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12 February 2016 - News


By Songporn Bea Leelakitichok and Elizabeth Harrell


Save the Children, in collaboration with Thailand’s Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) and the Thai Red Cross Society, with support from FamilyMart launched the “Interactive Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Innovation Exhibition Opening and Student Essay Award Ceremony” last Saturday at the Bangkok Arts and Cultural Centre (BACC) in Bangkok. The event was presided over by Deputy Governor of Bangkok, Pol. Gen. Aswin Kwanmuang, a champion of disaster-related preparedness within the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.  The event brought together the attendance of almost 100 students from across Thailand, parents, media agencies, members of Thailand’s Safe School Network, and the general public. 


Save the Children created the Interactive DRR Innovation Exhibition to publicize DRR programmes and initiatives with the general public.  The exhibition aims to raise awareness among children, parents, and the general public on children’s involvement in DRR, and promote creative learning for DRR innovation. The event celebrated the interactive exhibition’s opening, featuring innovative prototypes for DRR developed by children, as well as the winning essays from Save the Children’s 2015 Student Writing Competition on the Role of Children in Disaster Risk Reduction.   The exhibition, located at the Library Hall of the L floor at the Bangkok Arts and Cultural Centre, will continue until 14 February 2016.  Additional educational activities and mini-workshops on DRR will be held on weekends to accompany the interactive exhibition. 

Save the Children Echoes Thai Children’s Voices
Although many think of children as victims of disaster and burdens to adults during disasters, children have the potential to help prepare their families and communities for disaster.

In October 2015, Save the Children, with the support of FamilyMart, organized the “Youth Camp to Promote Children's Creative Learning in Reducing Disaster Risks,” aiming to increase awareness of and promote children's creative learning capacity in DRR.  From this camp, children learned how to prepare for various disasters, and were taught to exercise their creativity in learning, from which they developed their own innovative prototypes to deal with the types of disasters they often encounter in their hometown areas.  

In addition to the youth camp, Save the Children held a national student essay writing competition from September-December 2015 on the topic of “Children’s Role in Disaster Risk Reduction.”  A total of 313 students from 112 schools nationwide participated in the competition, with 161 participants from senior elementary school and 152 participants from junior high school.  The essays elaborate students’ understanding of their role in time of disasters.


Children’s Role in Disaster Risk Reduction
Building on the successes of the two activities in 2015, Save the Children organized the “Interactive DRR Innovation Exhibition and Student Essay Award Ceremony” to showcase children’s DRR innovations and award the student winners of the essay competition.  The event raised the general public about disaster awareness and the role of children in DRR.

When the Deputy Governor of Bangkok, Police General Aswin Kwanmuang, declared the official opening of the exhibition, the public was invited to tour the exhibition along with him.  The winning essays were also on display in both English and Thai for the public to share the students’ views. 


Disaster Risk Reduction in Education
The public forum on children’s role in DRR at the event invited expert panelists from the Thai Red Cross Society, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM), Save the Children, as well as an independent DRR specialist, and the student winner of the essay competition and her teacher. 

The speakers noted that Thailand does not currently have a teacher training manual on school safety from natural hazards.  In its current situation, most Thai schools do not have sufficient capacity to handle disasters, resulting in greater damage to schools and negative impacts on the students. Therefore, DRR-related agencies have worked together to form Thailand’s Safe School Network to advocate for the inclusion of DRR in the national core curriculum. 

The speakers further recommended that everyone in the education sector, including students, parents, and teachers, should be aware of and prepared for disasters.  The government should not only educate students in school, but also ensure that the school’s facilities are safe and resilient.  The panel also suggested that the existing school disaster management committee should be active and encourage annual evacuation drills in schools. 

Save the Children hopes that this event provides a platform for children to express their capacity and supports their creative learning.  To sustain children’s well-being, Save the Children recognizes the need of an action plan on disaster preparedness and management to ensure that Thai children are safe and able to continue their studies even in emergency situations from disasters.

For more information or learn more about the project, please contact:

Songporn Leelakitichok
Communications and Advocacy Coordinator
Save the Children Thailand