Strengthening Disaster Prevention Approaches in Eastern Africa - (STEDPEA)

Project name :

Strengthening Disaster Prevention Approaches in Eastern Africa - (STEDPEA)

Budget :

500K$ - 1M$

Project duration :

02-03-2020

Location :

Kenya
Donor: Government of Japan (GoJ) under Japan’s Supplementary Budget. UNESCO Office in Nairobi countries covered by this project in Eastern Africa: For AI Chatbot: Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda For DRR Policy Review: Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda

Project Rationale

Looking at the number of disasters that have occurred in the world, one could argue that after Southeast Asia, Eastern Africa is one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world. Nature has been unkind to countries in the region and the physical and human damage has been significant. Both weather related and geological hazards have happened in unexpected scale simultaneously such as flooding caused by cyclone in and tremors. A lack of disaster preparedness and technology has challenged the regions for decades. Few events such as the ongoing drought in the Greater Horn of Africa region and the 5.9 magnitude earthquake that hit North West Tanzania are some of the recent disasters whose impacts are still being felt in the regions. The high frequency of calamitous events and the often-poor official response seems to have created a deficit of trust between citizens and national authorities.

One way of enhancing the overall awareness and responsiveness is to combine citizen science and modern technologies, that would help bridge the distance, in time and space, between citizens and authorities in those crucial first few moments following the disasters. Technological advancement and innovation have created new opportunities for enhancing disaster resiliency and risk reduction. Developments in artificial intelligence (AI), Big Data – and innovations in areas such as robotics and drone technology are transforming many fields, including disaster risk reduction and management. In Eastern Africa, these technological innovations are limited use hampering efforts for the development and implementation of sustainable disaster risk reduction (DRR) and preventive solutions.

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Overall Objective

The overarching purpose of this project to support the development and integration of science-evidenced artificial intelligent (AI) innovations, citizen science and gender-responsive actions into strategies and action plans for disaster risk reduction in schools, higher education, communities and public sector institutions in Eastern Africa. This project is timely as it will support the adoption of science-evidenced best practices and inform decisions that enable institutions and policies for disaster risk reduction in Eastern Africa. The results of this project are expected to yield three main outcomes/targets:

  1. Science-evidenced AI and citizen science approaches adopted for DRR;
  2. Policy decisions on AI, modern technologies and citizen science for DRR taken by countries based on UNESCO engagement and information dissemination; and
  3. Institutions and community groups are trained and able to apply science-evidenced AI and citizen science best practices in DRR.

    Implementation strategy

    To achieve the overall purpose of this project, we will:

    • Prioritize the risk in target countries among climate-related threats, natural disasters and geological hazards. This will involve a review of the impacts of natural disasters and hazards on livelihoods (from a gender perspective) to inform the development and mainstreaming of gender-responsive actions into disaster preparedness and prevention plans and strategies;
    • Analyze current institutional, political and decision-support frameworks associated with DRR to allow the enactment or strengthening of regulatory frameworks, policies and institutions for DRR including gender perspective; Develop recommendations using new solutions such as science-evidenced artificial intelligent (AI) and digital technological innovations/solutions; citizen science; and community-centred approaches to DRR;
    • Develop and pilot Mobile Applications that enable sharing information on disasters and connecting communities to expedite relief efforts during disasters;
    • Capacitate national stakeholders on the application and implementation of AI and technological solutions in DRR programs, plans and strategies;
    • Capacitate and strengthen Africa Youth Networks on DRR; and
    • Inform policy actions for the development of DRR curriculum in disaster prone countries for higher education institutions

    Project expected Outcome

    • Science-evidenced AI and citizen science approaches adopted for DRR
    • Policy decisions on AI, modern technologies and citizen science for DRR taken by countries based on UNESCO engagement and information dissemination
    • Institutions and community groups are trained and able to apply science-evidenced AI and citizen science best practices in DRR

    Know DRR Smartphone Application

    Education is fundamental to building a culture of safety and disaster-resilient communities. One of the purposes of education is to keep the public well-informed and motivated in disaster prevention and resilience.

    With the emergence of the internet and smartphone apps, edutainment and gamification are becoming increasingly important in the educational sector. With the rapid development of mobile technologies and applications, games are now entering a new era where their purpose is no longer for entertaining only but also for educating and informing. Games can offer interactive learning activities and tasks that can foster collaboration and creativity.

    In this regard, under this project a smartphone application “KNOW DRR” is being developed for generating simple, creative, engaging ways of connecting and communicating with school children and public. This smartphone application will be available in English and French for first instance and later it will be translated into other languages. Trailer video for KNOW DRR

     

    Project Contact:

    UNESCO Nairobi - nairobi@unesco.org

    Dr Jayakumar Ramasamy - r.jayakumar@unesco.org

    Dr Samuel Partey - s.partey@unesco.org

    Mr Soichiro Yasukawa - s.yasukawa@unesco.org