Child-Centred Disaster Risk Reduction
Project Evaluation and Learning
In 2010, Plan implemented a two-year child-centred disaster risk reduction programme in eastern Nepal with the support of Plan Ireland and Irish Aid under a Humanitarian Partnership Programme grant. The objective of the program was to build the capacity of both government bodies and local communities, including children, to better respond to, prevent, and mitigate the impacts of disasters. Embracing the principles of the Hyogo Framework of Action (2005-2015) and the National Strategy of Disaster Risk Management of the government of Nepal, the project was piloted with the help of Plan's local partner, Human Development and Environment Protection Forum, in three village development committees in Sunsari District.
The results of the initiative are profoundly positive. Children and communities are far more confident about their ability to respond to all stages of disasters and are far better prepared to do so. Communities have prepared development plans which include provisions for responding to disasters keeping children at the centre. Resource persons have been groomed; people have been empowered to speak their minds and demand resources to meet their needs associated with disasters. In particular, the project has assisted in developing the skills that people need in all stages of a disaster. Such capacity-building has rendered community people more confident in their own abilities and more assertive in demanding support from various agencies. Most importantly, children have realized that they have a unique capacity for reducing the risk related to disasters and can serve as agents of change. Children's voices are reflected in local plans and prepared to mitigate the effects of disasters. Local institutions active in communities have been inclusive in their incorporation of disaster risk reduction components designed to reduce vulnerability in their regular plans and programmes: no group, not women or Dalits or children or the disabled, are left out.
The experience of the project is that children are often the most vulnerable to and adversely impacted by disaster but also that they can play a crucial role in changing people's attitudes toward and behavior in anticipation of disaster. The four prongs of Plan's approach--preparedness, capacity-building, mitigation and prevention—saw the potential of children and youths put to full use. The project's aims tallied with Plan's mission as well as with those of the national government and the international community. It was a fruitful two years in building confidence in and capacity for addressing disasters.