UNESCO: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization



UNESCO launches sub-regional competition “Students on Tsunami Alert”

UNESCO launches sub-regional competition “Students on Tsunami Alert”

The competition will provide recognition for educational, scientific, and outreach projects related to tsunami risk reduction, created by students at coastal secondary schools in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. The prize will provide financing and dissemination for three projects per country, and will bring student leaders together for the regional meeting “Students on Tsunami Alert”, to be held in 2012 in Bogotá, Colombia.


Competition rules for:
Chile - Guidelines for Chile - Colombia - Ecuador - Guidelines for Ecuador - Peru

Entries for the competition will be open during April and May 2012. The contest aims to promote student participation in tsunami risk reduction activities, boosting capacities in the educational community as an agency in the promotion of development processes in vulnerable coastal communities.

This initiative comes within the framework of the programme “Strengthening the Regional Tsunami Early Warning System – preparations in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru”, executed by UNESCO with the support of the 7th Action Plan for South America of the Disaster Preparedness Programme (DIPECHO), of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection. The competition is organized jointly with the education ministries and national risk management offices of Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, together with the Chilean Red Cross, the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Chilean Navy (SHOA) in Chile; the Colombian Ocean Commission, Fundación Plan, the NGO Protecting Through Education – RET in Colombia; Intermon Oxfam in Ecuador; and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Peru.

Participation and prizes

To take part in the contest, work teams comprising two students and one teacher from education centres at risk from tsunamis must present education projects that could be executed within a period of one or two months.

It is hoped that at least three entries may be selected from each country, for recognition with a prize that provides financing for their execution. After the projects have been completed, an inter-institutional jury will select the winning entry from each country, and these teams will be invited to participate in a regional student meeting to be held in the second half of 2012 in Bogotá, Colombia. This meeting will aim to strengthen participants’ capacities, to promote interchange of experiences between students from the four countries, and to foster the formation of agreements to continue to promote risk reduction activities that branch out from the school to the community at large.

All students who participate in the competition will receive a diploma of recognition issued by UNESCO and the competition counterpart organization.



On 22 March the competition was disseminated to schools located in regions of high vulnerability in the coastal city of Esmeraldas, with the aim of promoting the participation of the education community in disaster risk reduction activities.

In parallel, a training session was provided for teachers explaining how to draw up education projects that will contribute to risk reduction. This workshop session was attended by 25 teachers from 15 schools in Esmeraldas, and was led by representatives of the National Department of Risk Reduction, the Esmeraldas Provincial Education Department, and Intermon OXFAM – who shall also provide direct support to students in drawing up and conducting their projects.

Students must submit their proposals by 15 May, 2012. The three shortlisted projects will be executed during June and July.

For more information, contact Pernille Petersen: ph.engell-petersen@unesco.org

Competition rules for Ecuador
Guidelines for Ecuador

In Peru, the contest was launched as part of a risk management training workshop targeting teachers from 15 schools in the regions of La Libertad, Huacho, and Cañete on 17, 24, and 31 March.

The workshop’s aim was to provide training in drawing up risk management education plans in accordance with the methodology and regulations of the Peruvian Ministry of Education. The education projects to be implemented in the framework of the student competition will form part of the risk management plan of participating education institutions, and will be executed during May and June.

The workshop, organised by the UNDP in Peru, was led by representatives of the Ministry of Education and the Sub-department of the National Institute of Civil Defence.

For more information, contact Gabriela del Castillo: g.delcastillo@unesco.org

Competition rules for Peru

The contest was launched in Colombia at the Regional Meeting on Emergencies, held on 22 and 23 March in Cali. It was supported by the Ministry of National Education (MEN), and featured the participation of the Education Secretaries for the southern Pacific coastal region of Colombia.

Participants at the meeting included representatives of Corporación OSSO, currently the National Tsunami Focal Point Organization, who made a presentation on tsunami risk affecting the country’s Pacific coast – allowing the subject matter of the competition to be put into context. The competition rules were also presented, meeting with a positive response and expressions of commitment from the Education Secretaries of the regions of Nariño, Chocó, Cauca, Tumaco, and Buenaventura.

In coordination with the Ministry of National Education, the National Disaster Risk Management Unit (UNGRD), the Colombian Ocean Commission (CTN AT), Fundación PLAN, and the NGO Protecting Through Education – RET, it is hoped that students will be motivated to participate in the contest.

For more information, contact Camila Romero: cndipechotsunami@hotmail.com

Competition rules for Colombia

The competition’s launch in Chile will come as part of a student workshop on “Tsunami Risk Management”, to be held in coordination with the Ministry of Education and the Chilean Red Cross during the first week of May in the city of Iquique, located in the northern Chilean region of Tarapacá.

The Chilean Ministry of Education will dispatch a formal invitation to participate in the competition, to over 100 schools located below the 30 meter flooding level in the regions of Tarapacá, Arica, Antofagasta, and Atacama.

The competition is supported by the Ministry of Education, the National Emergency Office of the Chilean Interior Ministry (ONEMI), the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Chilean Navy (SHOA), and the Chilean Red Cross; it will be implemented during June and July.

For more information, contact Giovana Santillán: g.santillan@unesco.org

Competition rules for Chile - Guidelines for Chile

  • 25-04-2012