45179_towardssaferschoolconstruction_0 2015 - Page 50

Key considerations for the Strategic Planning and Community Mobilisation Stage What capacity does the community already have to construct a safe school building? Safer school construction requires technical knowledge and a skill set that may not be available in the community where professionals may be scarce. Creating connections between communities and appropriate experts builds trust needed in later stages. Safety What is the community stakeholders’ capacity to absorb and understand hazard and safer construction messages? Communities may be unfamiliar with hazards and safer construction. Few people need to know the details, but everyone benefits from a better understanding of key concepts. Mobilisation efforts should focus on raising awareness in culturally accessible ways. In low literacy contexts, skits, cartoons, announcements and other strategies may be useful. But care should be taken to field-test communication approaches to avoid misinterpretation. SECTION III: MOBILISATION Will the project leave knowledge, skills or technology that can have a long-term impact on safer construction and community resilience? Capacity building Risk communication alone is not enough to create safe construction practices in the community. When school construction is over, knowledge is the resource that remains in the form of skills and active school management committees. The mobilisation process should lay groundwork for building these skills and for ongoing community involvement in comprehensive school safety. What support will the community need to perform their role in the community-based project? Communities may not be initially capable of project management. If the project involves the school community as a key partner or as the sole manager of the project, they need detailed training and tools. Identifying and adapting tools for raising awareness, construction training, supervision and management is essential. What is the broad socio-cultural and physical environment in which the safer school construction program will be implemented? Good programming starts with due diligence. Conducting diagnostic analysis on the hazards, the education sector, construction practices and stakeholders provides a solid foundation for any safer schools program. It allows program managers to build on existing processes and strengthen the long-term sustainability of a culture of safety within and beyond the education sector. Has the community established their priorities around education? Socio-cultural In many rural communities, people are concerned about education and they are happy just to get extra classrooms or school buildings, no matter how they are built. They may have concern that any additional cost incurred for safer construction may prevent school construction altogether. Ongoing engagement during mobilisation and later stages can help them value safety and understand what steps are possible, even with little or no cost. How does the community perceive hazards? Communities naturally focus on more frequent disasters, which need immediate action. During community mobilisation, risk-awareness activities should highlight less frequent but potentially more devastating hazards. Increasing community awareness about hazards needs to be coupled with raising awareness about effective and culturally appropriate risk-reduction strategies. 41