By Anders Martinsen, Head of ASEM LLL Hub Secretariat and Lam Le Huy, Director of SEAMEO CELLL
From 8-10 November 2016, the ASEM LLL Hub, together with SEAMEO CELLL held the ASEM LLL Hub Conference: Lifelong Learning and Resilience in Disaster Management – Asian and European Perspectives in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. This contributed to the following research-informed recommendations in two main areas:
- Recommendations for how to implement lifelong learning as a key to promote resiliency in disaster management.
- Recommendations for how to strengthen network in, and among, countries which face disasters, and also involve more institutions related with disasters.
1. HOW TO IMPLEMENT LIFELONG LEARNING AS KEY TO PROMOTE RESILIENCY IN LIFELONG LEARNING?
New strategies for how to implement lifelong learning as a key to promote resiliency in disaster management are met with a sense of urgency. In relation to such strategies it is important to remember two matters. The first of these is that you cannot easily change the traditional ways of doing things. The second matter is that not all processes of change and solutions are equally suitable for the different countries. Overall, this means that if you want to get a good result you often have to be careful in standardizing and accelerating the implementation. So with these considerations in mind what can be recommended in relation to the question about how to implement lifelong learning as a key to promote resiliency in disaster management:
- Lifelong learning should focus on promoting and understanding of the causes of the risks that may lead to disasters. This focus should be included in curricula, as disaster preparedness will be more effective if be approached through schools and education institutions. Having said that, it is key factor that the double back is kept when learning respect for nature and science-based explanation to understand nature disasters.
- The contextualization of resilience as learning can enable individuals, families, institutions, and communities to not just cope and/or adapt, but to transform the context they find themselves in that makes them vulnerable to the impacts of disasters.
- Education for disaster should be crafted in a holistic way, and in a integrative setting, to include political, economic, cultural, international, and interpersonal aspects of the issue, as this will help people to understand the ‘why’ in disaster management.
- Lifelong learning is important as it prepare citizens for permanent uncertainty, and as an enabler to seek a greater understanding of the factors which contribute and surround issues which they may have to contend with. This must happen with an inclusive approach.
- It is important to implement disaster management through formal, informal, and non-formal education to cope, adapt, and eventually conduct transformation. At the same time, the role of formal, informal, and non-formal education providers should be recognised for disaster management trainings.
- While focusing on promoting and understanding of the causes of the risks that may lead to disasters it is important that a focus is on fostering societal values which are of the core of cultures and so create resilience to unsettling change that is inevitable after disasters. Cultural-based resiliency is a key in making disaster management more sustainable.
2. HOW TO STRENGTHEN NETWORK IN, AND AMONG, COUNTRIES WHICH FACE DISASTERS, AND ALSO AT THE SAME TIME EMPOWERING PEOPLE?
There are many initiatives and frameworks already existing in disaster management. What is needed now is to strengthen the network and knowledge sharing in, and among, countries when facing these disasters and at the same time empowering people. This can be done as fitness for purpose or fitness of purpose. The former is a matter of achieving goals and aims in an efficient and effective way, whereas the latter is explained as having the goals and aims reflecting the requirements/expectations of all stakeholders in an adequate way. At the same time resilience as learning can enable communities to transform the context they find themselves in that makes them vulnerable to the impacts of disasters. An approach to strengthen network and empower people could therefore be transformative fitness of purpose – meeting the expectations of all stakeholders with a focus on empowerment and the democratisation of the process. The following is recommended:
- There is a need for more dialogue and strong collaboration between practitioners and researchers in the field of disaster management. Such dialogue can help the importance of case studies and, not least, help the implementation phase from idea to concept.
- Stakeholders should work to equip communities and individuals with the tools and skills to interpret the ever-growing, increasingly available, and interrelated bodies of information, which will enable improvement in disaster management and hence the quality of life. At the same time, communities should be motivated, through mindful, aware and attentive leaders’ decision, to learn through empowering themselves to share their knowledge in managing disasters (citizen science based lifelong learning). The equality of gender is important here, as women’s role in disaster management is important.
- Roadmap on lifelong learning in disaster risk reduction is important. In that relation t is essential that programmes by individual countries be made known to others. Developing a roadmap of programmes/projects that SEAMEO will work on for the next 5 years with SEAMEO CELLL as overall coordinator in collaboration with ASEM and other relevant partners is an option.