ROSEAU, Dominica — Just over a year after Hurricane Maria, Dominica is set to enhance post-disaster response, build more climate-resilient schools and empower communities across the country, with the help of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the government of Canada.
On Thursday, CDB’s board of directors approved grant funding to help the country recover from the impact of Hurricane Maria. This will include the rebuilding or rehabilitation of five primary schools in some of the hardest-hit areas of the island. The funding will also cover the government’s premiums for parametric risk insurance for 2018 and 2019 under CCRIF SPC.
The government of Canada will provide CA$8.77 million from the Dominica Climate Resilience and Restoration Fund, which is being administered by CDB. The bank and government of Dominica will also provide the equivalent of CA$396,000 and CA$694,000 to the project respectively.
More than 1,300 students are expected to benefit from the project, which will see the schools rebuilt to the highest model safe school programme standards, in keeping with the government of Dominica’s goal to “build back better.” The construction will also be subject to rigorous climate risk vulnerability assessments.
The physical upgrade of the schools will be complemented by skills training for up to 150 contractors, suppliers and school maintenance staff in climate-resilient construction best practices and school maintenance planning.
Eighty teachers and principals will also learn how to incorporate technology and lessons on climate resilience into their teaching.
Director of projects at CDB, Daniel Best said the project had a dual importance as many schools are not just places of learning but also places of shelter during natural disasters.
“The school system is key to creating climate-resilient infrastructure since educational institutions provide shelter for persons affected by the disaster. We know how important it is for schools to be able to continue the education programme for children, young adults and persons with disabilities in the aftermath of a disaster. CDB is pleased to be able to partner with the government of Canada to support Dominica in rebuilding its schools so that they are climate-resilient and can, among other things, function optimally as community shelters,” Best said.
The project is aligned with the CDB’s strategic objective to support inclusive and sustainable growth and development through promoting environmental sustainability, inclusive of climate change resilience, environmental management and disaster risk management. It is also consistent with the bank’s corporate priority of improving the quality of and access to education and training and citizen security.