Activity Report of Open Application Program 2021 vol.9 (Online)
Community Disaster Preparedness x ICT - Learning to Practice Sustainable Disaster Preparedness
Report from Mitamura Muneki, Director
Center of Education and Research for Disaster Management; Osaka City University
Kathmandu suffered major earthquake damage in the Nepalese Gorkha earthquake in 2015. In Kathmandu, flooding occurs frequently and public awareness of disaster prevention has increased in recent years. However, methods and concepts aimed at improving disaster preparedness have not been adequately developed. Until now, the Center of Education and Research for Disaster Management (CERD) at Osaka City University has implemented disaster-prevention education for secondary schools in Kathmandu since 2018 under a cooperation agreement with the NPO corporation Nepal Emergency shelter & disaster Prevention educational Aid (NEPA).
The object of this plan is to provide younger generations in Nepal with opportunities to initiate mutual exchanges among younger generations by interesting and motivating younger generations to apply science and technology in a variety of ways, and to participate in disaster prevention-related technologies. This time, our plan was to invite junior and senior high school students who have been providing disaster-prevention education support, to learn through disaster prevention-related experiential learning utilizing Japanese science and technology. We also wanted to conduct an activity exchange meeting with Hirano Senior High School Attached to Osaka Kyoiku University, which is an SGH school and conducts global-communication learning. The goal through this plan was to foster a younger generation that contributes to disaster prevention by making them aware of the various disaster-related scientific and technological environments in Japan, and gaining their understanding of the need and possibility of deploying information technology to disaster prevention while considering how disaster-related data related to Nepal can be used.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it was impossible to invite Nepalese students to Japan, and our invitation plan was declined. As an alternative measure, we decided to conduct online workshops. Because it is an online exchange of high school students between Kathmandu in Nepal and Osaka, it was implemented in a short program using Saturday afternoon because of school events and the time difference (3 hours and 15 minutes). After a short 30-40-minute lecture at Osaka City University, which described the natural environment of natural disasters related to both countries and which introduced the basic concept of community-disaster prevention and implementation examples in Japan, students from the Nepal Nobel Academy (11 students and 2 teachers participated) presented their learning about natural and man-made disasters, disaster response in the open air through scouting activities held in schools, and community exchanges through donations and charitable activities. After that, four students from the Hirano Senior High School Attached to Osaka Kyoiku University reported on disaster-prevention research efforts. There was an introduction to a comparative experiment on the moisture retention power of plant roots, and a research report on how to make use of that in future risk assessment related to landslide disasters. In both presentations, questions were asked from both sides and there was a lively exchange of views.
The Nobel Academy raised strong hopes for continuing such efforts and face-to-face implementation in the future. Although SGH efforts are being implemented at the Hirano Senior High School Attached to Osaka Kyoiku University, it did not conduct overseas training because of the coronavirus pandemic. This was the first international exchange, so the students were greatly stimulated. This exchange led both schools directly to promote student-to-student exchanges online.