In KP province, most of the school buildings and educational institutions do not comply with the required building standards published by the Pakistan Engineering Council. As a result, majority are poorly constructed and lack of preparedness and response plans for disasters. There is an agreement among experts that many schools collapse due to lack of knowledge and lack of policy, regulations and guidelines for school site selection, design, construction, and use of construction material. Equally contributing to such factors is lack of preparedness in schools in terms of evacuation plans, designated evacuation areas, and safety awareness. Considering the scale of human and capital loss in earthquake and other natural disasters, international community is urgently needed to bridge the resource gap of the respective governments to address the vulnerability and risk of exposure of school children to natural disasters and calamities.
Government of Japan and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed an Exchange of Note and a Grant Agreement with United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat for the Improvement of Disaster Resilient School Infrastructure in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Signing ceremony was held at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tokyo, Japan on October 2, 2020 between Mr. Atsushi Koresawa, Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific of UN-Habitat and HE. Mr. Kuninori Matsuda, the Ambassador of Japan. The Grant Agreement was signed by Mr. Koresawa and Mr. Takema Sakemoto Director General, South Asia Department of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The project will promote resilience of educational infrastructures through structural and non-structural measures and provision of necessary service infrastructure including WASH facilities. The planned interventions will contribute to the implementation of the Sendai Framework targets aiming to reduce lives lost, numbers of people affected, and economic damage from natural disasters.
The project will undertake retrofitting and repairing of 150 schools and construction of 15 new school buildings, improvement in sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools and capacity building of relevant institutions in earthquake affected areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The project is scheduled to commence in October 2020 and complete in September 2023. The Project will be implemented by UN Habitat, Pakistan office in collaboration with Elementary and Secondary Education Department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), JICA office of Pakistan and other stakeholders. The target areas of KP include Chitral, Upper Dir, Lower Dir, Buner, Swat, Peshawar and Malakand.