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Key considerations for the Community Planning Stage Early decisions about project scope, site and materials require dialogue between funders, school management committees, local tradespeople and external experts with knowledge of hazard-resistant construction practices. Forming a joint fact-finding group to assess needs and determine feasibility can help identify key constraints in a project and ensure these constraints are addressed in an implementation plan that maximises the safety and functionality of the finished school building. Is the site safe from natural hazards or will these hazards be addressed through design, construction and school emergency management procedures? Will students be able to travel safely between home and school? A hazard assessment is a crucial part of any safer school construction or retrofit project. These assessments are best when they are done through a participatory process that elicits community knowledge of local hazards and external knowledge of regional and infrequent hazards and climate change. Communities can identify and suggest solutions for dangers that arise from conflict, during transit to and from school and frequent environmental hazards. Safety What adaptations may be needed to make existing construction practices hazard-resistant? Local construction practices may not include important hazard-resistant features, especially for hazards that occur infrequently or are changing in nature. Even if hazard-resistant techniques are present in traditional and vernacular architecture, resource depletion, shifts in material availability, migration and government policies can inadvertently result in the use of new materials without incorporating hazard-resistant techniques. Choosing the right material should be a consideration of cost, safety and long-term maintenance. The lowest-cost material able to achieve safety and other performance objectives may be the best choice. However, if this material will degrade quickly or require maintenance the community cannot do, the long-term cost may outweigh any immediate cost savings. Does the community need support or training to plan the safer school construction or retrofit project? Capacity building SECTION III: PLANNING What local materials will ensure safety while also being cost-efficient and easy for communities to maintain after construction? When school management committees take a lead role in project planning, they may need support or training in facilitation, development and use of criteria in decision-making processes, and in the integration of local and external knowledge. Teaching them planning tools such as SWOT analysis, criteria checklists and hazard mapping can help. What new knowledge and training do communities need to begin hazard-resistant school construction? Skilled and unskilled labour need training in new construction techniques. They need to be provided with opportunities to practise these new techniques under close supervision. The greater the difference between current practice and the new technique, the more training and support they will need. Is the proposed project feasible within the funding, time, resource and capacity constraints of the community and other stakeholders? Sustainability In a community-based approach, planning is a community-wide activity. The process should seek broad community input about community needs, hazards and local capacity, as well as solutions for challenges. Participatory planning helps ensure the project is feasible and will reach completion. However, a community-wide planning process can be complex and raise competing priorities. Facilitation can ensure all voices are heard and that necessary compromise does not result in marginalisation or an undermining of commitment to safety. 58