KARACHI - United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) Pakistan, an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the implementation of Community Based Disaster Risk Management and School Safety programmes in six hazard prone districts across Pakistan.

The education sessions conducted through community platforms and schools is estimated to benefit 29,000 people.

“It is a great opportunity to spread the key message of safer schools across Pakistan. Transfer of knowledge, building on learning from our ongoing School Safety Programme and effective coordination and consultation with government authorities and school communities remains pivotal to achieve the desired results,” said Nusrat Nasab, Executive Officer, FOCUS Pakistan, during a briefing session on the joint programme.

In recent years, natural disasters have impacted Pakistan significantly. According to a UNISDR (The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction) report, Pakistan was among the top 10 countries with most number of disasters between 2005 and 2014 with thousands of lives lost and the total damage estimated at 25 billion dollars, he added.

He further informed that WFP and FOCUS during a meeting in Islamabad signed two agreements to work in Naseerabad and Jaffarabad districts of Baluchistan, Chitral and Shangla districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Tharparkar and Sangarh districts of Sindh for a year starting September 2016. The partnership between WFP and FOCUS Pakistan aims to educate communities about Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and build capacity of Government, Department of Education and School Management Committees in School Safety.

The session also stated that FOCUS Pakistan will also conduct training in disaster preparedness and response planning fortrainers, teachers and facilitators in Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The sessions will be aided by information, education and communication (IEC) material provided by WFP along with school safety, first-aid and search and rescue kits in hazard-prone districts.