This study examines conflict and disaster risk management (CDRM) strategies for the education sector. It describes lessons learned in the process of strengthening central- and district-level educational planning capacities for CDRM.
Through the provision of training and technical assistance, the two districts have developed tools to self-assess and monitor the vulnerability and prevention and response capacity of schools with regard to conflict and disaster risks. Furthermore, guidance on how to develop a CDRM school plan and mechanisms to identify, prevent, and mitigate conflict and disaster were developed in a context-based and participatory manner. All activities were embedded in and informed by Uganda’s institutional and policy provisions for educational planning and disaster risk management.
The following lessons for mainstreaming CDRM in education were identified:
- Combining top-down and bottom-up approaches allows for the development of a critical mass of capacity for CDRM at all levels. This increases the pressure on decision-makers to work towards a conducive policy environment and to provide adequate funding for CDRM activities.
- A participatory and contextualized approach helps sustain and utilize engagement at school/grassroots level.
- Local-level development plans can be a promising entry point for preventing and mitigating conflict and disaster risk, as can local policies such as by-laws and ordinances.
- Moving from ad-hoc planning practices towards evidence-based CDRM planning requires well-developed organizational and individual capacities.
- Effective and cost-efficient planning requires strong cross-sectoral and cross-departmental collaboration and coordination. Cross-sectoral efforts require leadership, a shift in thinking towards holistic solutions, and resources.
- Capacity-development measures must reflect an understanding of context and the factors that limit the capacities of individuals and institutions to deliver relevant and sustainable results for CDRM.
The study also outlines five recommendations for the Government of Uganda and development partners for further developing capacities in CDRM in education:
- Mainstream CDRM in education through a fundamentally more decentralized capacity-development approach.
- Mainstream CDRM in Uganda’s education sector plan and programmes.
- Establish a culture of evidence-based planning by strengthening planning practices, skills, and management structures.
- Build upon and strengthen local knowledge and skills as a key factor in preventing and mitigating conflict and disaster risk.
- Increase education’s potential to prevent and mitigate risks by turning CDRM into a ‘life skill’.