The Young Disaster Resilience Leaders (yDRL) is a pilot program that we carried out with Tulane University’s Disaster Resilience Leadership (DRL) program at the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy and Makerere University’s School of Public Health. The project’s mission is to reduce disaster risk in communities while building a network of young disaster resilience leaders. PCCP reached out to DRLA and requested that a DRL program specifically for children and youth be implemented. As the program is designed, the children and youth are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to address local disaster resilience issues. The program also has a goal to help promote an open dialogue between residents and community leaders. Ultimately yDRL hopes to be part of a mechanism for creating future disaster resilience leaders.
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The program’s curriculum is is built upon work that Tulane University’s Disaster Resilience Leadership (DRL) program which they have successfully carried out in the Caribbean, Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia. In Kampala, working with our team at PCCP we the targeted 18 children/youth.
We began by sharing stories that presented both disaster situations and resilience. We also engaged them to gain a better understanding of what they understood about their community and about the risks affecting their community and family as well as their understanding about how people and the environment interact and impact each other. We took them on a short walk around the immediate school neighbourhood, where they mapped key buildings, landmarks, and geographical features as well as potential hazards and those resources that help make the community stronger. We then worked with the children and youth to map out their community with paper, markers, crayons and other recycled materials.
Once the hazards were mapped, we discussed which of these threats to address. They identified twelve action points they wanted to tackle. After discussing which of these should be prioritized, they agreed that areas of concern included community safety and public health. Specifically, each participant created an action plan. And then they worked in groups to prioritize the action plans and came up with 3: cleaning a trench, establishing a police station, and working with a neighbouring school to fix an electrical wire and fill a waste pit. They then presented their findings to community leaders to inform them and to promote action taking to counter these hazards.
We feel that the yDRL program is helping these children and youth form PCCP to establish themselves as leaders in disaster resilience right here in our community.
You can learn more about the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy at http://www.drlatulane.org.