Leveraging New Discoveries as a Disaster Prevention Expert : Children Safety Learning Games
Vishal, a fellow from India, currently works as a project director in the Natural Disasters Division of the Bihar State Disaster Management Authority of the government of Bihar state in eastern India. Explaining his interest in HANDs!, he says that he “participated in the hopes of gaining new knowledge as someone engaged in disaster prevention.” The action plan that Vishal created is called Children Safety Learning Games.
Presented at the largest state festival
Children Safety Learning Games were presented at Bihar Diwas 2016, a festival celebrating the establishment of Bihar state. Bihar Diwas 2016 was is held in the city of Patna in Bihar state from March 22 and 23, 2016. Many organizations participate in the festival, beginning with government related organizations such as the police and fire department, and including international organizations such as UNICEF and NGOs involved in poverty issues such as Oxfam. The Bihar State Disaster Management Authority also operated a pavilion for the festival, and provided a large space for presenting Children Safety Learning Games.
Children Safety Learning Games consists of eight different games, including games providing an experience of earthquakes, board games and target shooting games teaching disaster prevention information, a game where human shaped dolls are rescued from under roofing tiles, and a game that practices evacuating from elevated platforms.
Many of the participants had comments such as “I’ve never played such a game before, so it was fun!” Families with children were particularly notable among the participants, including those who came to the festival only to play the games after hearing rumors of them.
New Initiatives and Past Challenges
Vishal works in the state government, and the hardest part of presenting Children Safety Learning Games was gaining the support of the other members of the government. There was no concept of using games for disaster prevention activities, and there were those who questioned the idea when he originally proposed it. In response, he created and demonstrated several games with the cooperation of an NGO.
The actual demonstration impressed on the other government officials that it was a meaningful initiative, which ultimately led to the presentation of the games during Bihar Diwas 2016.
During the festival itself, top government officials including the Governor played Children Safety Learning Games. The Governor in particular was very impressed, and Vishal hopes to “proactively present the games at other events as a contribution by the state government”.
Discoveries in HANDs!
The greatest discovery for Vishal during his HANDs! participation was that it was possible to carry out disaster prevention education by using the element of entertainment. HANDs! provides opportunities to visit numerous disaster prevention organizations and facilities in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Japan.
Particularly new for Vishal were the Iza! Kaeru Caravan! project run by General Advisor Hirokazu Nagata and the gamification project in Thailand. Vishal explains that his experience of disaster prevention education using games “showed me new possibilities as a disaster prevention specialist”.
Vishal added that “Not only was HANDs! an opportunity to gain new knowledge of disaster prevention, it also taught me methods for leveraging the knowledge I already had. I hope continue to leverage the experience and knowledge I gained for disaster prevention in Bihar state.”
Children Safety Learning Games
Participating Fellow: Vishal Vasvani, Fellow 2014/2015 from India
Location: Gandhi Maidan, Patna, Bihar, India
Project dates: 22th-23th March 2016
Scope of outreach: Around six thousand people
Project Contents: 8 disaster education games such as a board game, a hit target game