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Ministry of Education and Red Cross Society solidify relationship | 20 October 2020

Ministry of Education and Red Cross Society solidify relationship

After many years of close collaboration, the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development (MEHRD) and the Red Cross Society of Seychelles (RCSS) yesterday formalised their association, through the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU).

The signing ceremony, held at Perseverance secondary school, was also to commemorate the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, observed annually on October 13, after it was called for by the United Nations in 1989 as a day to promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction.

The MoU was signed by principal secretary for primary and secondary education Odile De Comarmond and President of RCSS Kisnan Tamatave, who also launched Red Cross Clubs at school-level, with the hopes of equipping younger generations with the relevant knowledge as to how to react in the event of a disaster to protect themselves and others around them, while also inspiring them into volunteerism.

To support disaster-risk reduction education in schools, RCSS, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and RCSS’ regional partner PIROI, has developed a disaster risk reduction manual for the benefit of the pupils. Teachers have also over the last month received training focused on the manual, comprising information about tsunamis, strong winds, wild fires and flooding.

Mr Tamatave officially handed over the manual, the games as well as some other RCSS trinkets, before the students present took to trying the board version and educational and interactive game and enjoyed the exhibits about the different natural disasters that are more likely to occur.

“The game is called a disaster challenge game and we have developed the boards, there is a smaller version and a larger version which can be laid out on the floor which are linked to questions on cards which we have prepared for each step, there is a question either about tsunamis, drought, strong winds, or landslides, torrential rains that can potentially occur in Seychelles,” said Barbara Carolus-Andre, project coordinator for the disater risk reduction programme at RCSS.

Dr De Comarmond extended gratitude to RCSS on behalf of the ministry, for having offered their assistance and support on numerous occasions throughout the years. RCSS offers support for first-aid training or assists when there are activities such as the inter-school sports competition. Recently, RCSS was indispensable in assisting the ministry in preparation for school re-opening amid the new normal and Covid-19 pandemic.

“The MoU we signed today will help us to establish the clubs in schools. At each school, we have different teams of people and currently, it comprises mainly staff who are concerned with the preparations for the risk-disaster theme. To have a club, will reinforce the club and will create a larger pool in the event that something does happen, there will be people who are well prepared and trained. Through the MoU, all those who form part of the club at school, in addition to the team, will be better prepared in the event of emergencies.”

“There will be additional trainings. Presently, we request training sessions from RCSS and they organise small training sessions. But with this, training and development will be continuous, and RCSS will not have to go back and forth, but rather they can liaise with the person responsible at school level, so it will quicken things up,” Dr De Comarmond noted.

Mrs Carolus-Andre said RCSS is looking forward to strengthening the partnership between the ministry and RCSS.

“Presently, we have just developed the materials and we now have to distribute to the various schools. We are thinking through Red Cross clubs, as schools are one of the ways which we can put the materials to good use, before we can venture into other projects. The ministry however, in its strategic plan, is looking into safety so we will collaborate with them for such projects,” she said.

The accompanying photos show some highlights of the ceremony yesterday.

 

Laura Pillay

Photos: Joena Meme

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