RCE Srinagar’s Sejahtera Fellowship 2017 Recipient Working to Strengthen DRR Preparedness

Photos: CEE Himalaya

RCE Srinagar’s Dr. Apurva, recipient of the Sejahtera Fellowship 2017, recently completed the Sejahtera Fellowship programme during the period 13 October 2017 – 10 January 2018 in Tongyeong city, Republic of Korea.

Run by RCE Tongyeong, the Sejahtera Fellowship programme brings together researchers from RCEs within the Asia-Pacific region every year for a period of three to five months to conduct research on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

Dr. Apurva’s proposal for the Sejahtera Fellowship 2017 was to strengthen Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Preparedness in the Asia-Pacific region through the RCE Network. Not only does education on DRR build relationships between society, culture, economy and the environment, it also empowers ESD through promoting critical thinking and problem solving whilst developing social and emotional life skills. 

Through his research, various schools and training centres were surveyed for their DRR preparedness. The schools and the training centres in question had been involved in various extracurricular activities to raise awareness and knowledge towards DRR preparedness in their community. Programmes conducted included mock drills, enabling the students to experience examples of potential situations during disasters whilst training them to build resilience. Education through media, TV programmes and reading materials (such as comics and cartoons) were introduced in class to educate the students on how to handle different circumstances during a disaster.

As an outcome of the Sejahtera Fellowship 2017, a DRR Network was launched during the 9th ESD International Forum held at the Sejahtera Centre from 12-14 December 2017. The new network, working towards their motto of “Embracing each breath and celebrating life”, will be governed, monitored and headquartered at the Sejahtera Centre, supported by RCE Srinagar and other RCEs.

Amongst many activities, the network plans to: foster networking between the RCEs throughout Asia-Pacific and drive engagement in DRR, help RCEs to raise funds for their local and country-level DRR activities, develop advocacy material for use in relevant forums, develop training modules for DRR Preparedness in English (to be translated by RCEs if required), as well as consolidate existing DRR material submitted by RCEs to the Sejahtera library. In addition, the DRR Network is planning to organise a number of Asia-Pacific DRR Regional Meets over the next few years, hosted by RCEs within the region.

It is anticipated the required funding to run the aforementioned activities will be raised within the first year, however in order to further strengthen the network, members will be asked to provide assistance on activities such as the development of advocacy materials, IEC materials, training contents, proposals and support for communication channels (phone calls, internet, web space, laptops and other software support).

The Centre for Environment Education (CEE), which hosts RCE Srinagar and five other RCEs in India, has been active in responding to all major disasters that have occurred in India during recent years. RCE Srinagar through its projects such as ‘Mustaidi’ (Being Prepared) and ‘Mehfuz’ (Well-being), is continuing to work towards DRR Preparedness, aimed at achieving ‘Climate Smart and Disaster Resilient Communities’.

A video of the final presentation from Dr. Apurva on the outcomes from the Fellowship can be viewed here.