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Safe Schools Global Programme

Overview

Safe Schools Global Programme

Worldwide, 875 million school children live in high seismic risk zones and hundreds of millions more face regular floods, landslides, extreme winds and fire hazards. Children spend up to 50% of their waking hours in school facilities, yet all too often schools are not constructed or maintained to be disaster resilient meaning children can't access a safe education.

This report shows how Plan International’s Safe Schools Global Programme engages education sector partners – in development and humanitarian contexts alike – to promote schools as a platform for children and youth to grow up safely in resilient communities with their rights respected.

It aims to reach 1,531,000 children across 40 countries by 2017.

Executive Summary

Global challenge

Worldwide, approximately 1.2 billion students are enrolled in primary and secondary school; of these, 875 million school children live in high seismic risk zones and hundreds of millions more face regular floods, landslides, extreme winds and fire hazards. Children spend up to 50% of their waking hours in school facilities, yet all too often schools are not constructed or maintained to be disaster resilient meaning children can't access a safe education. The deaths of children and adults in schools cause irreplaceable losses to families, communities and countries. Millions of children also suffer lifelong injuries and disabilities through disasters.

One of the most significant consequences of both natural and human-induced disasters is the impact they have on children’s education as it is often one of the first activities abandoned when disasters occur. Vulnerabilities to shocks and stresses are exacerbated by new hazards brought on by climate change and environmental degradation, with up to 175 million children likely to be affected every year by climate-related disasters by the end of the decade.

Human-induced hazards are also on the increase with a reported 32 active armed conflicts in 2012. Attacks on educational facilities have increased, with approximately 28 million of the 61 million children out of school in the world currently living in conflict-affected contexts. Human Rights Watch (HRW) estimates that between 2005 and 2012, armed forces and groups have used schools for military purposes in at least 24 countries in conflict. Schools have been converted into detention facilities, weapon depots or barracks.

As the international community continues to negotiate an international post-2015 agenda with renewed international development and humanitarian agreements such as the Millennium Development Goals, the UNISDR’s Hyogo Framework for Action and the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, it is clearer than ever that we live in a multi-risk environment in which children and their communities face frequent obstacles and setbacks to their development.

Plan International’s Safe Schools Global Programme engages education sector partners – in development and humanitarian contexts alike – to promote schools as a platform for children and youth to grow up safely in resilient communities with their rights respected. Climate-Smart, Child-Centred Disaster Risk Reduction (CS-CCDRR) is Plan International’s unique participatory rights-based approach to the global safe school movement and fulfilling the Children´s Charter for Disaster Risk Reduction.

What is the programme?

This Programme is an innovative approach to today’s multirisk environment. The approach reinforces synergies and builds local capacity across three pillars: safe buildings; school disaster management; and safe education in risk reduction and resilience. It does this while linking to national, sub-national and local disaster management and education plans.

The Comprehensive School Safety Framework has been developed and adopted by leading organisations. The programme builds upon this internationally agreed framework and incorporates the principles of Plan International’s rights-based Child Centred Community Development approach.

Safe education for children and their communities

Plan International recognises the importance of transforming schools into centres for knowledge transfer on resilience to natural and human-made shocks and stresses through participatory planning and response. The overall strategic goal of the programme is to showcase the 3-pillared Safe Schools approach and standards in practice. Plan International will utilise evidence-based advocacy, good practice and research to demonstrate that its rights-based approach to safe schooling protects students and education workers, school infrastructure and creates a culture of disaster risk reduction that benefits the community as a whole both today and in future generations.

Five main expected outcomes of the programme

In the 2014-2017 period, Plan International will scale up its Safe Schools Global Programme in terms of depth of interventions, institutionalisation of practice and reaching larger numbers of target schools and communities.

  • A safe education: over 1,531,000 girls and boys will be protected from natural and human-made disasters during school hours. 
    Improved infrastructure is at the heart  of building a culture of safety and keeping children safe while attending school. Nevertheless, equally important is the need to link infrastructure to disaster management within schools and to the education sector as a whole, and ensure teachers and students have a practical understanding of risk reduction.
  • Over 1,531,000 girls and boys will be more capable to confront shocks and stresses through increased knowledge, skills and attitudes on disaster risk reduction and resilience. 
    Plan International’s Child-Centred Community Development approach empowers girls and boys to be active and leading participants in their own development and to become more resilient, thereby contributing to long-term changes that benefit poor and marginalised children. Disaster risk and resilience education as well as conflict-sensitive education are fundamental to ensuring children have the knowledge, skills and attitudes to prepare for and respond to emergencies.
  • Forty national governments will be resourced with comprehensive school safety models and good practice. 
    This programme provides national governments and local authorities with tangible examples of good practice in their own country. Plan International encourages and fully supports the adoption and institutionalisation of tools and resources for comprehensive safe school programming.
  • Cost-efficient guidance for prioritisation of school facilities for technical on-site assessment, and retrofit and replacement schedules will be developed. 
    The economic case for safeguarding investment in education is supported by evidence-based research. Linkages between local programme implementation and opportunities for influencing and advocacy work at different levels is supported.
  • Strengthened global accountability and transparency through enhanced data collection and monitoring and evaluation. 
    The programme adheres to the highest standards of accountability and transparency to ensure all stakeholders are provided with up-to-date, verifiable data on programme implementation. Plan International is committed to continual improvement processes in data collection and monitoring and evaluation for safe schools.