What is Periperi U?
Periperi U is a platform for university partnership to reduce disaster risks in Africa. It stands for ‘Partners Enhancing Resilience for People Exposed to Risks’ – with a special focus on advancing university action on risk and vulnerability reduction in Africa.
From 2006-2007 Periperi U began with a ‘pilot-test’ year in four academic institutions located in Algeria, Ethiopia, South Africa and Tanzania. This resulted in six locally relevant risk reduction short courses being conducted by four institutions that reached over 170 practitioners and students – covering a broad portfolio of topics, from seismic vulnerability to community risk assessment.
The clear successes from the pilot year provided confidence for the partnership to expand its activities more broadly across Africa. With the aim of strengthening disaster risk-related teaching and learning capacity in institutions across East, West and Southern Africa, the partnership has now grown to include ten universities from Algiers to Antananarivo, and from Dakar to Bahir Dar.
With a solid foundation and growing demand, partnership members are continuing to develop their formal academic programmes related to disaster risk with the goal of further strengthening skilled human capacity in this field in Africa.
Why the focus on Risk Reduction?
Although Africa is not traditionally viewed as a continent with established capacities in disaster risk reduction, there has been a surge of interest and initiative in risk reduction in recent years. This has been significantly driven by UNISDR (United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction), as well as others, including the ProVention Consortium and a number of non-governmental organisations.
With the global adoption of the Hyogo Framework of Action in 2005, there has also been a welcome policy shift both by external assistance partners and within African countries themselves. There is now an explicit priority on strengthening national and local capacities to sustainably reduce disaster risks. This is accompanied by the recognition that formal education, including national institutions of higher learning within African countries, has a critical role in disaster risk management.
There are now a wide range of formal academic programmes evolving across the continent, in diverse risk management-associated disciplines, and different thematic emphases. Many of these are also at post-graduate level, and provide scope for professional development that is more affordable than studying outside the continent.
Periperi U Goals
Periperi U has provided and continues to: