CDM schools disaster competition unearths talents

The Capricorn District Municipality gave learners from eight school a platform to debate disaster risk reduction in the competition that was held in Polokwane on Thursday.  

Groups of three learners each ascended the stage to impress the judges on their understanding of disaster management, legislation, measures to mitigate the effects of disaster, among others. CDM partnered South African Weather Service, South African Red Cross Society, Department of Education, National and Provincial Disaster Managements Services and the local municipalities within the district – to involve schools in building disaster-conscious and disaster-resilient communities. These learners were drawn from schools that were adopted during the municipality’s back-to-school programme.

The competition started in October 2018 where learners worked in groups to write an essay on “Reducing economic losses from disasters  has the power to transform lives”. After rigorous adjudication, they  then made it to the oral phase to represent Malebogo Secondary School in Blouberg, SJ Van der Merwe Technical in Lepelle-Nkumpi, Sefoloko Secondary School in Molemole, and Malusi Secondary School in Blouberg. 

Prizes up for good performance included best essay will today receive prizes such as R20 000, Best oral (R30 000), 2nd runner up for oral (R20 000), 3rd runner up for oral (R12 000) and 4th runner up for oral (R8000) plus trophies, certificates and medals.

MMC Cllr Jara Masubelele said putting disaster risk reduction on the agenda of schools will ensure that learners will champion and pass it on amongst their peers and ultimately families, in order to make a difference in their communities. “Research into the topics of this project will expose them to knowledge about ways to avoid human induced disasters such as fire accidents and unsafe electrical wirings in our homes. This project will also empower them with wisdom on how to stay combat-ready to mitigate the effects of disasters, as well knowledge about stay resilient to disasters”, he said, adding that ultimately, their articulation of topics as well as “their contestation of ideas will give us an insight into problems, findings, analysis, and therefore find innovative lasting solutions to disaster risk reduction”, he said.

Presentation of their papers were intrinsically based on individual school contexts which allowed learners to research and identify risks that potentially expose their schools to disasters after which they took questions from the panel of judges. Masubelele expressed hope that the competition would evoke some passion for learners to consider careers in disaster management, firefighting, EMS and meteorology. “This is because, the project exposes you to the glitters of working in the field”, he said.

At the end of the session, SJ Vander Merve  Secondary school was crowned the overall winners.

 

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