MRCS equips pupils in disaster risk reduction and climate change in Nsanje

Nsanje, Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) says investment in climate change education including disaster risk reduction, can change human perceptions and pattern of behaviour to reduce the risks and costs of disasters.

Nsanje MRCS District Coordinator, Patricia Gadi, made the sentiments Saturday during training that her institution organised for some primary school pupils in Nsanje on climate change and disaster risk reduction.

The training aimed at raising awareness in communities and schools with funding from Flemish Government through Belgium Red Cross Society.

Gadi said schools can implement school-disaster management involving students, teachers and community members in practicing early warning, simulation drills and evacuation for expected and recurring disasters as preparedness.

Everyone is threatened by climate change including the education sector. For instance, when a disaster strikes, everyone in that community is affected in one way or the other.

However, it has shown that the education sector offers an untapped opportunity to reduce disaster risks and combat climate change.

There is need to have a clear education agenda in adopting strategies to deal with global warming.

Such strategies include learning new knowledge and skills and changing behaviour to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through sustainable consumption patterns in lifestyles, livelihoods, economies, and social structures, Gadi said.

She added that if pupils are involved in climate change and disaster risk reduction trainings, the country’s future will look bright since children are agents of change who can easily disseminate the messages to their fellow children, parents and entire communities.

She further explained learners are effective risk communicators and catalysts for behaviour change among parents and other community members outside the classroom, hence the need to use them as vehicles of messages to the community they are coming from.

Learners have a critical role to play as they are considered as one of the best and most cost-effective ways of ensuring that communities are better able to adapt and thus become less vulnerable to disaster issues and climate change, said Gadi.

The MRCS district coordinator, therefore, urged stakeholders in the country, especially in Nsanje District, to involve pupils as much as possible, in disaster-risk reduction and climate change trainings to reduce disaster risk before it strikes and to adapt to climate change.

In an interview, one of the trainers, Sherif Malunga said pupils are very crucial in reducing disaster risks if they are provided with training on the same.

MRCS has initiated this training aimed at building the awareness of children and their communities in disaster risk reduction and climate change and to empower them to be active participants in adaptation efforts, said Malunga.

Primary schools that have benefitted from the training include Matundu, Kanjedza, Makoka and Kagunje in Traditional Authority Chimombo in the district which is MRCS’s catchment area for the project.

The school children will be disseminating messages through drama, poetry, press conferences, debates and quiz competitions.

Source: MANA Online