PESHAWAR: Project Commencement and Advocacy Workshop of the Project for improvement of Disaster Resilient School Infrastructure in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was held in Peshawar, which was attended by Furuta Skigeki, Chief Representative JICA; Qaiser Humayun, Economic Advisor, Embassy of Japan; High level officials of Education Department, KP; Laxman Perera, Human Settlements Officer, UN Habitat Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific; Jawed Ali Khan, Habitat Programme Manager, and other officials from UN Habitat; District Education officers, KP, Engineers and other stakeholders.
Jawed Ali Khan, Habitat Programme Manager, UN Habitat Pakistan welcomed the participants and explained that the project will undertake retrofitting and repairing of 150 schools and construction of 15 new school buildings; and improve sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools; as well as, the capacity building of relevant institutions in earthquake affected areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, says a press release.
Laxman Perera, Human Settlements Officer, UN Habitat ROAP, while thanking the participants appreciated JICA for providing support and Education Department for their collaboration. He explained that UN Habitat is working in Pakistan with National and Provincial governments and cities in order to promote resilient communities through interventions both at policy and ground level. UN Habitat is committed to support member countries to enhance their capacity in responding to emerging challenges due to natural disasters. This project will create resilience of educational infrastructure and contribute to the national agenda of increasing resilience and will enhance capacity of government and skill of technical staff and provide safety to children.
Furuta Shigeki, Chief Representative JICA, highlighted the role of JICA in improving resilience of educational infrastructure and appreciated the efforts of UN Habitat in implementation of activities to improve resilience. He added that like Japan, Pakistan has been suffering from natural disasters such as landslide, floods and earthquake, these experiences are suggesting importance of prior investment in disaster risk reduction for mitigation of damage caused by natural disaster and human security. The project will contribute to the implementation of the Sendai Framework targets based on the concept of “Build Back Better”, aiming to reduce lives lost, numbers of people affected, and economic damage from natural disasters and human security of the region through knowledge and know-how of UN Habitat.
Qaiser Humayun, Economic Advisor, Embassy of Japan remarked that Education and Disaster preparedness is always a top priority of Government of Japan and hoped that this project will help students to learn safely and be an active part of the society.
Ikhlaq Ahmed, Additional Secretary, Elementary and Secondary Education Department, thanked Government of Japan, JICA and UN Habitat for providing support to the Elementary and Secondary Education Department, Government of KP and assured that they will provide all necessary support to ensure smooth implementation of the project to achieve its objectives. He also highlighted that the demand for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of schools is enormous compared to the available budgetary resources of the government. Hence, there is still a great need for support from the international development partners in order to improve the quality of the education system and ensure safety and health of the school children.