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• Begin dialogue between community and experts. Dialogue between the school community and those with knowledge about hazards and hazard-resistant construction practices can ensure the school building is safe and responsive to community needs. Hosting public seminars, mass meetings or round table discussions are good ways to begin this long-term dialogue. Hazard specialists, such as hydrologists, meteorologists and seismologists should talk with communities about hazards in their region. Engineers, architects and contractors can explain how buildings can be constructed safely. SECTION III: MOBILISATION This early engagement helps build trust and provide a solid foundation for the Planning Stage, but only if done with respect. While experts may have important technical knowledge and more education than community members, experts need to be receptive to important local knowledge and be able to draw this out. An authoritative attitude alienates rather than builds dialogue. Key activity 4: Activating, re-activating or forming a school management committee Stakeholders in community-based safe school construction need to collaborate with each other through an engagement framework that clearly defines roles and responsibilities. Without such a framework of responsibilities, programs may stall or key activities may be overlooked. The framework also formalises the commitment to community empowerment inherent in a community-based approach. Education systems frequently have a foundation for supporting safer schools framework in their existing school-based management system. Program managers should identify or establish a school management committee, which may choose to establish a broader sub-committee for school construction oversight. In ideal contexts, education authorities will have included responsibility for safer school construction in terms of reference for a school management committee. The committee overseeing safer school construction should widely represent key stakeholder groups, including education staff, parentteacher associations, youth, community leaders, civil society organisations, project financers, elected leaders and local emergency response authorities. Where conflict or social marginalisation is present, program managers need to take care to include representatives from marginalised groups – for example, women, religious minorities, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities – and create environments where they can feel safe to contribute. An orientation on safe school construction creates dialogue between hazard and building specialists and school community stakeholders in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Photo: Bishnu Pandey. Models of traditional structures with and without hazard-resistant construction show remarkably different behaviour when shaken on a simple shake table during a community demonstration in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo: Bishnu Pandey. 39 Rather than merely being informed or consulted, the school management committee should ideally be the primary decision-making body on safer school construction projects, often in collaboration with the program manager. The committee may make key decisions about the school site and design, and they may have key responsibilities in maintenance and construction oversight. The committee should understand their decision-making should be in line with a commitment to safer schools, even though the ultimate responsibility of ensuring such outcomes rests with the implementing actor.