INCLUDING CITIZENS HANDBOOK
Would you like to learn more on how to mobilize citizens in the aftermath of a disaster? Are you looking for tools and resources to be better prepared in case of a disaster? The Including Citizens Handbook is online! Check out the LINKS Community Center and take a look!
The Handbook is one of the products within the LINKS Framework and it was specifically designed to support practitioners, stakeholders, and policy makers, in their disaster management operations. It is an online educational platform that provides insights, tools, and resources on how to better engage with citizens in the different phases of a hazard, by relying on social media and technologies. The Handbook is made up of four sections, i.e. how to make information accessible; how to mobilize citizens; how to engage with volunteers; how to raise risk awareness.
In a world increasingly affected by natural and man-made threats, the implementation of disaster risk reduction strategies that consider systemic risks and aim to build more resilient communities are at the heart of the UN agenda. The need to develop a culture of security with a focus on risk prevention and management has been a top priority for the entire international community over the past decades, as demonstrated by various international protocols such as the Hygo Framework for Action of 2005 and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction adopted in 2005.
In this perspective, Save the Children believes that children should be more involved in disaster risk management and that their potential to contribute to more resilient societies should not be underestimated. Investments should be made to promote child-centred DRR education programmes to strengthen child protection mechanisms during emergencies and their participation in prevention and preparedness activities.
Feel Safe is the first Save the Children Italy’s educational online platform entirely focused on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). Within the EU Horizon 2020 LINKS Project, Save the Children has developed an innovative tool that promotes the responsible use of technologies and digital education as means to improve community resilience to disasters.
The innovation provided by the Feel Safe platform does not only revolves around a ‘child-centred approach’ and participatory engagement, but it is also reflected on its intensive use of digital tools which is now a primary education requirement of the European Union, to “unlock the potential of digital technologies for learning and teaching and to develop digital skills for all ” (COM/2020/624 final). The Feel Safe platform fits into an hybrid between formal and informal educational context, providing teachers and educators with interactive modules on DRR, presenting children mitigation and prevention actions as well as reflections on a variety of different risks (i.e. earthquake, fire, landslide, floods, climate change). The aim of this particular approach is to stress the key role of preparedness and prevention before a disaster to make children understand what really happens in emergencies and what they can do or bring as positive contributions for their community.
The Feel Safe platform, available both in Italian and English, offers 7 thematic destinations, each of them deepening a particular aspect related to Disaster Risk Reduction and risk mitigation. Destinations range from reducing vulnerabilities to increasing awareness, expanding important crosscutting aspects such as communication in emergencies and preparedness and finally, extending knowledge on specific risks such as earthquakes, fires and climate change.
Each thematic destination includes individual and group activities, multimedia support and entertaining challenges including role-plays and card games, as experiential learning and bottom-up approaches are two fundamental pillars of this educational tool. The activities proposed are mainly targeted for children around 11 and 14, however all modules are easily moldable to match younger or slightly older kids’ skills.
Feel Safe also includes an open-source Library where you can browse and download free content related to DRR and other relevant topics. The Stories section, on the other hand, collects initiatives and projects from all over the world with a more immediate and informative slant.
The platform is open-source and all the content is free for users. Feel Safe strongly believes in the power of co-design and good networking, so Save the Children relies on institutional, local and international partnerships and stakeholders to promote good practice networks and collaborate with to create new, more specific, and single-theme activities. Extra-features and possibilities to benefit from Save the Children Italy’s implementation of new resources and additional packages (e.g. board games) are value-added services for users of the Feel Safe platform.
Save the Children has developed the Feel Safe platform using three main educational pillars: learning by doing, cooperative learning, and participatory approach. This was the primary focus as to enhance digital skills and DRR education in a common and comprehensive framework that primarily targets the younger generation and invests heavily in prevention awareness, a culture of safety and resilience, and their active involvement in disaster risk management.