The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction


The Resilient School Hubs

The Resilient School Hubs project is funded by the UKRI-ESRC. It is a collaborative project bringing together UCL’s EPICentre and colleagues in Indonesian universities.

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About the project

This project seeks to foster the resilient recovery of the marginalised communities of Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, displaced by the 28th September 2018 earthquake and tsunami. During this disaster 184 000 pupils were affected by the damage or collapse of 12 000 schools in Palu and 164 000 people were displaced from their homes. These communities are highly vulnerable and marginalised from decisions made concerning their recovery and it is this marginalisation that this project seeks to address. An interdisciplinary team of academics from the UK and Indonesia are co-developing an innovative intervention that targets psycho-social disaster support, hygiene and the safety of the physical environment, and which centres on schools as hubs for fostering community empowerment. Schools play a major part in shaping future generations and thus a community's future.

Safer schools can save the lives of children in future disasters; they can help to bring routines back to communities in times of disaster, thus increasing community resilience. This multi-pronged intervention will recreate not just the former status quo for these displaced communities but a more resilient future in which their needs and aspirations are put centre stage. The intervention will be created via three work packages: one targeting the psycho-social aspect, one for the water and sanitation hygiene aspect and one for structural infrastructure. The intervention involves four sets of stakeholders: pupils (aged 11-14), their caregivers, their teachers and the contractors who build schools. It takes place in the poorest, most devastated parts of Palu. In order to devise a survivor-centred intervention an assessment phase will take place first. The goal will be to assess the aspirations and needs of these survivors – psycho-social, hygiene services-related and infrastructural – to devise and implement an intervention that will foster their recovery and simultaneously empower them to make decisions around their future disaster resilience. Through this work we aim to establish a sound evidence-base for what works to improve the capacity of disaster-displaced people and develop tools and educational material to foster dialogue concerning disaster resilience and safer schools.

The project builds the research capacity of two Indonesian Universities, and the collected evidence will enable them to further their mission of influencing the Indonesian Ministry of Education to implement an effective, compulsory disaster recovery and preparedness program in all Indonesian schools. No such program has been implemented yet, though our Indonesian team in Banda Aceh are at the forefront of devising this. The interdisciplinary evidence base that emerges from the proposed project will ensure that this program is based on sound scientific evidence and knowledge of the local context. The research will not only produce traditional academic output but also practice-based reports and guidelines, which will be developed with the aim of improving the efficiency of future disaster response and resilient recovery programmes.

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