In April this year the Portuguese CUIDAR team carried out its first set of consultations with children in a primary school in the centre of Lisbon. Two 4th grade classes (children between 9 and 10 years old) were chosen to pilot the workshop scheme.
In the first session, children watched a short video about climate change and played a game of matching photos and definitions of 20 types of disasters. They then identified the ones related to climate change impacts and established the connection between climate change and different types of disaster. The participants then discussed and chose the most relevant risks for Portugal and for their home city. Debates with the children about the concepts of disaster, risk reduction, climate change impacts and adaptation permeated these activities. At the end of the session, the children were asked to conduct interviews at home, with parents, siblings and neighbours, about recent extreme climate events in Lisbon.
In the second session, children explored the timelines, consequences and intervening agents of the climate events evoked by their parents. The concepts of vulnerability, resilience, prevention and preparedness, response and recuperation were introduced. Based on the information collected, each class chose one type of risk to work on: floods and storms in one case and heat waves in the other. Working in groups, children then came up with actions and measures for risk reduction before, during and after a disaster, in the context of their home, school and community.
In the third session children chose how to communicate their key ideas and actions and created a presentation to convey their messages on risk reduction of floods and heat waves. Two videos, a play, a game, a magazine, and several posters were produced. The children continued improving their communication materials with their teachers and the team then returned to see the result of their work. At the end of this year, the children will present their messages in a school event to their peers, teachers and families.
Following this first set of consultations with the younger children the Portuguese CUIDAR team then went on to conduct consultation workshops with two classes of 9th grade teenagers in the same school.