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Global Quake Science and Safety Initiative for Girls

a collaboration among

Teachers Without Borders, The Global Earthquake Model, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, and the U.S. Geological Survey

Research Institute, and the U.S. Geological Survey Teachers Without Borders’ Project Lead, Solmaz Mohadjer,

Teachers Without Borders’ Project Lead, Solmaz Mohadjer, instructs students in seismic safety science in Gujarat, India, site of the 2001 Magnitude=7.6 earthquake that claimed 20,000 lives and destroyed 400,000 homes (July 2012 photo).

Project Goals: One hundred thousand girls educated in a hands-on, curiosity-driven, regionally-tailored earthquake science curriculum. The girls then survey one million buildings in their communities—surveys that are vital to seismic risk assessment, earthquake preparedness, and emergency response. Each school would be assisted by an engineer-mentor who would meet with the girls and the community to translate the surveys into life-saving measures. The focus area will be the Central and South Asian nations of Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Iran.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Collaborating Organizations

Project Plan

Scaling and Tailoring Earthquake Science Curriculum and Training Direct Data Collection and Inventories: The Missing Links Impacts: Reduced Risk, Informed Policy, Open Information Scope Distribution Among Contributing Organizations

A Glimpse into the Process

Timeline Overview

Itemized Budget Overview

Metrics Overview

Addressing Obstacles


Qualifications of Contributing Organizations

Qualifications of Project Leads


















Executive Summary

Children and their families are vulnerable to earthquake hazards and disasters in South Asia and high Central Asia, as made evident by recent destructive seismic events in China, Iran, and Indonesia. The consequences of earthquakes for children include severed family ties, injury, loss of life, the collapse of food systems and medical care, impoverishment, and social upheaval.

The great Assam, India, earthquake of 12 June 1897 reduced to rubble all masonry buildings
The great Assam, India, earthquake of 12
June 1897 reduced to rubble all masonry
buildings within a region roughly the size
of England (Bilham and England, Nature,
2001). Today, the population density in
Assam and the surrounding Ganges
Plain is ten times higher, with a building
quality no less vulnerable.

The sensation of an earthquake awakens curiosity in children that we will use as a springboard to a comprehensive educational experience to help prepare and

protect them. The science, technology, engineering and mathematics education received by girls is often inferior to boys in their same schools. Teaching earthquake physics to middle- and high-school girls with hands-on tools and with modern but inexpensive seismometers will expose them to the natural sciences, mathematics and structural and electrical engineering principles. Armed with this understanding, they will carry out surveys using smart phone apps that will become part of a global database, and will give them the opportunity to engage in a community dialogue about earthquake preparedness and mitigation.

This initiative makes children safer by teaching feasible interventions and mitigation associated with preparedness and planning, and it will spark collaboration across diverse segments of society around issues of science and safety. In addition, the data they gather—both earthquakes recorded and building surveyed—will become an important scientific fund that will contribute to a global seismic risk model, and will form the basis of community discussions and actions to reduce risk.

The curriculum and hands-on learning tools will be developed by Teachers Without Borders (TWB) with technical and scientific support from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Science Center (USGS) and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI). TWB is actively engaged in Central and South Asia, and is already teaching seismic science and safety to girls in Tajikistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India. TWB will identify, train, support and nurture the teachers, and will design and furnish the teaching tools. The Stanford-USGS Quake Catcher Network will supply the seismometer-PCs used to record earthquakes and to teach physics and math. The Global Earthquake Model will develop the smart phone apps for the building surveys using its building taxonomy, and will vet and curate the collected data in its public global inventory. EERI will engage its global members to serve as school mentors and to help mediate the dialogue between the girls, teachers, and local civic authorities.

Perhaps more than anything else, educated girls who deepen their scientific understanding and know that they are capturing not only knowledge but data



essential for seismic science can be inspired to become leaders in their schools, communities, and nations.

The project will cost $60 per student, or $6 per surveyed building. The full budget can be found here.

per surveyed building. The full budget can be found here . Collaborating Organizations Earthquake Engineering Research

Collaborating Organizations

Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) brings a global network of risk-reduction professionals, a rich bank of building knowledge resources, and a long history of earthquake-related building data collection.

Global Earthquake Model (GEM) brings a global reach of scientists united in an ambitious common effort of standard, open earthquake risk worldwide, and global data banks of earthquake exposure.

Teachers Without Borders (TWB) brings a committed, diverse network of local teachers, and a track record of building educational capacity in schools and communities in the domain of earthquake science, with particular experience in the target project region.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) brings latest science and technology for understanding and monitoring global earthquakes and their consequences.



Central and South Asia have suffered innumerable large and damaging earthquakes over recorded history, as

Central and South Asia have suffered innumerable large and damaging earthquakes over recorded history, as illustrated by the past century of damaging quakes shown here. This region is in great need of seismic education and inventories of its vulnerable buildings.

The 2004 Magnitude=9.2 Sumatra earthquake claimed what seemed an unfathomable 228,000 lives, but we could at least assure ourselves that it was extremely large, and so a very rare event.

But in the short space of eight years, the Sumatra quake no longer looks like an anomaly, and it is no longer even the worst disaster of the century: 80,000 deaths in the 2005 M=7.6 Pakistan quake; 88,000 deaths in the 2008 M=7.9 Wenchuan, China quake; 316,000 deaths in the M=7.0 Haiti, quake. In each case, poor design and construction were unable to withstand the ferocity of the shaken earth. And this was compounded by inadequate rescue, medical care, and shelter.


How could the earthquake toll continue to mount despite the advances in the science and
How could the earthquake toll
continue to mount despite the
advances in the science and
engineering of quake risk?
The answer is that the world’s
population is pouring into
megacities, and many of these
migration magnets lie astride
the plate boundaries. Caught
between these opposing
demographic and seismic
forces are fifty cities of at least
three million people each
threatened by large
earthquakes: The next targets
of chance.


Project Plan

This project is distinguished in scope and scale by three components: (1) scaling and tailoring earthquake science curriculum and training, (2) data collection and inventories, and (3) scientific and educational impacts. Each component engages girls, their teachers, and their regional mentors with support from the contributing organizations, leaders in teaching, earthquake science and engineering.

Scaling and Tailoring Earthquake Science Curriculum and Training

Teachers Without Borders has already developed and deployed an earthquake safety curriculum. This project expands the breadth and scale of this tested, vetted curriculum, to reach local and regional leaders in vulnerable quake-threatened communities. Teachers Without Borders’ open educational resources are well traveled, having been adapted, translated, and tested in Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, China, and Haiti. The earthquake science and safety curriculum and training for teachers and students connects science and safety ‘from the ground up’ and extends into the community, to reach out to parents and the civic leadership.

The content has been vetted not only for regional scientific accuracy (not all earthquakes behave the same way), but also for the appropriate grade level. Preliminary assessment data is gathered through interviews to determine pre-

existing knowledge and misconceptions, and the level of preparedness. Rapid feedback loops allow regional trainers and local Teachers Without Borders leads to make alterations to the lesson plans and levels. Post-assessments are often conducted through small-group discussions and, where necessary, individual interviews.

Science activities focus on physical processes related to earthquakes, activities on earthquake hazards and mitigation strategies, culminating in a codification art/literacy project. Each earthquake hazards activity includes hands-on exercises that incorporate the occurrence of a particular type of hazard into a realistic chain of events that a student or a teacher may experience during an earthquake. Teaching relies upon the curiosity-driven, hands-on elements of inquiry science, summarized as the 5E approach: Engagement, Exploration, Explanation, Elaboration and Evaluation, and serve to support the content scaffold:

Education That Has Prevented Disaster When Not to Drop Cover and Hold: Macly Jeannite, civil
Education That Has Prevented Disaster
When Not to Drop Cover and Hold: Macly
Jeannite, civil engineer, university lecturer, and
high school teacher, was away from his
classroom when the earthquake struck Port-au-
Prince. But his students knew what to do
because he had taught them about how
earthquakes in that region work and why
Haitians’ characteristic response (to run indoors
instinctively and immediately at the first
indication of danger) was unwise. No lives were




Earth’s interior and plate tectonics

2. Plate boundaries

3. Properties of earth’s materials

4. Plate motions and faulting

5. Earthquakes

6. Seismic energy

7. Liquefaction

8. Landslides

9. Structural hazards

10. Non-structural hazards

11. Earthquake drills and planning

Curriculum units lead to hazard identification and mitigation, earthquake drills, emotional responses and psychological needs, immediate response and care, communications, sheltering, long- term recovery considerations and planning.

Participants become trained in explaining the importance of a school earthquake plan to others, to lead individuals in their schools through the stages of developing a plan and to convince others of the need to take as many steps as possible to mitigate the hazards associated with earthquakes.

Education That Has Prevented Disaster The Kamaishi Miracle: 1,250 residents of Kamaishi, Japan were killed
Education That Has Prevented
The Kamaishi Miracle: 1,250 residents
of Kamaishi, Japan were killed by the
11 March 2011 M=9.0 Tohoku
earthquake tsunami, with at least four of
the town's 69 designated evacuation sites
inundated by the tsunami. But of the
2,900 students who attended the town's
schools, only five died, even though three
of the 14 schools were inundated by the
The reason is that the teachers asked the
children to follow the advice of
Prof. Toshitaka Katada, who visited the
town’s schools twice a year for eight
years, teaching the children not to wait
for authoritative voices to tell them what
to do in an earthquake, and not to trust
the expected tsunami inundation maps,
but to take charge of their safety, to run
for higher ground, and to keep doing so
until the waves had subsided.

As part of TWB’s curriculum, workshops, and follow-up, participants evaluate, improve, and further develop earthquake preparedness programs for their respective schools.


USGS, EERI, and GEM will support the curriculum and methodologies with additional teaching tools at every stage in the 11 scientific scaffold rungs listed above, including – but not limited to – QuakeCaster (USGS, an earthquake demonstration and exploration tool), shake tables (GEM, EERI), and seismometers (USGS, Stanford) so that girls can expand their ability to understand, work with, and report data designed to help make adjustments to their immediate environment (such as addressing non-structural hazards) and provide critical information for policy makers. In particular:

USGS will engage regional mentors to assist in building and training on teaching tools. As the authority on reporting global earthquakes and assessing their impacts, USGS will evaluate the curriculum for scientific veracity of tectonic and seismic hazard information.



The Quake Catcher Network (USGS-Stanford QCN) will provide extremely low-cost seismometers and related software, which serve both as an in-class demonstration and a mechanism to record earthquakes locally. QCN has experience managing a global network of low-cost seismometers and functions under an open access data policy. QCN will make earthquake data recorded by the sensors accessible through its website, and will assist with development of project software and websites.

EERI will convene a curriculum panel to advise on key messages related to the buildings and infrastructure, and will engage its global membership of engineers and professors to serve as mentors to the schools and local representatives of the technical community. As academics and practicing engineers, EERI mentors add credibility, guidance, and relevance to the curriculum.

add credibility, guidance, and relevance to the curriculum. The North Tehran fault is capable of producing

The North Tehran fault is capable of producing a great earthquake in Iran’s densely- populated capital. Despite a thousand-year history of damaging earthquakes, the country suffers from weak ancient and modern buildings.


Quake Catcher: In classrooms, the sensors are used for hands-on activities to illustrate seismological concepts. The sensors detect, record, and transmit data for local moderate to large (M≥4) earthquakes. These data can be accessed and analyzed by students and scientists alike to better understand seismic hazard.



The plug-in-to-a-PC seismometer of the Quake Catcher Network (QCN) (left). The QCN network currently lacks
The plug-in-to-a-PC seismometer of the Quake Catcher Network (QCN) (left). The QCN network currently lacks

The plug-in-to-a-PC seismometer of the Quake Catcher Network (QCN) (left). The QCN network currently lacks any seismometers in Central and South Asia (right).

QuakeCaster: Using simple components such as a fishing reel, surgical tubing, a brick, and sandpaper, this teaching tool intuitively distills complexities of seismology and earthquake occurrence. Winding the reel builds up strain on the frictional resistance of the brick, leading to “stick” or “slip” response, reflecting the stick-slip nature of earthquake strain build-up.

the stick-slip nature of earthquake strain build-up. QuakeCaster, designed by Kelsey Linton, Duke University

QuakeCaster, designed by Kelsey Linton, Duke University (right) has a granite slider attached by a rubber band to a fishing reel. It illustrates that earthquakes are caused by steady tectonic stress accumulation as the earth’s plate move. QuakeCaster also shows why earthquakes are erratic enough to preclude their prediction.

Shake Table: This is a model of a building atop a platform that can be made to vibrate and shake to replicate the motion of an earthquake. It includes models to represent both earthquake-resistant and earthquake-susceptible structures, tangibly demonstrating the difference between safe and dangerous buildings. The building with safe type of construction will not collapse, whereas the building with weak construction will break into pieces and collapse onto the surface.

Additional teaching tools might include the Model Quake Towers and Plate Tectonic Puzzles shown below. The scope for the physical teaching tools includes design, prototyping, writing assembly instructions, buying and sending components, and using a combination of local materials and regional supplies. Model buildings will represent typical local construction materials and techniques in each region.



The USGS Model Quake Towers (left, with its designer, Max Willis) provide insights in how
The USGS Model Quake Towers (left, with its designer, Max Willis) provide insights in how

The USGS Model Quake Towers (left, with its designer, Max Willis) provide insights in how weak and shear-braced buildings (the small triangular braces) respond to seismic shaking. The Plate Tectonic Puzzle (right) is assembled by the students.

Direct Data Collection and Inventories: The Missing Links

TWB’s tested curriculum of earthquake science and safety has filled gaps and fissures both in science education and in preparedness and planning. While the integrity of the program as it stands should be replicated and scaled, it does not yet include local data collection.

In the proposed project, data collection has two essential dimensions. First, from an educational perspective, it ensures that students learn to understand the value and paramount importance of data collection, reliability, and validity as a pillar of science education. Second, from a scientific perspective, the data collected, is in short supply—and needed, particularly in the regions where this project will take place. Under the supervision of their teachers, the girls will conduct field surveys and use smartphones to input data about individual buildings in their neighborhoods. The data serves as ground-truth to data collected from satellite and aerial imagery and will be used for essential calibration and validation of data gathered globally.


Education That Has Prevented Disaster One Mother Rebuilt a School District: The 1989 M=6.9 Loma
Education That Has Prevented Disaster
One Mother Rebuilt a School District: The
1989 M=6.9 Loma Prieta, California, earthquake
damaged none of the schools in Berkeley,
150 km away. But Arietta Chakos started asking
questions about what might happen in the next
quake. After all, the Hayward fault runs through
the U.C. Berkeley campus. And she had to
keep asking, again and again, until she learned
that almost half the schools in Berkeley had
been evaluated as potential safety hazards.
Over the next two decades, with a groundswell
of parental support, Arietta succeeded in
passing local legislation that funded and
prioritized school seismic safety. Now all
schools in Berkeley have reached a standard of
life safety under the maximum credible



Each participating school and community focal point would receive an inexpensive PC plug-and-play seismometer, which would become a node in the Stanford-USGS Quake Catcher Network ( With the seismometers, the girls could record and analyze small local and large regional earthquakes. Involving girls in recording earthquakes builds their understanding of seismology while they acquire valuable data analysis skills.

Through this curiosity-driven curriculum, the girls would be engaged in understanding the sensor technology, understanding wave propagation, determining earthquake locations, assessing the response of buildings to earthquake shaking, and generating shaking and earthquake location maps.

The seismograms recorded by the sensors installed in the schools will provide local records of shaking intensities close to the earthquake source. Currently, shaking intensities for earthquakes in these regions are often estimated from information collected by seismometers located hundreds of kilometers away. Local recordings of seismic activity, analyzed by the girls, provides a direct link between the knowledge gained through the classroom activities and the data recorded in their classroom. The data will also be available to seismologists both locally and globally to assist assessing regional seismic hazard.


In addition to contributing to the fund of global seismic data through the Quake Catcher Network, the girls would use GEM’s online global building classification scheme and smart-phone apps to survey their community’s buildings. On average, each girl could survey 10-20 buildings, resulting in an unprecedented crowd-sourced inventory of at least a million buildings conforming to - and integrated with - uniform global standards.

Education That Has Prevented Disaster When the Engineers Said No: After the August 1999 M=7.6
Education That Has Prevented Disaster
When the Engineers Said No: After the
August 1999 M=7.6 Izmit earthquake in Turkey,
school principals (understandably) requested
permission from the government to hold classes
in lightly-damaged school buildings in Düzce.
But earth scientist Aykut Barka had just
published an article in Science warning of
elevated hazard in Düzce and Istanbul.
Because of the scientific credibility of the article
and its author, engineers argued against the
schools’ re-opening and the government
accordingly refused to grant permission. In
November, Düzce was hit by a M=7.1
earthquake, and many of those schools

Buildings of different construction materials, techniques, and

configuration respond differently to shaking, making some structures seismic bombs, such as those with soft first stories, inadequate shear support, weak foundations, or poor beam-column connections. Accordingly, the curriculum includes instruction on building taxonomy, relevant characteristics of local buildings, and response of buildings to earthquake shaking.



Even though collapse-risk buildings are the most important factor in quake fatalities and injuries, most of the world’s building types are uncatalogued, and their vulnerability to shaking is all but unassessed. Satellite imagery of buildings reveals little about their seismic vulnerabilities, which often reside in architectural features visible only from the ground or side. Building attributes and pictures collected as part of this project phase would be integrated for use in the public domain as part of GEM’s OpenQuake platform (particularly the Global Exposure Database:

To facilitate collection of building data, GEM is developing a smart-phone application and data management and analysis structure. GEM will modify this tool, working closely with TWB and EERI, to ensure that the relevant fields of input data are clesr and effective for the girls. GEM, EERI, and USGS will collaboratively contribute data analysis and validation. EERI member engineers will contribute to spot-checking exposure data collected in field surveys.

to spot-checking exposure data collected in field surveys. Over the past 500 years, magnitude 8-9 earthquakes

Over the past 500 years, magnitude 8-9 earthquakes have struck the Himalayan foothill thrust fault system bordering the Ganges Plain. But since no great quake has occurred in the past century, the cultural memory of this risk is lost. Earthquakes (red ellipses) from Bilham (Science, 2006); population density (white) from Landscan (2004), arrows give the movement of the Indian subcontinent as it slowly rams into Asia, uplifting Tibet, the “roof of the world.”


The Global Exposure Database as all other GEM products will be open to all non- commercial use through its OpenQuake Platform. The Girls Global Science and Safety data could also be mirrored on a USGS website, with full open access by all users. The



OpenQuake platform is expected to launch in mid-2014, after which GEM will continue to curate and augment its datasets and open source modeling tools, and so the Girls Global Science and Safety dataset will continue to grow as more courses are taught and more surveys are conducted. The USGS has been collecting and making data publicly available and understandable since its founding in 1879, which further insures that the collected data will become a long-lived gift to humanity.

Impacts: Reduced Risk, Informed Policy, Open Information

The anticipated impacts of this project occur on multiple scales and timelines, but could generally be characterized as Localized Mitigation, Risk Portraits, and Safety Advocacy. At each levels, the project actively engages participating students, schools, and communities in reducing their seismic risk.


Even the simplest, smallest-scale mitigation efforts can have major impact. For example, earthquake drills and emergency plans reduce panic. Securing heavy equipment eliminates falling hazards. Installing shut-off valves reduces the chance of earthquake-induced fire. Replacing heavy tile roofs or chimneys with lightweight sheet metal reduces casualties upon egress. Such efforts are small enough to be initiated by students, yet extend to greater levels of preparedness as part of a larger effort of community risk reduction.


GEM will use the building data as input to the world’s first public seismic risk model. The online model, and the tools and maps that are based on it, will enable individuals, governments, schools and businesses to assess the likelihood of earthquake losses (in deaths, damage, dollars), and to explore how these losses would be reduced if the collapse-risk buildings were strengthened or demolished. The platform, tools and information will be a powerful teaching tool and basis for evaluation of mitigation alternatives.

In addition, as soon as the platform becomes available, GEM will work with selected local communities and local technical experts to produce ‘Risk Portraits’, local risk assessment reports based on the building and social vulnerability data provided by the community. Reported output could be maps of the proportion of buildings at risk of collapse, the number of people at risk of death or injury, the anticipated number of displaced persons. They could also financial metrics and social vulnerability indices, and forecasts of how changes to buildings could reduce the likelihood of losses.

The reports will include possible mitigation strategies (e.g. land use policy, building code adoption, school strengthening, financial risk transfer (if applicable) and education/training activities). The Risk Portraits are intended to serve as case studies of collaboration between communities and technical experts, prototypes of local risk assessment reports facilitated by the OpenQuake Platform, and guidelines for risk assessment of communities worldwide.



Building Cultural Memory: In Taiwan, the 921 Earthquake Museum preserves a high school crushed in the 1999 M=7.6 Chi-Chi temblor (below), so that people would see for themselves the consequences of poor school construction. Evidence of failure, so rarely preserved, educates the public about earthquake preparedness and retains the cultural memory of why it is critical to do so.

retains the cultural memory of why it is critical to do so . SEISMIC SAFETY ADVOCACY


The project plan is expressly designed to enhance the potential for broad seismic safety and risk-reduction advocacy to encourage policy shifts originating from local leaders. The identification and assessment of the most vulnerable buildings in a community could spark a broader civic discussion about programs to strengthen or rebuild weak homes and buildings to avert future disasters. The EERI structural and seismic engineers will be invited into this dialogue to advise on alternatives to reduce seismic risk and increase preparedness, and to give guest classroom presentations. In this way the girls would be catalysts for knowledge and change.

In particular, the EERI mentors will serve as points of connections to the broader community with political capital to advocate in favor of the findings of Risk Portraits informed by the local, girl-led assessments.

Earthquake safety and risk-reduction advocates will be armed with tangible data related to earthquake recordings by the seismometers and a global database of building exposure. EERI will contribute resources from its World Housing



Encyclopedia, which has been compiled by a worldwide team and focuses on developing countries, and which includes a bank of proven mitigation strategies relevant to multiple contexts worldwide.

Note: The USGS does not engage in advocacy of any kind.

Scope Distribution Among Contributing Organizations

Teachers Without Borders (TWB): Curriculum development and deployment through teachers and regional networks; coordination with GEM, EERI, USGS, and other partners

Global Earthquake Model (GEM): Building data collection mechanisms, smartphone applications, testing and vetting of the data quality and consistency, data warehousing and the data access platform, Risk Portrait case studies.

Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI): Contribution to curriculum, development of shake table, engage global network of local role models, vetting of data capture applications, field-checks of the exposure data.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS): Contribution to curriculum, including QuakeCaster, an interactive, hands-on teaching model that simulates earthquakes and their interactions along plate-boundary faults. Quake Catcher Network, a USGS collaboration with Stanford University, software to interact with the sensor in classroom demonstrations and monitor/record earthquake activity, technical assistance with software and sensor installations, enhance web-based data access, development of project-specific web pages.

Local, Regional, National, and Global Partners: Each of the four principal organizations will also engage their partners and regional and global networks, thereby serving as a catalyst for expanding a model of engagement and participation. Each partner has will be vetted, and each will have an abiding interest in the education of girls.

A Glimpse into the Process


This project shall be managed using a collaborative and transparent project management structure (open to funders for full review). Tools include Smartsheet1 for project management, Webex2 for collaborative planning and global webinars, and Continual Progress3 for online reporting. Equally important are the identification, recruitment, support, and supervision of local and regional leaders such that the project is led by the communities affected; and the skills (programmatic, technological, scientific, organizational) that can be scaled and certified regionally. A database will be established (using existing tools) and

1 Smartsheet (

2 Webex accounts ( have been donated to TWB for use in this project

3 Continual Progress (



exportable (all or in part, based upon permissions) in forms accessible to management, funders, and appropriate for the public. All principal partners and participating individuals and organizations will be trained in these tools.


A wealth of curriculum is of inestimable value, but it does not save lives any more than a textbook creates learning, or a pile of bricks ensures a stable building. Teachers and students, working with open content focused on the terrain and the buildings where they teach and learn, can mitigate against disaster, especially if they are connected to local and regional scientists and engineers. The accessibility and acceptability of such a program depends upon several key factors:

Identifying teacher leaders and local mentors, as well as gathering horizontal and vertical support

Mapping both the scientific and educational assets in the local area and region

Assessing teachers’ existing knowledge

Introducing the tested curriculum prior to the introduction of special equipment

Co-teaching workshops with identified local leaders, in collaboration with expert colleagues

Ensuring room for clarification in order to demonstrate the value of equipment (such as seismometers) and other tools and curricula.

Using culturally-sensitive teacher professional development, with a focus on science inquiry pedagogies

Creating opportunities for community engagement

Implementing rapid feedback and change management

Teachers Without Borders and partner organizations rely on existing community development strategies that ensure engagement and minimize the risk of resistance. One key to success is to operate under the assumption that a wealth of expertise lies in reasonable proximity to each of the communities in which we operate. So, TWB enlists the support of civil society organizations, NGOs, government entities, schools and colleagues, and international agencies.



The project benefits from a network of teachers as learning multipliers; technical partners as developers,

The project benefits from a network of teachers as learning multipliers; technical partners as developers, supporters, and mentors; technology as a means to make learning engaging and data gathering efficient; and earthquake science education not only as a rigorous academic subject for girls, but also as a catalyst for community development and preparedness.



Timeline Overview

In addition to the timeline overview below, a visual, interactive, public timeline of the project will also be made available on the web, allowing the global community to follow the project, track progress, benefit from resources, and advocate on its behalf. The girls will also be making and posting videos made using the smart phones that capture classroom and field survey experiences.

phones that capture classroom and field survey experiences. Itemized Budget Overview The total funding request is

Itemized Budget Overview

The total funding request is $5.43 million USD, itemized as follows. This proposal assumes that direct funding of the USGS will be provided through federal sources.

Tools, Materials, Implementation, and Mentorship ($3.43M)

Travel ($0.25M)

Contributing Organizations ($1.75M) excludes USGS budget



Tools, Materials, Implementation, and Mentorship







1,500 USB seismometers, Linux PCs, and Uninterruptible Power Supplies

Quake Catcher Network seismometers, technical support, and teaching software



Six in-country technicians and support providers ($15K/yr x 3 yr x 6 people)



Technical support, data collection software improvements, and web development ($50k/yr x 3 yr x 2 people) by Prof. J. Lawrence and C. Christensen, Stanford Univ.



Educational software development by Debi Kilb, Ph.D., UC San Diego




Hands-on instructional teaching and exploration tools


Shake Table, Model Quake Towers, QuakeCaster, Plate Tectonic Puzzle ($100 each x 5 tools x 1,000 schools). Some tools will be built locally, some built with shipped parts, and some built in bulk off-site. Includes assembly videos.







1,000 smart phones for building surveys and photos, and school videos; $350 each x 1000 units; plus $100/yr cell service subscriptions x 3 yr

Inventory collection



Flip video cameras donated for this project from Cisco



Multilingual versions by GEM of its building inventory data capture tools, including the smart phone apps; collaboration of EERI with GEM on data management

Impacts and Advocacy




Development of Risk Portrait case studies by GEM





Mentor-teacher workshops for training and collaboration. Includes travel for 200 mentors at $1000 each, assumes 10 workshops at a cost of $5,000 each

Mentor workshops, training, travel, and advocacy



Mentor travel associated with building data collection, impacts / policy advocacy, including mentor honoraria, $750 per mentor. Includes involvement of the mentor engineers in use of the building vulnerability data in civic discussions on actions to reduce risk, such as retrofit or building removal.







Participant travel and shipping of material to Central and South Asia 10 week-long trips per year @ $4.5K per trip x 3 yr, plus $15K shipping costs



Curriculum advisory committee travel

Contributing Organizations


Includes facilitation, curriculum development, teacher and mentor outreach, data management

Teachers Without Borders (TWB)




Curriculum development, in-country network leads, partners, management (through affiliation with Johns Hopkins School of Education), local stipends; teacher and student training (face-to-face, online, radio, mobile-phone education, poster campaigns), testing.



Coordination with GEM, EERI, USGS content, multilingual translation, adaptation; training coordination, evaluation, of GEM, EERI, USGS, and TWB mentors in curriculum, technology, and dissemination



Local and global earthquake science educator networks, civil society, and teachers groups; technology support for online and mobile-phone education, and transparent display of information on all websites and availability of multilingual open educational resources for use in classrooms and communities

Global Earthquake Model (GEM)




Development of the global building taxonomy; development of the Global Exposure Database where building data collected by the girls will be uploaded; field testing of the collected data; use of the data for GEM’s global seismic risk model and through the OpenQuake platform.




Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI)



Contribution to curriculum content (in-kind except travel noted elsewhere). Prototyping and design of shake table teaching tools (in-kind except travel noted elsewhere).



Development of the mentor program of engineers allied to each school.

U.S. Geological Survey



(intended to be independently funded by US federal sources)



Development of the USGS online earthquake resources for use in the curriculum; technical support of Teachers Without Borders on the curriculum contents; prototyping and development of the hands-on teaching tools.



Metrics Overview

We acknowledge that no project is successful without established criteria to measure impact. Metrics for this project are currently under design and will relate to both earthquake science and girls education. Custom metrics may apply for individual project localities. Each contributing organization and the project team as a whole will be held to accepted scientific and reporting protocols.

In particular, as aligned with recommendations in the National Academy of Sciences publication, “Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative” (in press, 2012) project metrics will include resilience indicators, measuring both the capacity of the built environment as well as social factors that affect a community’s ability to recover from a disaster.

The provision of quality earthquake science education to over 30,000 girls per year, through 5,000 teachers, requires not only careful educational and scientific dissemination strategies, data collection, and building vulnerability assessment, but a set of discrete educational targets. The metrics under consideration include pre- and post assessments of:

Earthquake science awareness pre-assessment and post-assessment evaluations

Local capacity of communities to apply appropriate preparedness and planning, and to mitigate structural and nonstructural hazards;

Targeted risk-reduction measures;

Quantity and quality of the data otherwise and hitherto inaccessible.

Integration, where possible, into science standards applicable to each region.

Addressing Obstacles

Aware that international development initiatives are often accompanied by their own structural and nonstructural hazards, the partners have discussed a range of obstacles (both natural and national) and proven strategies to address them so that girls can be educated in earthquake science without risk to themselves or to their communities.

Challenges include (a) cultural and historical resistance to girls education itself, (b) the implications of data collected that could highlight the lack of integrity of school buildings, (c) inconsistent support or expressions of fear ranging from classroom teachers to municipal or regional leaders, (d) a hesitancy to weave earthquake science and its accompanying safety plans into the fabric of the curriculum and daily life, (e) inconsistent electricity, spotty bandwidth, internet access, or restrictive policies on internet use/uploading, along with (f) suspicion about the reporting capacity of electronic equipment introduced into the curriculum.



We have addressed these issues in the very regions in which we propose to conduct this earthquake science initiative, principally by emphasizing the role of community engagement and leadership. Success depends upon identified and credible local leaders who embrace this initiative and serve as both lever and endorsement. Armed with support and continual professional development, these leaders then find numerous opportunities to connect earthquake science education and community safety.

What works well in a classroom echoes into the family, and children have been key catalysts in several international development initiatives, not so much as beneficiaries of aid, but as active participants, who influence the views of their parents, uncles and aunts. While this short narrative can only summarize the orientation toward activities in these seismically-active areas, we are most willing to provide a detailed report of our networks and contacts.


All four partners are committed to open reporting, open technologies, and open educational resources, throughout our activities and the scientific evidence we make available.

GEM: the GEM website and the OpenQuake platform (

QCN data/software: the QCN website (

USGS material: the USGS website (

TWB: the Teachers Without Borders website (, at institutional partner: Johns Hopkins School of Education, and with affiliate network:

Interagency Network for Education in Emergencies (

In addition to ensuring that the data are reported publicly and made available for further analysis, the project itself is characterized by its use of robust, low cost - or free – web applications and social networks that display the timeline, objectives, and key milestones as measured by human development indices and the initiative’s stated target goals.

indices and the initiative’s stated target goals. All content used for curriculum and training of teachers,

All content used for curriculum and training of teachers, students, and cooperating partners shall be governed by a Creative Commons Share-Alike license, allowing others “to remix, tweak, and build” upon the curriculum, provided that provide correct and full original attribution and “license their new creations under the identical terms.”



In addition to removing barriers to the free and open use of the content provided and created, we shall provide a wide range of forms by which it can be accessed:

print, web, radio, posters, and on mobile devices.

Qualifications of Contributing Organizations


Tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization and NGO (non-governmental organization) registered in the United States, EIN#: 91-2023723

Teachers Without Borders connects teachers to information and each other, to support local change and enhance educational capacity on a global scale.

Teachers are key agents in this project. At 59 million, teachers represent the largest professionally-trained group in the world and have always been first responders and catalysts for change. Those with even a modicum of knowledge about earthquakes can play an instrumental role as catalysts of life-saving information. This effort shall engage teachers and, in wider circles, the social institutions with whom a community interacts.

In earthquake zones, schools kill children. Recommendations include the support of children’s access to health and educational resources; providing science-based earthquake education; giving children’s active roles in relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts; and prioritizing the physical and legal protection of children in earthquake- related disasters.

Teachers Without Borders has developed and actively delivers a seismic science and safety program provides professional development opportunities focused on science inquiry with a particular focus on earthquake science and safety. Communities are more inclined to support schools and the enrolment of girls knowing that the buildings themselves are safe. The curriculum has been adapted, translated, and taught in Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, China, and Haiti, and endorsed by educational officials. TWB’s Emergency Education program is supported by its chief institutional partner: Johns Hopkins School of Education.

TWB shall enhance its existing seismic science and safety curriculum in close consultation with the USGS, EERI, and GEM so that the information is as vivid, accurate, locally focused, and exciting to the students. Heavy use of teaching demonstration tools and student-led projects shall be based on input from contributing organizations and other public-domain teaching tools, maps, and online resources such as USGS customizable real-time quake maps, Did You Feel It?, and PAGER.




A society of engineers, geoscientists, architects, planners, public officials, and social scientists.

EERI’s objective is to reduce earthquake risk by advancing the science and practice of earthquake engineering, improving understanding of the impact of earthquakes on the physical, social, economic, political, and cultural environment, and advocating comprehensive and realistic measures for reducing the harmful effects of earthquakes. EERI is a leader in the dissemination of earthquake risk reduction information both in the US and globally in cooperation with its international partners.

One of EERI’s primary projects is the World Housing Encyclopedia (WHE) which is a collection of resources related to housing construction practices in the seismically active areas of the world. The WHE contains over 100 housing profiles from more than 40 countries with the primary goal of sharing experiences with various building types and encouraging the use of earthquake-resistant technologies worldwide. EERI will bring this wealth of experience with data collection and processing to this project to facilitate the field data collected by the girls.

EERI’s extensive international membership is committed to improving earthquake safety and technology in their communities. With over 2500 members, and 800 international members, EERI is uniquely situated to disseminate earthquake information throughout the world and act as a mentor organization for the teachers and girls. Connections with EERI members, who are already leaders in their communities, will further the information gathered by the students as well as expose the students to leaders and role models within their communities.


US Federal Agency for water, earth, and biological science, and civilian mapping

USGS provides reliable, impartial, scientific information to the public to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters, contribute to development of the nation's natural resources, and monitoring water, biological, energy, and mineral resources. The USGS is a foremost provider of global earthquake information and impacts, reporting within minutes both the technical information about an earthquake and the fatality and economic loss estimates to assist with response. USGS provides open access to global earthquake data collected by a wide range of cooperating seismic networks enabling research into earthquake physics and seismic hazard.

USGS has experience developing online, science-based information about earthquakes and seismic risk for students, teachers, and the public. ShakeOut exercises, yearly earthquake drills with millions of participants annually, were developed to encourage the public, private businesses, and emergency responders to prepare for earthquakes; these were started in California but have since expanded throughout the United States and to other countries.

USGS will provide scientific input on curriculum content developed by Teachers Without Borders to ensure curriculum reflects the most up-to-date knowledge on



earthquakes and seismic hazard in the regions. Further development of USGS’s online earthquake resources for use in the new curriculum and also more generally provide information about earthquakes in those areas. USGS will also prototype and further develop the hands-on teaching tools that address basic earthquake understanding and locally-relevant seismic hazard information.


Stanford University (US Tax-exempt 501(c)(3) Educational Institution) and USGS led Collaborative Research Project

New sensor technologies and distributed computing techniques are enabling low- cost seismic monitoring by members of the public. Small sensors attached to the floor of a home or school and connected to Internet-enabled computers (and/or small, low-cost plug computers) allow moderate-resolution seismic stations to be installed by non-experts at low cost. These new strong motion seismic stations can record moderate to large earthquakes (M≥4.0) that occur locally, providing real-time measurements of seismic phase arrivals, peak ground accelerations, as well as full seismograms. The Quake Catcher Network (QCN) has developed software and sensor packages that are already being used in classrooms, homes, and offices across the globe and recorded earthquakes between M=2.5 (Christchurch, New Zealand) and M=8.8 (Maule, Chile).

Two software packages have been developed to support both hands-on learning and scientific data collection: 1) QCNLive and 2) BOINC/QCN. QCNLive is a stand- alone application for use in interactive classroom demonstrations that displays real- time output from the sensor and global maps of recent and historic earthquakes. QCNLive enables students to record data, in ASCII format, generated during in- class experiments for further analysis and exploration. BOINC/QCN is the software that records earthquake data using a sensor affixed to the ground. When strong shaking occurs, data is sent to the QCN central server and is made available via the website to students and researchers alike.

QCN will augment and improve the QCNLive and BOINC/QCN software based on the needs of this project. Technical support and best practices for sensor/software installation in challenging environments will be provided. QCN will help to expand existing classroom activities, especially those that utilize the low-cost sensors. Locally-focused web pages will be added to the QCN website to highlight the achievements and outcomes of the project.


The GEM Foundation is a tax-exempt non-profit foundation registered in Italy.

Many of the world’s seismically vulnerable populations have access neither to risk information, nor to tools to contend with that risk: GEM was founded to change that. Launched in 2009 by the OECD, GEM is a global collaborative effort to empower people and organizations with resources for transparent analysis of risk anywhere in the world. By acting as an international forum for collaboration and knowledge exchange, the knowledge of leading experts is leveraged for the benefit of society.



Through global projects, open-source software development and collaborations with more than 10 regional programs, leading experts are collaboratively developing global datasets, best practice, tools and regional models for seismic hazard and risk assessment and decision-making support. The OpenQuake platform will offer an intuitive GIS-environment that will integrate all this. It will become available in 2014.

The non-profit GEM Foundation drives the GEM effort. The foundation is governed by a board with representatives from the governmental agencies and private companies that sponsor the effort. Together with delegates from prominent international organizations such as the World Bank, UN-ISDR, UNESCO, and OECD they guide the initiative.

Qualifications of Project Leads

Solmaz Mohadjer (TWB) Ms. Mohadjer was inspired to serve children in vulnerable communities after having experienced the 2003 earthquake in Bam, Iran. As a geophysicist, Ms. Mohadjer has used GPS geodesy to quantify regions of high strain in Central Asia that are at great risk of catastrophic earthquakes. As an educator, she joined the Teachers Without Borders team to support earthquake science education in China and Haiti. The author of TWB’s Earthquake Science Education curriculum, her film (“Between Bulls and Mosquitoes”) focuses on earthquake-prone Tajikistan and the process of teaching earthquake science in a form that can be embraced by urban and rural communities. Solmaz co-founded Parsquake, a partnership-enabled organization devoted to earthquake education activities for students, teachers and trainers in Central Asia. Parsquake’s partners cultivate, support and revive elements of indigenous safety consciousness within Persian-speaking communities through the communication of scientific data. She has agreed to serve as the PI on the Global Quake Science and Safety Initiative for Girls.

on the Global Quake Science and Safety Initiative for Girls. Kate Stillwell (EERI) Ms. Stillwell is
on the Global Quake Science and Safety Initiative for Girls. Kate Stillwell (EERI) Ms. Stillwell is

Kate Stillwell (EERI) Ms. Stillwell is an EERI Housner Fellow and licensed structural engineer with a demonstrated commitment to earthquake advocacy and risk reduction. As a Housner fellow, Kate is charged with exercising leadership within EERI, to advocate and lead efforts to reduce earthquake risk. Kate co-founded in 2009 (partner organization) GEM and in 2011 co-founded the US Resiliency Council, a US nonprofit developing and disseminating disaster ratings for buildings. In addition, Kate developed and delivered the original Student Impact Project for Engineers Alliance for the Arts, which, for more than a decade, continues to connect local engineers to schools in an eight-week curriculum. Kate has a particular professional interest in tapping private economic forces for advancing earthquake risk reduction. She obtained engineering degrees from the University of Minnesota and Stanford University and an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley. She is based in Oakland, CA



and has agreed to serve as the EERI representative on the Global Quake Science and Safety Initiative for Girls.

on the Global Quake Science and Safety Initiative for Girls. Nicole Keller (GEM) Nicole Keller is

Nicole Keller (GEM) Nicole Keller is responsible for GEM’s international relations and communications. She oversees development and deployment of communication tools, supports and empowers the GEM community worldwide in collaboration and promotion, maintains relationships with partners, media and other external organizations. She graduated in International Business Administration in the Netherlands in 2003. Nicole set up and managed an organization executing innovative educational projects on global (development) issues in the Netherlands. After having moved to Italy in 2008, she worked in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility and Marketing/Communication, mainly in the non-profit arena. She is based in Pavia, Italy, and has agreed to serve as the GEM representative on the Global Quake Science and Safety Initiative for Girls.

Elizabeth Cochran (US Geological Survey) Dr. Cochran is a research geophysicist who specializes in developing new, low-cost seismic stations that encourage community involvement in scientific data collection. She is a leader of the Quake Catcher Network that uses low-cost sensor installed in homes, schools, and businesses and encourages the public to participate directly in scientific data collection and research. As an observational seismologist she collects data to study earthquake processes and wave propagation with the goal of improving our understanding of earthquake hazard and risk. As part of her work she has also developed curriculum for teaching earthquake physics at the elementary, high school, and university levels. Elizabeth received a B.S. in Geophysics from University of California, Santa Barbara and a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Geophysics and space physics from the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2010, she was recognized with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), which is the highest honor, bestowed by the United States government on outstanding scientists and engineers in the early stages of their independent research careers. She is based in Pasadena, California and has agreed to serve as the USGS representative on the Global Quake Science and Safety Initiative for Girls.

on the Global Quake Science and Safety Initiative for Girls. Fred Mednick, Ed.D., Teachers Without Borders

Fred Mednick, Ed.D., Teachers Without Borders Founder and Johns Hopkins School of Education Fellow; and Ross S. Stein, Ph.D., Global Earthquake Model cofounder and Scientific Board chair, and USGS geophysicist, will serve as Project Senior Advisors.


Ross Stein +1 650-328-4840

Fred Mednick +1 (206) 623-0394