Teachers Without Borders’ Girls Earthquake Science and Safety Initiative

Founded in 2000, non-profit organization Teachers Without Borders (TWB) was founded on the prospect of spreading peace education methods worldwide. It is run by educators and local leaders who aim to provide educational resources for disadvantaged students around the world, by providing strengthened curricula and materials (i.e.: textbooks, technology, and community building, among several other factors).

Content: The Girls’ Earthquake Science and Safety Initiative is a joint project administered by TWB, The Global Earthquake Model, The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, and the U.S. Geological Survey. This program combines geological science and earthquake education to empower young women within the classroom. It aim to build educational prowess and self-esteem from the ground-up for all students that it serves.

Context: This program aims to educate 100,000 young women in Central and Southern Asia, regions prone to earthquakes. It is currently implemented to serve students and educators in nations such as Tajikistan, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. An instructor with a strong engineering background is put into each of the schools to help administer the process. The initiative is fiscally conducive, and only costs 60 USD per enrolled student.

Implementation: Mentors ask students to survey a million buildings within the school’s community. The curriculum is applicable to students at the primary, intermediate and secondary levels. Additionally, specific curricula have been tailored to fit each community within the initiative. Students become earthquake prevention literate, in addition to getting a stronger science background.

How this program is used: TWB sends a collective of earthquake measuring tools along with the mentor. This allows students to fully participate and glean the greatest amount of knowledge from these lessons. The curriculum is divided into 12 different units. There are corresponding textbook readings and activities for each unit. Each activity is hands-on, and teaches students to apply the information from the text to create an innate understanding of the lesson plan. After each unit is covered, students participate in an extensive codification art and literacy project to show the extent of their knowledge.

Goals: The Girls’ Earthquake Science and Safety Initiative aims to not only fill the gaps that lack from these students’ educations in both earthquake preparedness and sciences, but to actually use the research conducted by the students to help with earthquake prevention in their communities. Additionally, it intends to empower young women with the hope that young women in these communities have the confidence to perhaps lead within a field that is consistently dominated by men.

Audience: Students and educators in areas that are also prone to caustic national disasters could definitely benefit from a similar curriculum for their students. Additionally, anyone interested in the peace education process, or interested in creating an empowering environment for female students to gain self-esteem, communication and critical analysis skills would definitely be interested in this curriculum.

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