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THE STAGES OF COMMUNITY-BASED SAFER SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION SECTION III: MOBILISATION The Strategic Planning and Mobilisation Stage Government agencies provide: Where disasters have destroyed schools or shoddy construction is the norm, communities may erroneously believe that hazard-resistant school construction is out of their reach because it is too complex or expensive. This disheartening message needs to be countered. Safer school projects necessarily start with strategic planning. When those embarking on school construction understand the broader context within which they work – including the stakeholders, cultural practices, needs and hazards – they can better plan projects to achieve safer schools and stronger community capacity for disaster risk reduction. Strategic planning happens at various scales. Larger projects often have program managers within development organisations or government agencies who perform strategic planning, and who examine the broad national or regional context. When programs include only a few schools, or even a single school, strategic planning can be localised, focusing more extensively on the unique community context. Even in smaller projects, a basic understanding of the national policy and cultural context is important. Community mobilisation follows strategic planning. Only when communities understand their children are at risk and know how to employ strategies to reduce the risk, will communities be ready to commit their time and resources to safer construction. Some mobilisation activities – such as sensitising communities to hazards and disaster risk reduction – may be carried out simultaneously across an entire region or nation, but also need to be adapted to suit the specific community and school construction project. One of the key activities in this stage includes forming school management committees at the level of implementation for a single school within a village, multiple school sites in a large community or at regional level, or both. In addition, the school can become a platform for broader community learning around disaster risk reduction, as communities: • Learn how to adopt hazard-resistant construction techniques. • Advocate for safety, allowing governments to justify pubic investment in disaster prevention. • Become knowledgeable custodians of safer schools. SECTION III: MOBILISATION • Education sector goals • School construction policies Strategic planning and mobilisation key activities: • • • • Diagnostics Tools identification Raise awareness Form school management committee Local community provides: • Local context • School safety advocates • Local authorities • Other organisations and related activities School management committee Commitment to safer schools Implementing organisation (e.g. NGO, CBO, local authority) provides: • Program manager to facilitate process • Project scope • Funds In the Strategic Planning and Mobilisation Stage, key activities for achieving safer schools include diagnostics, tool identification, raising community awareness and forming a school management committee. Thus, this first stage provides a foundation for building a culture of safety with the community. 34