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Promoting child resilience to disasters : policy, practice, research

conference contribution
posted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Kevin Ronan, B Towers, K McAuslan, V Johnson, E Alisic, S Davie, J Handmer, K Haynes, N Ireland, M Petal
The recently published Synthesis Report on the Post-2015 Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR, 2013) places children at the centre of successful adaptation to disasters: “In particular children and youth have been singled out as having specific needs in terms of school safety, child-centred risk assessments and risk communication. But, more importantly, if appropriately educated and motivated on disaster risk reduction, they will lead and become the drivers of change.” Equally, here in Australia, the role of disaster education in managing disaster risk has been recognised as a major priority in the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience (Australian Government, 2011). While Child-Centred Disaster Risk Reduction (CC-DRR) is increasingly popular across agencies and organisations around the world, rigorous empirical research on the efficacy of the approach is limited. This three-year program of research is planning a range of projects, unified through various means, and an integrated narrative, to increase the reach and impact of CC-DRR education within communities in Australia and New Zealand. Year 1 (of 3) of this Project is focused on planning and pilot work, a scoping and review exercise to identify what the evidence to date suggests in terms of best practices to date and challenges requiring research. Initial efforts have included pilot work on stakeholder views. Based on scooping and review, it has also included multiple team submissions to the UNISDR Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction, 2015 (GAR 15), and refereed publications, with a focus on CC-DRR. These early outputs, along with other collaborative efforts within the team, are directed towards investigating the extent to which CC-DRR influences disaster resilience at individual, household and community levels. It will also investigate how CC-DRR influences children’s (1) pre-hazard resilience and readiness and (2) post-disaster response and recovery. In doing so, it will provide disaster resilience researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners with an evidence-base for development of effective CC-DRR programming, in Australia and internationally. The Conference presentation will provide an update on progress of our systematic review and scoping efforts in Year 1 and pilot data collected to date. A main thrust will be to update Conference attendees on current research issues and gaps linked to the policy-practice-research nexus. Main themes here are that research to date has seen an increase in evaluation of CC-DRR education programs, particularly in the past 15 years. Most of the studies published to date support education program effectiveness on indicators linked to risk reduction and resilience (e.g., knowledge of DRR key messages, risk perceptions, reduced fears; child- and home-based preparedness). Challenges identified, and which are to be the focus of attention in this project, include (1) methodological issues (e.g., more rigour needed), (2) no research to date examining whether these programs reduce risk when most needed (i.e., during a hazard event) or if they are cost effective, (3) research suggests that some education programs may not reduce risk in the way envisaged and, finally, (4) education programs developed will benefit from more explicit evaluation, including whether they include theory-supported elements, whether they include effective teacher training, whether they produce bona fide DRR outcomes including over time, and the effectiveness of mechanisms designed to support sustainable, scaled implementation of education programs.


Category 4 - CRC Research Income


Parent Title

Proceedings of the Research Forum at the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC Conference, Wellington, 2 September 2014.

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Wellington, New Zealand


Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC

Place of Publication

East Melbourne, Vic.

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

External Author Affiliations

Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC; Macquarie University; Massey University; Monash University; RMIT University; Save the Children Australia; School of Human, Health and Social Sciences (2013- ); TBA Research Institute;

Era Eligible

  • Yes

Name of Conference

Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC conference