January 28, 20151880Views

In the ongoing push to certify the first SMART schools in the British
Virgin Islands, the Department of Disaster Management this week made
presentations to the Ebenezer Thomas Primary School (ETPS), the Seventh Day
Adventist (SDA) School and the Little Litehous Child Development Centre.

The deliveries were made to school principals by Deputy Director of the
DDM, Ms. Evangeline Inniss and Health Disaster Coordinator, Dr. Ronald Georges.
The donated items included garbage bins, potting soil and packets of seeds to
support the development of school based gardens and recycling programmes at two
of the schools, along with a series of posters promoting healthy eating and
hygiene practices and a better understanding of various hazards that can impact
the Virgin Islands.

 The procurement of the items is
part of the SMART School Pilot project which is designed to promote the
creation of safer, healthier and greener learning environments and offer educational
experiences for school administrators, teachers and students while also fostering
a culture that promotes environmental sensitivity, energy and water efficiency
and conservation and healthy students and school environments.

            In presenting the
garden supplies, Ms. Inniss said the DDM is pleased to learn about the steps taken
to re-establish school gardens at the ETPS and SDA School following discussions
last year between the DDM and the school administration.

“We are very
excited about the progress being made in all three pilot schools since the
start of the project in July 2014 and we are optimistic that the contribution
by the DDM will go a long way in supporting the initiatives,” Ms. Inniss said.

She added, “School
based gardens are once again becoming recognised as an important way to
reconnect students with the natural world and teach them valuable lessons about
food production, fit and healthy lifestyles and the need to address the impacts
of climate change on vulnerable communities.”

is partnering with the Ministry and Department of Education and Culture on
this important initiative which will help create greater awareness of
comprehensive disaster management, water and energy conservation, environmental
protection and climate change and how all of these must be connected if we are
to achieve SMART schools in the Virgin Islands.

In presenting the posters, Dr. Georges encouraged the students to make
healthy food choices and to pay keen attention to the good hygiene practices
that are illustrated.  The Ministry of
Health and Social Development is only one of the stakeholders the DDM has
partnered with for the SMART School Pilot. Other stakeholders include the BVI
Red Cross, BVI Fire and Rescue Services, Department of Agriculture,
Environmental Health Division and Conservation and Fisheries Department.

The SMART concept was conceptualized during the development of the
Virgin Islands Comprehensive Disaster Management Strategy and Programming
Framework which was approved by Cabinet in early 2014.  The strategy seeks to utilise Sustained, Mitigation,
Adaptation and Resilient Techniques (SMART) in all 14 sectors operating in the
Territory.  The Sea Cow’s Bay Community
was identified last year as an ideal location for piloting initiatives aimed at
achieving SMART within the various components of the SMART model.

The Smart School Pilot Project in Sea Cow’s Bay has several components
including the production of a video, a health fair, development and testing of
school disaster management plans, community workshops, a community profile of
Sea Cow’s Bay, training and the installation of safety equipment and energy
saving devices.

Funding for the project is being provided by the Austrian Development
Agency (ADA) through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency
(CDEMA), as part of the Mainstreaming Climate Change in Disaster Management in
the Caribbean Phase II (CCDM-II) Project.