“Reducing Climate Related Hazards by Upgrading the Physical Environment of a Primary School”
“Reducing Climate Related Hazards by Upgrading the Physical Environment of a Primary School”
The current threat to the focal area is that of gradual creep of overlying soil, rubble and unconsolidated rock towards the lower school edifice. This poses a risk to children and staff in the vicinity of the danger zone during school hours. The effects of climate change, notably heavy downpours over short timescale, i.e. torrential rainfall associated with summer storms and cyclones, will increase the rate of creep and the probability of a catastrophic failure of the slope causing a landslide. This may lead to loss of life and/or cause severe injury to young school children and school staff as well as damage to the school infrastructure.

The current project would involve the laying of a concrete revetment, similar in form to those protecting the upper two steps with, the aim of retaining the overlying soil, rubble and unconsolidated rock, at the danger zone, providing protection against the gradual creep that has been affecting the area over the years. In addition to preventing creep, laying a concrete revetment of sufficient strength will provide protection against catastrophic failure of the slope in case the overlying material becomes saturated with water and can no longer bear its own weight.

The current action will benefit the community by providing protection against loss of life or injury of school children and staff thereby offering a safer environment. It will also provide peace of mind to the school children’s parents and the relatives of school staff. In stabilising the slope and danger zone, such a revetment would open the possibility of rehabilitating the retained slope with endemic and native flora that would enhance the school grounds both aesthetically and ecologically by serving as an endemic garden.

Providing the project is successful, in that the gradual creep of the overlying material is stopped and the slope rehabilitated, it will open the pathway for similar work in other places that are affected by similar problems. Rodrigues is a generally steep island that has been heavily modified to increase the area of usable land. As such, many areas are vulnerable to mass-movements such as rock falls, where road cuts have been done to improve road connections. Few projects have been put in place to overcome such problems despite the fact they can be harmful both to Rodriguans and visitors.

This project will open the path to similar endeavours in other degraded areas that can be rehabilitated with endemic and native flora. The project has already helped parents and stakeholders start thinking in terms of adapting to changes in climate and climate variability. For instance, during the VRA/ sensitisation campaigns, some parents mentioned that though not a priority, in the future, it will be important to equip schools to adapt to potential increases in temperatures (which is what Chicago Public Schools has actually done). Parents also mentioned that dealing with the issue of scarcity of water will be especially important, in the event of more frequent and longer periods droughts, as lack of access to water will affect the hygienic conditions of the school environment.

If this project is successful in keeping climate change adaptation in the awareness of stakeholders, the project can be the first step in making Notre Dame de Lourdes RCA School resilient to climate changes and variability. Over the years, school development projects at Notre Dame de Lourdes will need to target other risks identified during the risk assessment session. This project, if implemented properly, may also serve as a catalyst, to help stakeholders change their behaviour to limit their impact on the planet and turn Notre Dame de Lourdes into a more eco-friendly school.

Not all schools in Rodrigues experience the level of problems that Notre Dame de Lourdes RCA school experiences in terms of soil erosion and potential landslides. However, all schools are vulnerable to risks associated with climate change and variability. For example, all RCEA-run schools are at risk for (and already experience) problems associated with scarcity of water and increasing temperatures. In the near future, these vulnerabilities will need to be addressed. As a result of this project, adaptation to climate change and variability will become part of the planning process of future school development projects in RCEA-run schools.

Furthermore, as there are only a few schools in Rodrigues, projects undertaken in RCEA schools may serve as models for projects to be implemented in other schools and public infrastructures of the island. As an important educational stakeholder, the RCEA Rodrigues can make a case for climate change adaptation to be an important consideration in development projects targeting the educational system in Rodrigues. This project should serve as a stepping stone for changing how development projects are planned so that climate change adaptation becomes an integral part of the planning process.

Given that the project consists primarily of construction, the project will primarily be implemented by a contractor and his/her team. However, the proponents and partner (RCEA) will remain an active part of the project implementation as both will form part of the project implementation committee.
The PTA will provide the following in-kind contribution: clearing of the work site, carrying of materials as there is limited access for vehicles to deliver construction materials directly to the work site, planting of endemic flora on the terraces and providing refreshments during the sensitization campaigns. They will also donate water in the event that there are problems with water distribution. The PTA will also pay for part of the cost of the transport of materials.
The RCEA will cover the costs of transport of materials (with the PTA), construction materials for the staircase, project management (in part) and the fencing. The RCEA will also provide part of the project management in-kind.
The school community will work to improve the environment of the upper level of the school. Rather than prevent erosion and manage the soil in just parts of the school targeted by the project, the school community will be mobilized to perform low costs climate change adaptation activities on the upper level of the school, by replanting small plants in areas that are subject to a high level of erosion and improving the existing retaining walls in these areas of the school, to reduce land loss.
In addition to the above contribution, stakeholders will remain an active part of the project by participating twice during the project in sensitization campaigns. The aim of these campaigns will be to keep climate change adaptation in the consciousness of stakeholders and remind them of the link between the project being implemented and climate change adaptation. Furthermore, these campaigns will also serve as evaluation meetings, whereby the progress of the project implementation and impacts will be evaluated.
“The goals of the project are to upgrade part of the school premises to (i) reduce the risks of landslides, (ii) reduce soil erosion and (iii) improve the use of the land. As the project will also involve substantial manual labor, an additional objective is to provide employment to local workers and thus provide livelihoods to people who are currently unemployed. This project will help us adapt to risks associated with climate change including floods (and resultant mud slides) and droughts (and resultant disintegration of part of the area to be landscaped and increased soil erosion by wind). The project will also help people from economically vulnerable backgrounds anticipate unknown risks associated with climate change, by providing them with economic means to handle changes, through the creation of jobs.”
These outcomes are still part of the current project. However, continued sensitization about climate change has been included as part of the project, to keep climate change adaptation in the consciousness of stakeholders. The overall objective of the project is to increase the resilience of the school environment to adapt to increased risks associated with changes and variability in climate and to build the capacity of people to adapt to risks associated with changes and variability in climate.
 
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Project Snapshot

Grantee:
PTA Notre Dame de Lourdes
Country:
Mauritius
Area Of Work:
Community Based Adaptation
Grant Amount:
US$ 29,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 24,281.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 6,542.00
Project Number:
MAR/SIDS-CBA/Yr1/13/05
Status:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
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Grantee Contact

Mrs Anick Tolbize
Phone: 832 0954
Fax: 831 2142
Email: rcea.rodrigues@gmail.com
 

Address

1, Main Road
Brule , Rodrigues ,

SGP Country office contact

Mrs. Pamela Bapoo-Dundoo
Phone:
(230) 213 53 84
Fax:
(230) 212 14 11
Email:

Address

2nd Floor, Sugar Industry Pension Fund Building, 1 Remy Ollier Street
Port Louis, Mauritius

Country Website