation facilities. We work to make sure that while in school, children can learn, despite their circumstances. We provide teachers with training and learning materials. We help children develop skills to deal with disaster as well as reduce risk exposure.  We work with teachers, parents and the community to assure that children get the care and love they need in these circumstances. We work with governments to include disaster risk reduction programmes in their planning.” highlighted Dr. Parks. 

Dr. Hamidi, deputy of Physical Education and Health Affairs of the Ministry of Education expressed hope that the workshop participants would pass along what they learn to their colleagues, and quoted Dr. Ayoubi on the importance of generosity with dissemination of knowledge. Dr. Jafari, the Research and Education Deputy of Natural Disasters Research Institute of Iran stressed on the importance of education not only as a preventing factor, but also as contributor to the response mechanism and reduction of recovery time at the time of disaster.

The event brings together about forty officials from the Ministry of education in Tehran and nine provinces on Iran that are most at risk of earthquake, flood, and sandstorms. Two experts from the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) will facilitate the sessions with the assistance of national facilitators.

In addition, the third day of the programme will involve a visit to a retrofitted school in Karaj to attend the 20th National Community-led and Community-driven Earthquake and Safety Drill. The initiative aims to strengthen disaster risk reduction awareness and preparedness. Since 2015, the drill is performed at the community level, mobilizing citizens living in the vicinity of schools to join the drill. In this process, schools transform into local crisis management centres when disaster strikes. The initiative is conducted annually by, IIEES-the International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Seismology (more information here) and supported by UNESCO. IIEES was established in 1989 following the recommendation of the 24th UNESCO General Conference and has played an effective role in strengthening formal and informal education on disaster risk reduction in Iran and the region.

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