The Cluster Strategy

An option to create the sustainability and to ensure continuity and continuance of pilot projects is to incorporate the strategy of clustering. 1. Clusters Strategy: a. The challenge is how to expand within the pilot scheme, still using the centrally chosen school as the pilot but from which a coordinated group of schools are involved with and learn from. Clustering can occasionally be seen as naturally occurring within the field. During recent floods in Indonesia within the Jakarta region, schools and school children communicated between schools within a flooding zone, which the children at the higher end of the flood zone monitoring rising waters and rainfalls so when the waters reached a certain level a warning was sent to the schools in the lower flood zone most likely to be affected. Meanwhile all of the schools within the communication cluster engaged a common DR strategy of preparedness including, communication within the community, drills for evacuation and infrastructure preparedness Consequently this case study identifies that the concept remains feasible for the following reasons. b. Share resources. Individual schools within remote country regions or towns and city districts can, by clustering on a day to day basis in small groups of three to five, share resources be it with administration, personnel, materials purchase or technical expertise and skilled workforce or simply communication. One this will improve ‘purchasing power’ and by sharing central ‘resource’ control, be it with personnel or materials will avoid wastage and enable continued constant coverage within management or supply or communication. c. Sharing of knowledge. More importantly for the purpose of this document if we address Disaster Risk Reduction strategies, then clustering also comes to the fore enabling sharing of knowledge, experience, design integration, maintenance scheduling and initiative / project administration. d. Capacity Build. There is a need to ensure that at policy implementation level, capacity build is properly resourced and given a full agenda with action plan to encompass all aspects of training the Trainers and teaching the Teacher which ensure dissemination throughout the professional community. This approach is far more easily achieved within the clustering of schools and communities, quickening the process of dissemination into the wider region, creating self support between communities experiencing similar challenges and hazard vulnerabilities. e. Cost effective. The cluster offers the opportunity to create a fuller business plan for developing pilot projects enabling the incorporation of a capacity building strategy. Clustering is cost effective by requiring only one set of craftsmen within the cluster, but doesn’t neglect dissemination of skills into the community.

The Cluster Strategy
f. Efficiency. Project management becomes more efficient creating a project team from all of the schools within the cluster; as it is unlikely that one community around a school will have all the necessary expertise, momentum or enthusiasm to cover all basis thoroughly. g. Plan and prioritise. Clustering also allows at strategic level the opportunity for Governance to plan and prioritise within multiple hazard environments far more quickly; clustering also allows for the ‘pilot’ process to develop systematically from the initial ‘test case’ to all within the cluster and will encourage the development of ownership. h. Early warnings. Also clustering as identified within the field example, can encourage communities to incorporate a proactive strategy of early warnings, coordinated DR preparedness and community ownership and awareness within multiple hazard environments. i. During recovery from crisis there will be an immediate affiliation within the clustered communities to share resources, recovery support and communicate with and assist those most in need. Summary: The concept of clustering schools for DRR initiatives has not been proven nor scientifically tested in the field. However the concept remains feasible for the following reasons. Individual schools within remote country regions or towns and city districts can, by clustering on a day to day basis in small groups of three to five, share resources be it with administration, personnel, materials purchase or technical expertise and skilled workforce. This will improve ‘purchasing power’ and by sharing central ‘resource’ control be it with personnel or materials will avoid wastage and enable continued constant coverage. More importantly for the purpose of this document if we address Disaster Risk Reduction strategies, then clustering also comes to the fore enabling sharing of knowledge, experience, design integration, maintenance scheduling and initiative / project administration. The cluster offers the opportunity to create a fuller business plan for retrofit projects enabling the incorporation of a capacity building strategy. Clustering is cost effective by requiring only one set of craftsmen within the cluster, but doesn’t neglect dissemination of skills into the community. Project management becomes more efficient creating a project team from all of the schools within the cluster; as it is unlikely that one community around a school will have all the necessary expertise or momentum to cover all basis thoroughly. Clustering also allows at strategic level the opportunity for Governance to plan and prioritise within multiple hazard environments; clustering also allows for the ‘pilot’ process to develop systematically from the initial school to all within the cluster and will encourage the development of ownership. Garry de la Pomerai 03/09

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