By Eddiema Conteh
The National Disaster Management Agency has launched two important products, namely; the teaching guide for Disaster Risk Reduction Management for basic education system and Climate Information, Disaster Management and Early Warning (CIDMEW).
Resident Representative UNDP, Tanzila Watta Sankoh said, both products are as a result of long-time collaborative effort with the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA). “These two products are very important for knowledge management and disaster prevention, mitigation, response and recovery,” he said. He furthered that in the recent past, UNDP collaborated with the Disaster Management Department at the office Of National Security (ONS) by supporting the development of key strategic documents like the review of the National Hazard Profile and the first draft of the National Disaster Management Policy for disaster management. He maintained that when disasters occur children are mostly vulnerable because they lack the knowledge and skills that would protect them from such disasters. He added the frequency of natural hazards and the level of damages caused are significant contributions in establishing a culture of prevention. “The need to increase awareness among children in schools is vital in disaster prevention and management and the teaching guide will facilitate the provision of valuable information on natural hazards, disaster and reduction of associated risk amongst students and families,” Sanoh ended.
Director General National Disaster Management Agency, Lt Gen (Rtd) Brima Sesay (GCOR) said that the first product is the development of teaching guide on disaster risk reduction for primary schools and next is the development of the Climate Information Disaster Management and Early Warning (CIDMEW) that is used as a bed rock for the multi hazard Early Warning System for the country. “We must be reminded that every child has the rights to safety and survival at school, as well as the rights to have quality and sustainable elementary education,” Sesay said. He added that the rights are often disrupted due to natural disaster and dangers related to technology that result in big and small disaster. Sesay also said “Disaster, be the big, medium, or small in scale, can impact the safety of children and education. When education is disturbed, a child’s education may be disconnected. In several cases it is forever, which imposes permanent negative impacts economically and socially, on the child, the family, and the community.”
Deputy Minister one, Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Emily Kadiatu Gogra while applauding the venture said, “we are here again, after a tedious venture to see that something on disaster management is designed for our children in schools and today, the teaching and learning guide is finally launched for school disaster risk reduction in Sierra Leone, and this is going to happen in all of our schools,’’ she said. Gogra emphasized that Minister Sengeh, herself, and the rest of the team have worked assiduously with partners to develop the radical inclusion policy, the school safety protocols, so that their schools are been placed in proper locations and geographical locations that no disaster will ever happen noting that disaster is a natural occurrence. ‘’We also have the teacher code of conducts, the act of school children study implementation, and strategies also for school related gender base guidelines, the school’s referral protocols and learning guidelines, these are all disasters we try to manage and try to make some policies and implementations in order to put things in a proper way. He ended reiterating their commitment as a team to implement the teaching and learning material, in schools noting that “principals and teachers are not going to put them in the cupboards, we are going to ensure that we use them in our schools.”