Establishing a Baseline of school safety practices using RapidPro real-time SMS technology in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Launched: February 2017

By Elliot McBride Innovation Specialist, UNICEF Pakistan

This report was written to disseminate results from a census of government schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Its aim was to measure both school safety confidence and safety practices, as well as measuring the impact that safety practices have on comfort around emergency preparedness. The relationship between safety training and perceived emergency preparedness was also measured to determine training effectiveness. Furthermore, existing School Safety Plans (School safety plans) will be measured against preparedness. All data taken from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been geographically plotted by Tehsil which is a subdivision of a district. This measurement was taken to give a more accurate geographical distribution of collected data. The results will also be compared to recent emergencies in order to examine regional perceptions of preparedness based on previous disasters.

Pakistan’s extensive history with disasters is the basis of this confidence and safety practice assessment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This baseline assessment was designed to serve a dual purpose. First, it analyses the levels of confidence and habits surrounding safety in schools and compares those metrics with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where disasters occurred between 2005 and 2015. Second, it provides pre-intervention measurements for any potential impact evaluation on safety training due to be given to schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Following safety preparedness training given to schools, a follow up survey can be distributed, using the pre training survey results as an initial measurement for training impact.

Previously, feedback on safety programming could only be collected during active training, whether through focus group discussions (FGDs) or other activities conducted in the field. This method leaves a time gap between the programme and incorporation of the feedback that is received. Incorporation of RapidPro technology allows a real time information component to be included from a distance so that preparations can be made to future initiatives based on user feedback prior to delivery, not after programme implementation. A key part of the “Transformative Agenda” introduced by the Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASC) in July 2012, which sought to reform humanitarian interventions, is “accountability to affected populations,” including principles such as transparency, feedback and complaint resolution”. This RapidPro initiative is positioned to maximize the line of communication between the beneficiary and UNICEF through the collection and dissemination of real time information.

UNICEF Pakistan is now using RapidPro as an innovative way to monitor programmes in real-time. The survey was successfully completed by 3842 school focal points across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Respondents self-selected in either English or Urdu. Results of incomplete surveys were also included.