Learning from Japan’s experience on DRR Education

Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Disasters leave behind a trail of damage, death and destruction. The devastation of the
disasters which recently struck the country brought more focus in assertively promoting Disaster
Risk Reduction (DRR) Education to the schools and communities. SEEDS Asia, in partnership with
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Department of Education (DepEd), and Hyogo
Prefectural Board of Education (BOE) launched the project entitled “Project for Capacity Building
on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Education through Cooperation with the Local
Community in Cebu Province”. The initial phase target are the 3 Schools Divisions within Cebu
island; cities of Bogo and Danao, and Cebu Province, particularly in Daanbantayan District. The
project will soon be implemented to the remaining Schools Divisions within the region then to the
rest of the regions in the country.
The project’s overall goal is to have a sustainable DRR education through cooperation with
local communities in Cebu Province. It is also expected that a system for promotion of DRR education
through cooperation with local community is set up at DepEd Region VII.
Last June 3 to 12, 2015, the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Education Core Team of Region
7 had a chance to visit Japan to learn from Japan’s experiences and best practices on DRR
Education. The team is composed of eight members namely: Ms. Jocelyn M. Conta and Ms. Norma
M. Lepiten of Bogo City, Mr. Rumil C. Banzon and Mr. Arnold M. Peñalosa of Danao City, Mr. Tony
T. Aplacador and Mr. Gerardo S. Mantos of Cebu Province , and Dr. Emiliano B. Elnar Jr., and Ms.
Maurita F. Ponce of Regional Office.
The study visit is one of the project’s activities where the core team learn from Japan’s
experience and best practices on DRR education. The team visited the cities of Kesennuma and
Kobe. Kesennuma is in the far northeastern corner of Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. Large sections of the city
were destroyed by the 2011 Tôhoku earthquake and tsunami and major fires on March 11,
2011. While Kobe, is the sixth-largest city in Japan and is the capital city of Hyôgo Prefecture on the
southern side of the main island of Honshû. Kobe City was greatly affected by the Great
Hanshin-Awaji earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 on January 17, 1995 where thousands of people
were killed, thousands were made homeless, and most of the facilities and buildings were destroyed.
The team were able to listen to the different stories and lectures of people who themselves
had experienced the great disasters which occurred in Japan. These people shared to us the things
they had done before, during and after the occurrence of the disaster. Know, prepare and take
action (mitigation) are emphasized to minimize its effects. The system for Education Sustainable
Development (ESD) with the following components: Self Help (decision-making), Mutual Help
(collaboration), Public Help (governance), and N-Help (NGO/NPO+Network) are in place. It is their
practice to save first the self before saving others. They believe that “you can’t save others if you are
not safe.”
From the experiences they had, continuous education and training are being practiced and
an updated DRR education materials are provided. Drills are not enough. Disaster preparedness
has to be a learning process. These are valuable inputs as we develop DRR education models and
instructional materials as one of the project’s output to be shared at the region, inter-regional, and at
national levels.
Another good practice learned and can be adopted is that they have detailed and systematic
account of the disaster damages and the responses/actions they have done during and after the
disaster. These are kept in a museum and in a memorial room/corner in schools. They strongly
believe that transfer of knowledge to future generations is very important for they learn from the past.
Indeed, the core team is grateful to SEEDS Asia in partnership with Japan International
Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Department of Education (DepEd) and Hyogo Prefectural Board of
Education (BOE) for capacitating and equipping them with the skills and tools for the achievement of
the project’s goal of having a sustainable DRR education for the benefit of all. MFP