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Child-led disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation

Children are usually considered passive recipients of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) activities. However, following the successful first Child Led Disaster Risk Reduction (CLDRR) programme in Cuba, the model is being replicated and adapted in various disaster–prone and affected countries, particularly in Asia and Latin America.

Many agencies working in disaster -prone situations have realised the potential of the CLDRR programme for minimising risks within local communities. Research is now suggesting that children are effective risk communicators and agents of social change within their households and their immediate communities. CLDRR also creates opportunities for children affected by disasters to recover from the trauma of their experiences. Case studies reveal that involving children not only facilitates the humanitarian efforts of agencies, but it is a process for personal psycho-social rehabilitation.

CLDRR also provides a valuable entry point for more equitable processes for adaptation to climate change, particularly over medium term timescales that are meaningful to children and their pathway into adulthood. However, scaling up CLDRR to national level advocacy and policy spaces remains a huge challenge. It requires a change of perception and attitude of adults, and acknowledging children’s role in contributing to DRR strategies.

Recommended reading...

Children in disasters: after the cameras have gone
A. Jabry / Plan 2002
Exposure to a disaster is a traumatic experience for any person, but particularly so for a child. This report presents three case studies which illustrate practical lessons from Plan’s experience of working with children in disas...
Child focused disaster risk reduction
Asian Disaster Preparedness Center 2007
This Handbook is a review on existing literature and case studies in India and Philippines which have a specific focus on integrating children in to Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) policies and programmes. It is part of a course organis...
Children as agents of change for disaster risk reduction: lessons from El Salvador and the Philippines
T. Tanner; T. Mitchell; K. Haynes / Children in a Changing Climate 2009
This paper explores children’s voices in disaster risk reduction (DRR) policy spaces and their capacity to communicate disaster risk to their parents and larger community. It challenges the traditional development approaches whi...

This Key Issues Guide is produced in collaboration with Children in a Changing Climate – research, with financial support from Plan UK and the ESRC.