Four Caribbean Countries Undertake National Safe School Policy Consultations

Policy Consultation at the Office of Disaster Management (ODM), Dominica. Pictured are (left to right): Cecil Shillingford, Consultant with the ODM; Fitzroy Pascal, National Disaster Coordinator, ODM; David Maximea, National Focal Point on the MSSP Project from the Ministry of Education, Dominica, Winston McCalla, Policy Expert; and . Eleanor Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Environmental Solutions Limited.

ROSEAU, Dominica, Tuesday May 21, 2019 – Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St Lucia and St Kitts and Nevis have commenced consultations toward the development of a National Safe School Policy that will provide the context for amending existing legislation to integrate disaster risk reduction and environmental protection measures for schools.

The consultations, with technical support from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) through Environmental Solutions Limited (Jamaica), will run until May 24.

The goal of the Model Safe School Programme in the Caribbean – also known as the MSSP Project – is to create safe, secure/protective and green educational institutions from pre-primary to tertiary levels, including public and private institutions through the development of simple, applicable and adaptable tools.

This first-stage of policy consultations was designed to garner stakeholder participation and consensus building within the national context.

Eleanor Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Environmental Solutions Limited and Disaster Risk Management Specialist on the assignment indicated that consultations to date have revealed the centrality of the education sector to disaster resilience at the community level, the vast number of lessons to be learned in the aftermath of the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the need for psychosocial support in the aftermath of hazard events, and the need for policy considerations in relation to the use of schools as shelters.

Environmental Solutions Limited will also be in the targeted countries during the stated period to conduct school assessments.

The CDEMA Coordinating Unit has received grant funding from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to the amount of EUR 746,000 (US$832,685) to implement the Model Safe School Programme toolkit in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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