"Safe Schools Network" Project

DESCRIPTION

Main objective:

Raising awareness in the field of efficient risk prevention trough formal and informal education of children and youth in border area - creation and promotion of an international network of 20 “Safe schools” – a new model for disaster opposition.

Expected results:

  • joint evaluation of needs and opportunities for better risk prevention in schools implemented;
  • joint methodology for extra-curricular education and motivation in this field developed;
  • preparation of 20 school authorities for a better risk management in their schools;
  • preparation of 80 teachers for methodical advisers in disaster education in their schools;
  • preparation of 40 psychologists to react in case of disaster and to support the victims;
  • preparation of 40 teachers for club-leaders of volunteers;
  • preparation of 640 youth volunteers for action in case of disasters (future members of local volunteer units);
  • creation of “community of practice” – ICT tool for communication and sharing of best practices in civil protection, etc.

Activities

1.Project promotion (month 2-4)

The reason of implementation of this activity is to attract participation from side of target schools in Romanian-Bulgarian border region (Dolj district Romania, Vidin and Montana districts, Bulgaria). Project aims to create a model for safe schools, developing of the first place their human capacity. This means that we plan to include a limited number of educational institutions (20 from both countries), but selected on the base of their needs and motivation. Regardless of the results of pre-project feasibility studies, this activity is important for creation of the competitive environment, necessary for the selection process. In other side it will make the project more transparent for the community and will contribute to its publicity.

During the promotional period, two PR experts will visit 30 communities (municipal centres - 15 from Romania, 15 from Bulgaria) and organize a presentation of the project before project target groups – its aims, activities, expected results. We expected participation of 450 local educational stakeholders, headmasters, teachers and other relevant experts in these one-day events (225 RO, 225 BG). The promotional materials also will be distributed and used – a leaflet about the project, project poster and a roll-up banner (in Romanian and Bulgarian languages).

In parallel with promotion, a research will be made, which explains the full time engagement of the participants (see activity A2).

2. Implementation of Comparative Research (month 2-4)

The reasons and targets of implementation of this activity are:

  • the project team and other project’s experts to be familiar with current situation in participating countries and target institutions in field of school risk management and disaster preparedness, including qualification of teachers, education of students, experience in extra curricula activities and volunteering; the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for  further development in field of school community protection;
  • to make needs assessment for improvement of school capacity to meet better the European and national policies’ requirements for creation of safety and disaster resilient schools.

The product of the research will be a consolidated report about mentioned above targets – current situation and identified needs in participating countries/schools for capacity building for better protection and disasters risk management (with a focus on ways for motivation and active learning).

The research will be done in each participating country by own researchers, using common methodology, developed by an experienced research leader. It will combine desk research (of laws, strategies, programmes and other documents) and field work. The target respondents can be educational authorities, school management and teachers, responsible institutions and experts in disaster prevention/mitigation on place, local civil society organizations in field of education and parents organizations, volunteer structures, etc. The methods of work can be: descriptions, survey by questionnaires and interviews, focus groups, overview of publications and statistics, case studies, etc. Each part will produce country information set, which translated in English will be consolidated and analyzed by the research leader in a report.

The whole process of research will require on-line collaboration and cooperative work. The final report will be translated in Bulgarian and Romanian and will be accessible on the project web-site.

On the base of promotion and research 20 schools will be selected (10 per country) for the Safe School network and further participation in the project.

3. First international  meeting of experts (month 4, Romania)

The first international experts’ meeting will aims to:

  • Adopt the report of the Comparative Research implemented;
  • Develop the Term of Reference (TOR) for creation of common Methodology Set for preparation of school management, teachers and students for risk prevention.

It will be necessary to evaluate and complement the research and its conclusions, which will be basis for further development of methodical guidelines and educational programmes (see A4). The participants in the meeting will be 20 experts in risk prevention/mitigation and education (10 per country), such as for example educational authorities, officers from public institutions with key competencies in risk management situations and their local bodies, teachers, Red Cross representatives, and research team. The experts will be selected by the partners with the help of educational authorities and other responsible institutions. The meeting will take 2 days and will be located in Romanian border region. It  The main result will be the elaborated TOR for Methodology Set, but it will be also opportunity for relevant experts to know each other, to be introduced with school risk management systems of neighbor country, to share the experience and good practices in school education for risk prevention, development of volunteering, to discuss common problems and solutions. 

4. Methodical Set elaboration (month 4-7)

The Methodology set will be a product, based on:

  • Needs assessments of concrete target schools;
  • Available resources, opportunities and limitations in them;
  • Legislative requirements in disaster risk prevention education and school risk management;
  • Best practices available in participating countries and abroad for involving students in voluntary work in disaster protection, etc.

It will be developed in a collaborative way by external methodical experts with relevant experience and expertise under the supervision of the methodical leader, who will be responsible for whole process, its compliance with TOR (see activity 3), and for the final product. The experts will work on the methodology using on-line tools for collaboration. They will follow the recommendations of the forum, apply their own expertise and experience/best practices from both countries (e.g. identified in the Research analyses), etc. The set will consist of methodical guidelines, educational/training programmes and materials with a focus on interactive methods of education. The concrete content will be chosen from the experts on the base of TOR, but it is important to mention, that idea is not to make a compilation of existing programmes used in Bulgaria and Romania, but to create one supplemented product, which can be used for advanced training of teachers and students-volunteers. This final product will be consolidated by the methodical leader and presented before the next international meeting of experts (see activity 5).

5. Second International meeting of experts (month 7, Bulgaria)

The Second international experts’ meeting will aim to adopt the Joint methodology (Methodology Set) for preparation of school resources for risk protection.

It will be necessary to evaluate and give recommendations for complement/edition (if needed) of the elaborated product. The participants in the meeting will be 20 experts in risk prevention/mitigation and school education (10 per country), such as for example educational authorities, officers from public institutions with key competencies in risk management situations and their local bodies, school headmasters, teachers, Red Cross representatives, as well as methodical experts. The main part of experts will be the same from the previous international meeting (A3), but it is possible to have also new members of this pool, identified during the work on methodical materials. This will give opportunity to increase experts’ potential of the group, in same time keeping the focus on TOR adopted on first international meeting.

The meeting will take 2 days and will be located in Bulgarian border region. The main result will be a Methodical set prepared for use and testing, but it will be one more opportunity for specialists to share the experience and good practices, to discuss common problems and solutions. 

6. Web-site development and maintenance (month 6 – 24)

The project web-site will be a virtual tool which targets are:

  • To provide access to methodical materials created under the project and other relevant resources for preparation of school community for disaster risk management;
  • To offer a place for experts and youth volunteers, nationally and internationally, to share experience and expertise during the project implementation and after it;
  • To disseminate the project results.

During the project implementation, the site will be also used for project management purposes - to support communication between partners, between experts, to keep "memory" of the project progress, to offer access to evaluation questioners and other important documentary forms, to provide necessary level of transparency and to promote the project, etc. In this way the web-site will practically incorporate a Community of Practice (CoP) to increase collaborative work and to share members’ experience. CoP is a very important part of project’s philosophy and will be integrated in whole network model. For example it can be used to motivate the children – e.g. to develop common network ideas and projects, to play simulation games, to make on-line competitions, to share photos, etc.

The concrete content and design of the site will be elaborated during project implementation. The site will be created it English, Romanian and Bulgarian languages. All project products will be available for free downloading.

For design and programming (technical) work for creation of the site will be responsible FYC, but other partners and their experts will participate in whole process, including testing and evaluation.

7. Training of trainers (month 8 – 9)

The activity aims to prepare a pool of teachers for development of volunteer clubs inside target schools and in this way to contribute to bettering the level of preparedness of student community in case of disaster. 20 teachers per country will be selected by project team with support of school management of target schools in order to secure methodically this extra curricula activity. Two courses will be organized – one in Bulgaria and one in Romania, 4 days each. The methodology of the training session will be based on the previously produced Methodology set. In this way it will be also tested and evaluated. The training will include how to use project’s web-site for further education, communication and cooperative work inside the network. Every training will bfinish with short examination test. The result of the training will be 40 club leaders prepared for work with volunteers.

8. Training sessions (month 9-14)

This is one of the key activities of the project. The aim is to provide adequate training of a part of the project’s target groups – school management, teachers, and psychologists. The methodology of the training session will be based on the previously produced Methodology set. In this way it will be also tested and evaluated. The training will include how to use the project’s web-site for further education and communication inside the network.

We plan to implement next training sessions:

  • 2 two days sessions for school management (one in Romania, one in Bulgaria);
  • 4 two days sessions for teachers/methodical experts (2 in Romania, 2 in Bulgaria);
  • 2 two days sessions for psychologists (one in Romania, one in Bulgaria).

The total number of trained persons is expected to be 160 (80 from Romania, 80 from Bulgaria). The training of school management will be focused on risk management planning, of teachers – on methodology of effective teaching of disaster protection (to prepare them to be a methodical resource in their schools), of psychologists – on work with victims of disaster events. The trainers will be external experts with relevant qualification and experience. Concrete themes of the sessions will be chosen on the base of Joint methodology and specific needs. Every session will finish with short examination test. The result of the training sessions will be 20 school communities better prepared for disaster events (10 In Romania, 10 in Bulgaria) – every school will have: better plans with measures for protection, 4 teachers from different school levels – methodical experts in disaster education - prepared and at least one psychologist prepared for adequate support of potential victims (the last course will be open for psychologists from other, not only target schools, for better costs effectiveness).

9. Volunteer clubs (month 10-21)

The activity aims to development two volunteer clubs (in two different age groups) in every school in disaster protection, to link the education on this issue of students with volunteer work to support their motivation. In this way we plan to achieve a better level of knowledge and skills among student community in disaster protection - making a model of connection between obligatory classes and extra-curricular activities, including participation in CoP (see A6). For club leaders will be engaged previously trained trainers. The clubs’ curricula will apply 70 school hours of theoretical knowledge and practical exercises, including joint projects of the network and preparation for competitions. The project web site will be used as a community of practice – to give the participating teachers and students the opportunity to develop joint initiatives, as well as to share results and best practices. All methodical parts – the clubs’ training programme, practical exercises, on-line collaboration, etc. will be part of the joint Methodology set, previously developed. Every club will work with approximately 16 volunteers selected on the base of their motivation and results from the obligatory disaster protection classes. In this way the network will include around 640 youth volunteers (320 from Bulgaria, 320 from Romania).

10. Material provision of education and network (month 4-21)

This activity aims to:

  • Contribute to the quality of education of the voluntary clubs and other students – the purchased equipment will be used during the training sessions and practical exercises;
  • Secure the practical competitions with necessary materials.

A part of purchased equipment will be used by both methodical centres for national and international competitions (e.g. window, door, venthole – for sealing against penetration, simulator – to make "earthquake", dummy - for artificial respiration exercises, etc.). Other part will be given to every school to be used for training and preparation for practical competitions, but also in case of emergency (e.g. first aid kits).

As we explained in section 2.6.2 below, Vasilada association and Free Youth centre created two methodical centres for social volunteering under previous Romania-Bulgaria CBC project. The SSN initiative will upgrade the centres and will expand their functions, including disaster protection volunteering as a new task.

11. National competitions (month 20-21)

The activity is important in the project context because it will give the youth volunteers the opportunity to show received knowledge and skills. This will be also good for project’s and disaster education’s promotion. There will be two two-days competitions organized – one in Bulgaria and one in Romania with participation of 4 representatives of each school (3 students + one leader), 40 people in every competition or 80 total in both. The competitions will combine theoretical questions and practical exercises, such as for example: rescue of drowning, sealing the doors and windows, overcoming obstacles, first aid, etc. The concrete design of the competition will be develop as a part of the methodical set. Every competition will be facilitated by two facilitators. The educational and school authorities, teachers and students from the area will be invited to see the competition. Local, regional and national media will be also invited to popularize the event.

12. International camp (month 21-22, Bulgaria)

One international camp will be organized in Bulgarian border region for 6 most successful volunteer teams (3 from Bulgaria and 3 from Romania), winners of national competitions (ranked on first 3 places). Every team will include 3 volunteers and one leader, or 24 total. The camp will be a present for the winners, but also it will have several other aims: to train additionally the teams in youth leadership, volunteering, networking, project development, etc.; to evaluate the club activities; to plan further collaboration, etc. One day will be used for international competition between all 6 teams, which will be similar of already described in the previous activity. The whole camp will take 5 days. One experienced trainer will be used to train the participants and to facilitate the practical exercises and competition.

Local, regional and national media will be invited to popularize the event (especially the international competition).

13. Conclusion forum (month 23 – 24, Romania)

The reasons to include the activity in the project and its role in this context are:

  • To evaluate the project results, including here used methodologies and approaches, to measure the indicators, etc.;
  • To report and inform the experts’ community and general public about project achievements and lesion learned;
  • To disseminate the achievements in order to multiplicity the project idea and to expand the network in the future;
  • To make conclusions and, if necessary, recommendations to responsible institution in field of risk management;
  • To discuss a strategy for sustainability, etc.

The Conclusion forum will take two days in Romanian border region and will collect 40 participants (20 from Romania and 20 from Bulgaria) – as participants in the project (from direct beneficiaries, but also methodical experts, trainers, etc), as well as guests from public institutions responsible for disaster protection, educational authorities, school management, teachers, etc. An experienced facilitator will lead the forum. Local, regional and national media will be also invited to popularize the event.

14. Publications (month 23-24)

The activity aims to disseminate project achievements and result to specialized expert community, as well as to report them to the whole society in the both countries. For these purposes two publications will be prepared and distributed:

  • A Collection with methodical materials from the project – an essential part of tested Methodical set, for the expert community (guidelines, recommendations, training programs, volunteers’ motivation tips, successful stories or learned lesions, etc.);
  • A brochure ("layman’s report") – popular explanation about project’s achievements with text and photos for general public.

Both publications will be issued in Romanian and Bulgarian languages. They will be available for free download from project web site as well (the Collection also in a e-book version).

15. Information and publicity (month 1-15)

This constant activity will ensure necessary level of publicity and transparency of the project. It will be permanent and will cover whole project duration. The activity will include:

  • Informing the mass media about all important public events (press releases, invitations, interviews);
  • Two press conferences in every country (in the beginning and in the end of the project) – to announce the idea and to report the project results;
  • Design, print and distribution of promotion materials, such as pens, folders, leaflets, posters, roll-ups, as already described under activates “Promotion”, “international meetings”, “Training sessions”, etc. for direct project beneficiaries;
  • Design, print and distribution of project products, such as a Collection with methodical materials and a brochure for general public, as already described under activity “Publications”;
  • Design, publication and maintenance of a network web-site in English, Bulgarian and Romanian language for project participants and other interested worldwide with project description, news section, free access to project products, etc.;
  • A special activity in the beginning of the project to attract participation in target area – “Promotion and research”, which will inform local stakeholders and communities, for which PR experts will be hired.

The roll-up banner will be used in every public event – training, international meetings, joint exercises, closing forum, etc. to inform the participants and media about project and the programme, etc.

16. Project management (month 1-24)

The organization of project implementation of leading organization and the partners will include: Detailed plan of activities, Project procurement plan for each partner (if applicable); Project visualization and a plan for publicity and transparency; Monitoring procedures; Scheme for payments and cash flow; Risk management plan; Dissemination plan; Sustainability strategy; Key experts profiles/job descriptions, procedures for nomination and selection of participants, etc. The application of adopted documents will be controlled by: three months written reports system - each partner will report its activities, results, spent funds, problems faced, etc; On-line meetings - for discussion of problems and planning; Management meetings – min. six times during the project; Other ways in emergency cases - by phone, e-mail, etc.

The project activities will be organized by project management teams of Free Youth Centre and Vasilada association and will be supported by Regional Network for Innovative Education. The activities and results will be monitored through: Monitoring of the all project events by country coordinators and project manager (leading partner); Monitoring of development of all intellectual products (research report, Methodology set); Intermediate and final evaluation of the project implementation and result on the base of indicators - during project reporting.

The project staff will participate in all important events under the project (international meetings, training, competitions, etc.) in order to secure organization and monitoring, as well in 8 one-day management meetings (4 in Bulgaria and 4 in Romania).

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