Running Head: Youth Involvement in Disaster Akeyo, S. 1 The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Youth Involvement in Disaster Management Presentation Paper for the Youth Session at The 5th Annual Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management At the Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, Jamaica By Stephen O. Akeyo, MA, MSA, Ph.
D. Student Indiana University, Indiana- USA December 9, 2010. Running Head: Youth Involvement in Disaster Outline I. II. III.IV. V. Abstract Introduction Current Issues Analysis How I look at the Necessity of Youth Involvement Justification for Involving Youth People a. Fostering a sense of local ownership b. Promoting Individual’s right c. Hand-on Experiences VI. Lesson Learned a. Previous Account of Youth Involvement b. What is being done to address Youth Involvement VII. Recommendations for Good Practices 1. Education and Information sharing 2. Tabletop and Drills Exercises 3. Supporting Youth Programs 4.Youth Direct Research Involvement a. Service-Learning Experience i. Being Disaster Ready ii. Community Service 5. Ongoing Research Study VIII. IX. Conclusion References Akeyo, S. 2 Running Head: Youth Involvement in Disaster I. Abstract Akeyo, S. 3 Can young people perform well when they are involved in disaster preparedness and planning roles? Social norms have often failed to incorporate youth in leadership roles and decision making process even during emergency situations.Sadly, when a disaster strikes in any given community, youth and children are found to represent more than a third of disaster victims, yet their response role in a disaster is generally restricted to that of passive victims. The tremendous contributions that young people can make to disaster management are largely untapped. Involving young people in disaster management can help them learn topics that affect their lives while at the same time gaining hands-on experience designed to equip them become tomorrow better leaders.Any comprehensive disaster management that is designed to incorporate youth in its programs, not only benefits creativity and energy of young people but also in the process strengthens partnerships for resilience. This paper will address current issues affecting disaster management, the role of youth in disaster management, experience and lessons learned from organizations “such as; the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; the 2004 Tsunami disaster that impacted the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia; the 2006 Katrina disaster in New Orleans – U. S.A; and Plan International case study in El-Salvador. This paper will recommend youth involvement in their own community disaster management activities such as table-top exercise tailored into identifying risks; designing community emergency plans as well as their own; exercising a plan; setting up early warning systems; and implementing response; mitigation; and risk reduction plans. Conference participant will be challenged to adopt best practices and be encouraged to conduct further research study and platforms designed to foster youth-adult partnerships for resilience.Running Head: Youth Involvement in Disaster II. Introduction Akeyo, S. 4 Disasters and emergencies such as fires; severe weather; tornadoes; earthquakes; floods; pandemic event; life threatening situation; equipment failure; a cyber-attack or a terrorist attack can strike anywhere at any time with little or no warning. Such disasters and emergencies come with no respect of geographical or national boarders and never occur at convenient times. All emergencies are “local” phenomenon of which young people and children are a part of.Young people and children must therefore be prepared and trained in all matters pertaining to disaster response. They can use this knowledge to save their own lives and even defend their communities’ livelihood. The world population statistic projection given on World Youth Report in 2002 indicated that youth alone without including children and adult at that time comprised nearly 30 percent of the world’s population as it shows in the diagram bellow (UN-New York, 2003): In any disaster, young people and children represents more than a third of disaster victims.Most humanitarian sector restricts these minors involvement to more of being in a Running Head: Youth Involvement in Disaster Akeyo, S. 5 “passive victim” role. Providing youth and children the opportunity to be directly involved in disaster preparedness activities enables them to develop skills that prepared them for any threat that may come. There is evidences of spontaneous rescue efforts done by youth and children which were direct result of prior involvement in rescue missions conducted by youth clubs and organizations such as the Boy’s and Girl’s scouts; Pathfinders Club; and many others alike.Involving young people and children in emergency preparedness activities validates their capacity to be responsible members of their community who thus are entitled to more respect than what is typically extended to them in these types of situations. Youth involvement in planning, decision making and in the implementation of emergency preparedness programs is critical to the long? term success of sustainable disaster management initiatives and community resilience (UN- DSD, 2009).In the past there have been a number of barriers that hinder youth involvement in disaster management; which includes attitudes concerning the abilities of youth compared to experienced adults, and the up-down mode of societal norms. This paper will suggest that involving young people in emergency preparedness activities will promote an increase in the net community resources in confronting emergencies and enhancing community resilience.Furthermore, involving youth in disaster management process would enable disaster responders, managers, community leader, government agencies as well as humanitarian entities to draw on the full range of community resources when disaster strikes. Therefore, there must be a forum that will allow such collaboration to take place. III. Current Issue Analysis We live in communities that are increasingly becoming vulnerable to natural as well as manmade disasters that cause substantial loss of life, economic damage.Disaster = Natural or Running Head: Youth Involvement in Disaster Akeyo, S. 6 manmade hazard + vulnerability. Risk = (hazard x vulnerability)/capacity. Unfortunately, our communities are not well prepared to deal with such disasters when they come as a result of inadequate knowledge or an ability to mitigate and respond to the disaster in due time. As a result, many people lose their lives and properties or find themselves trapped in disaster high spots which they cannot escape without external intervention.Frequently when a disaster strikes, it forces vulnerable communities to temporarily or permanently evacuate the comfort of their homes, neighborhoods, workplace and institutions or confine themselves to their home, leaving them without basic services such as water, gas, electricity, telephones or emergency help. Community vulnerability to disaster can be elaborated better with the bellow (Khan, 2008): Figure – 2. What is Disaster? Vulnerability Disaster Hazard Underlying Causes 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.Limited access to resources Illness and disability Age/Sex Poverty Other Dynamic Pressure Lack of: 1. Institutional training 2. Education/Skills 3. Population growth 4. Urbanization 5. Uncontrolled development 6. Environmental Degradation Unsafe Conditions 1. 2. 3. 4. Dangerous location Dangerous building Low income level Dangerous jobs (police, mines etc. ) Trigger Events 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. Earthquake Tsunamis Floods Cyclones Volcanic -eruptions Drought Landslide War/ Terrorism Technological Accident (Car/Plane etc. Environmental Pollution Disasters accounts for 98 percent of the cumulative number of people affected by natural disasters and 77 percent of total reported economic damage (WMO, 2007). In the least developing countries (LDC) in particular, climate-related disasters accounted for 89 percent of Running Head: Youth Involvement in Disaster Akeyo, S. 7 the total economic damages (WMO, 2007). Most people in developing countries have limited capacity to assess climate risks and lack available weather information required to plan adaptive responses.These people are more likely to be severely affected by climate-related diseases, such as influenza, diarrhea, cholera, meningitis, dengue, and malaria. Weak infrastructure, poor communication networks, shortage in electricity supply, low public awareness, and insufficient resources in many communities and neighborhoods hinders the provision of timely climate and early warning advice, which can delays response efforts causing an impact to become of significant amount (EM-DAT, 2009). IV.How I look at The Necessity of Youth Involvement Though disasters are local phenomenon, in these modern days their devastating impact can be felt beyond borders of impacted nations in terms of human, material losses or the flow of refugees. It is therefore important that the disaster reduction efforts be addressed in a multilateral and comprehensive way. These unforeseen disasters require immediate, coordinated and effective response by multiple government agencies, volunteers, relief agencies and private sector in order to meet human needs and speed recovery efforts.Comprehensive disaster management and emergency preparedness should be based on the concept of active young people’s participation in all phases of the disaster cycle. Rather than seeing disaster-affected youth as victims or passive recipients of outside assistance, good disaster management must recognize the value of including them in the planning process. There is no better resource in a community than young people. It may be easier to obtain funding for projects and related disaster preparedness programs, but without sufficient community resources in place, disaster preparedness and risk reduction are not possible.Resource building enhances Running Head: Youth Involvement in Disaster Akeyo, S. 8 community capability and provides positive response to various emergencies; reduce disaster risks, and helps foster confidence, dignity, and resilience. It is a fact that when a disaster strikes, local people are the first to respond, before any other outside agencies arrives to and assist in recovery efforts. Many of these first responders who struggle to save lives with limited resources at their disposal before more help arrives to take assist are energetic young people.Sometimes local elders may know which members of their community are hardest hit, and what kind assistance is appropriate for them, but they will ask young people to give them help. Young people must therefore be included, trained and empowered to carryout disaster prevention, preparation, and planning and response efforts. V. Justification for Involving Young People a. Fostering a Sense of Local Ownership Traditionally disaster management has been dominated by top-down relief efforts that assume children and youth are passive victims with no role in disaster preparedness.Involving youth in disaster preparedness process not only benefits them, their families, and communities, but also contributes to grassroots empowerment which boosts levels of ownership within their overall disaster preparedness plan. Research has indicated that when young people receive preparedness training they are more likely to act wisely and protect themselves against abuse; exploitation and illegal drug trafficking (UNICEF, 2007). b.Fostering Youth’s Ability to Act In life it is very hard to maintain a positive mindset when people have no faith in you. Youth are an enormous pool of energy, talent, and enthusiasm eager to contribute to society. The time has come whereby young people’s ability as agents of change must be recognized. There some unique abilities and skills that young people alone can bring to the table, such as Running Head: Youth Involvement in Disaster Akeyo, S. 9 intercultural communication and innovative use of technology (ICRC, 2010).Many have made a difference in their neighborhoods, schools and even at the national level by address safety issues and seek solution for the existing problems (NCPC, 2001). Youth possess unique strengths, which are enhanced by community support and collaboration. Given opportunity to as participants and not observers will to introduce them and get to be part disaster management agencies within their local communities, across their borders and around the world. Compared to adult, many youth are trained in public speaking, ournalism, intercultural music and dance, communication, cultural harmony. Young people already have power; of being united through social networks such as MySpace, twitters, Facebook and they will use it interact in a very short time. Youth can influence easily their peers to be disaster ready. Adult mentors should work closely with youth in an effort to incorporate their ability and talent in disaster management process. c. Promoting Individual’s Rights Although our social norms have such often portrayed young people as dependent and helpless victims in emergencies.In practice, however, the reverse often applies and youth commonly have far more options open to them than do adults. The notion that excluding young people from direct involvement in calamities helps protects their well-being and trauma that adult face is undermining their resilience and coping in the context of adversity. Around the globe young people have proven to be faster in responding and volunteering in relief efforts when disaster strikes (Perren-Klingler, 1996). Young people want to be part of the big picture in making contribution that makes a difference and changing lives.It is the right of young people and children to be recognized and be interacted with as dignified humans rather than treating them just as vulnerable and helpless disaster victims who are only objects of charity. They Running Head: Youth Involvement in Disaster Akeyo, S. 10 should be encouraged to use their potential to become agents of change globally. Their ideas and energies can be put into good use. The idea of involving youth and encouraging their participation in risk reduction measures is in line with international commitments which legally bind the signatory states to observe the rights of children and youth (Silbernagl, 2010).Like adults, young people also have a right to participate in decisions and efforts to address disaster management and risk reduction within their communities. Their rights include being trained and supported in understanding and making positive contributions to matter that affect their livelihood. This is in line with articles 6, 12 and 13 of the international legal framework set under the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, which upholds children’s rights to (Plan, 2005). d. Hands-on Experience Involving young people in disaster planning provides opportunities to reach beyond our traditional “top-down relief efforts. This becomes a link that equips young people to take on new roles and become active agents of change. Most jobs nowadays require applicants to have some experiences which are technically not taught theoretically in college class rooms. There must an employer who will be willing to offer an opportunity to on the job training. The inexperienced young people likewise need mentors in disaster preparedness process who are willing to work closely with them by involving them in active roles that gives them hands-on experience to eventually fill-in the shoes of their adult mentors when they are no longer available for duty.Adult and youth can learn from each other. Blending experiences of adult to young people new ideas and innovations works better as playing flat (white) and sharp (black) keys on the piano. There will be always unquestionable wisdom, experience and knowledge which can Running Head: Youth Involvement in Disaster Akeyo, S. 11 only be found from the adult (Old School). However, young people may also have skills such as foreign languages, technology that adults do not have, or are challenged in mastering.Adult mentors must therefore pass-on the touch of qualities in their young mentee. If they can let go of their tight control, be patient, and trust the process, mentoring will become more effortless and enjoyable, and will be responding to recommendations from the research on resilience and on nurturing success stories. It is important that mentors must realize they are making a difference in the lives of young people by creating inside-out social change. This is preparing future leaders, who are disaster resilient, compassionate, and job ready and good citizens.Thus, the united effort of young and old will result in strength, while diversity may only hinder the effort of the desired community resilience when disaster strikes. VI. Lesson Learned a. Previous Account of Youth Involvement The contributions young people have made in emergency response within their own communities are easily traced to such incidents as the Indonesia Tsunami of December 26, 2004. Consider the incredible story of Tilly Smith, an 11 year-old from England, vacationing with family when tsunami occurred. This proves how prior lesson she learned about tsunamis in geography class was used to save lives of many.When she noticed strange behavior of the sea on the morning of the tsunami, she convinced over 100 people to leave the beach before the struck minutes later (Randall, 2005). Another example involves a number of young people who actively participated in saving the lives of others, often times putting their own lives in jeopardy, until the international relief workers and emergency responders could arrive. “These young people all over the affected region took action, helping to distribute aid, assisting with clean-up and rebuilding efforts, looking after those younger than them, and using their creativity to letRunning Head: Youth Involvement in Disaster Akeyo, S. 12 others know about the devastation (ISDR, 2005). During this stressful disaster, a call went out in the Maldives – “Whoever can help, please come. ” Each volunteer was given an age-appropriate task. Many adults stayed away but the young people came forward. When a psychosocial counselor was sent to concentrate on possible problems with young people, she couldn’t find anyone. “They were all working,” she said (UNICEF, 2007). Another example of youth involvement in a disaster comes from hurricane Katrina.Hurricane Katrina which made landfall on August 29, 2005 and resulted in death of over 1,000 citizens and caused approximately 80 percent of flooding to the city of New Orleans within 18 hours (U. S. White House, 2006). Shortly after the disaster occurred, a group of young people for the Vietnamese American Association of Louisiana took an active role in assisting the Vietnamese community with evacuation, relief and recovery efforts (Leong, 2006). They were also able to translate information from formal English sources (i. e. FEMA and American Red Cross) to their non-English speaking family members in order to pass on important messages such as the location of evacuation safe places, relief supplies and food distribution centers, and registration for FEMA assistance. During the recovery period, these young people were instrumental in boosting morale among the younger children and bringing attention to other risks affecting their community. Plan International has mobilized children and youth in El Salvador, Central America, to play a significant role in environmental resources management and disaster risk reduction.The children and youth have worked with their communities in developing risk maps, designing community emergency plans, setting up early warning systems, and implementing response, mitigation and risk reduction plans, among other activities. Plan International’s experience in El Salvador has already been replicated in other Central American countries (UNISDR, 2007). Running Head: Youth Involvement in Disaster b. What has been done to Address Youth Involvement? Akeyo, S. 13 There some few steps done by various disaster management organizations that are significant initiatives in addressing youth involvement in disaster management.One agency that involves youth in local community disaster and emergency preparedness is the U. S. Federal Emergency Management agency (FEMA) which is tasked with planning. This agency provides an in-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness course on its website (FEMA, 2009). Another major provider of disaster management worldwide is the International Red Cross- Red Crescent Society. This agency is active in mobilizing youth to take active part in disaster situation to help their neighbors across their own streets, across the country, and across the world each year.In developing countries, evidence of youth platforms that address disaster management is taking place. On October 27-29, 2010 in the eastern African country of Kenya, youth held a national wide youth convention to campaign for disaster management initiatives. This conference held in the city of Nairobi was an example active platform that were held to mobilize and build capacity of youth and prepared them to respond to climate change and environmental degradation.Conference participants attest that it was a perfect opportunity that was used well by the organizers to include youth in disaster management and decision making process in the effort to address climate change at local, national, regional, and continental level (Tuwei, 2010). In country of Uganda, youths have appealed to decision makers to involve them, at all levels, in the effort to address the climate change under the theme, “Time for Action”. Director and Head of the Youth Affairs Division at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Dr.Fatiha Serour said, “International Youth Day gives the world an opportunity to recognize the potential of youth and celebrate their achievements” (Kigonya, 2010). In the Caribbean, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Running Head: Youth Involvement in Disaster Akeyo, S. 14 must be commended for introducing and involving 16 member countries for youth disaster management activities during their annual Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) Conference in 2009.This initiative of CDEMA will promote youth involvement in various communities they represent and the overall disaster management development in that region. Likewise, Pan International mobilized youth in El-Salvador to play a significant role in environmental resources management and disaster risk reduction (DRR). This initiative is currently benefiting their community through a joint taskforce of youth-adult in developing risk maps, designing community emergency plans, setting up early warning systems, and implementing response, mitigation, and risk reduction plans, among other activities (Plan International, 2007).In 2010, Plan International facilitated 54 focus groups across Haiti, where young people had the opportunity to discuss the impact of the earthquake on their individual lives, and what they needed most in the recovery process; and to share their hopes and dreams for the future of their country. It is reported that the youth were enthusiastic to be involved in the rebuilding of their country, and wanted to take part in the work being set out towards a prosperous future for Haiti (PLAN, 2010).Lastly, the 2007 national meeting on “Policy Advocacy for Enhancing Community Resilience to Natural Disasters Focusing on Children and Youth” held in Jakarta, Indonesia was held to address the importance of involving young people in the disaster management process (UN-ESCAP, 2007). VII. Recommendation for Good Practices A study done by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) suggested that social capital was the predictor of more effective human functioning, stronger institutions and community resilience (Diaz, 2008).Furthermore, strengthening individual, community and private sectors in disaster preparedness has both and strategic value (Flynn, 2010). Therefore, Running Head: Youth Involvement in Disaster Akeyo, S. 15 good practices that can help include young people in the emergency management process can be successfully achieved by following these recommendations: 1. Education and Information Sharing Generally, young people are not aware of what emergency response leaders and relief agencies may expect them to do or know when a disaster occurs. Such information is critical to successful emergency preparation and disaster response and recovery efforts.Information sharing is a principal component of an effective emergency management strategy to help a community improve its level of preparedness, response capabilities, and resilience. Youth forums, conferences and workshop are the best example of information sharing. Participants can pass relevant information to their peers, by sharing of knowledge or information and training obtained. Relevant information shared with young people on disaster risks will unify communities and promote a culture of disaster readiness and collaboration at all levels that include disaster experts, responders and other stakeholders (ISDR, 2005).However, all information collected must be analyzed for accuracy, authenticity and urgency before incriminated to the targeted individuals. Local communities should provide disaster and emergency preparation and response training programs to all citizens; especially youth designed community training programs promote citizens to take personal responsibility in preparing for and responding to a disaster. Sufficient staff should be trained in working with youth and children so that they may understand and recognize the importance of their participation in disaster response, relief and recovery efforts.Disaster training for children and youth should include age-appropriate lessons in preparing for emergencies, response behaviors, CPR and basic first aid, water safety, and basic child care. Educational leaders can develop school-based curriculums that address these topics. Running Head: Youth Involvement in Disaster Akeyo, S. 16 Furthermore, NGOs and church-based organizations can also be used to help provide disaster preparedness training to young people as well. Training youth and children in disaster preparedness activities before an emergency occurs helps them to survive and provide assistance to others. . Tabletop and Drill Exercises Planning is the key! Necessity of planning can be illustrated by the famous a story of four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. “There was an important job to be done and Everybody was invited to do it. Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Infact, Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that. Everybody wouldn’t do it.It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done” (Unknown Author). The tabletop exercise is essentially a group brainstorming session centered on a scenario narrative and problem statements or messages that are presented to key players in emergency response. Tabletop exercise can be utilized to increase youth awareness of risks that surround them, (Strength, weaknesses and Opportunity and Threats) and how they can better prepared to deal with them before disaster happens.This will help not only the young people but also the emergency coordinators in examining response capabilities, and evaluate coordination with other agencies e. g. Law enforcement, emergency responders, establish closer working relationships and within local and outside coordination. Tabletop exercise can also be used to acquaint the young people on the policies, procedures, roles, communication and responsibilities before, during, or after the simulated event. Youth mentors must work with the youth to decide whether do a full-scale exercise that involves local first responders and professional moderators or just aRunning Head: Youth Involvement in Disaster Akeyo, S. 17 simple affair conducted by in-house disaster planners and youth in training. The scenario can also be discussed on how much gloom and doom you want your tabletop exercise should look like (i. e. Involving injured people, property destruction etc. ). This will help both the adult and their mentee to test how quickly they can pull together key players. This exercise process will provide a less stressful, more time effective method when the actual emergency happens. 3.Supporting Youth Programs Every community, emergency managers and responders should work with new as well as existing youth organizations to address the local issues, concerns and proposal for success. If community has several youth groups, it can be helpful to assign each on with specific roles and responsibilities which will make them expert in their trained response role. Emergency personnel must develop such caring relationships not only between adultyoung people but also between youth-youth, emergency responder-emergency responder, and emergency personnel-community.Teachers and mentor should reflect personally on their beliefs about resilience, and also, as a staff, exchange experiences-both personal and literary- about overcoming the odds (Resiliency In Action, Inc. , 2007). Such relationship and opportunities for active youth involvement: small group process, cooperative learning, peer helping, cross-age mentoring, and community service makes participants feel to belong to “a family,” “a home,” “a community. 4. Youth Direct Involvement a. Service-learning Experience i. Being Disaster ReadyIt is very important to know that, if one cannot take care of them self, it will be impossible to take care of others. Youth can be given individual training that will help them be Running Head: Youth Involvement in Disaster Akeyo, S. 18 mentally and emotionally prepared to act promptly and to develop in them the ability to take care for themselves, and applying practical survival skills as needed. Individual training must include being informed of disasters that are most likely to occur in their community, be helped to develop and practice their response plan and get survival kits.In most situations, disasters impact is felt by the whole family. Youth can be trained on how to they can be involved in their own family’s emergency plan. Youth must know how to work as a team of their respective families in learning basic emergency skills and how to react when faced with fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, explosions, warning signals, fallout protection, terrorism attacks, and other emergency situations. ii. Community Service Youth can be trained according to their capabilities to take active role in the community response plan.Such activities as, volunteering to provide health care and first aid services in reception centers, homeless shelters, food bank, care for elderly in nursing homes, helping at respite centers or child care facilities, can be good experiences for the youth. They can also be involved in evacuation of casualty from the scene of the event, transportation of ill, injured, infirm to reception or medical facilities. Service-learning experiences engage young responders in the educational process, using what they learn in the classroom to solve real-disaster scenarios.Such a practice will promote confidence and experience in their over role performances and in adherence procedures and policy. By rendering disaster management services to the community, youth will eventually improve skills necessary for civic action: leadership, communication, decision-making, problem solving, teamwork, relationship building, planning and organizing, concern for others. They also increase their knowledge about their communities and gain confidence, interest andRunning Head: Youth Involvement in Disaster Akeyo, S. 19 motivation and in working for their communities. Moreover, young people engaged in disaster management activities gain skills in leadership, problem solving. b. Ongoing Research Study Disaster management is an applied science that needs constant scientific research, theory testing and updates. Young research should be identified and be involved in meaningful research design and implementation of research roles especially in issues that affect their lives.They should be empowered to collect data and report on information to raise awareness of a problem and/or advocate for change in the condition underlying the community need (for example, youth analyze a community’s emergency preparedness plan and offer suggestions for how to improve the plan). This learning opportunity will enable young researcher to provide their insights, talents and perspectives in their own environment, appropriate to their level of development and expertise. For better results, emergency managers must therefore partner ith these young researchers, students as well as other professionals worldwide across multiple disciplinary perspectives of emergency management to develop and promote solutions that bridge the theoretical and practical applications of comprehensive emergency management. A wellintegrated youth-adult research study will lead to innovative tools and applications that empower the local, national and international communities, create a context for partnerships, and generate research findings that can be used for future disaster management interventions and improvements in ongoing practices. VIII. ConclusionThis initiative to involve youth and to promote youth engagement is not an easy task. While youth have historically been recipients of basic personal safety education in emergency preparedness, they have not been included in community wide preparedness activities. However, that may be changing. Ever rising emergencies and disasters are a reality that all must face Running Head: Youth Involvement in Disaster Akeyo, S. 20 together. It is important to recognize that youth engagement initiatives, collaboration and partnerships in disaster management have multiple payoffs that save lives and promotes resilience in difficult times.Moreover, involving young people who are involved in disaster preparedness will bring a revolutionary change in society. The youth of today will become leaders and parents of tomorrow, which will ensure that they pass this knowledge to their children. Making disaster preparedness a societal practice can as a result be passed on from generation to generation. Youth involvement in disaster management will therefore succeed only if they are given. Adult mentor may run up against complex, messy, and difficult problems while molding the youth. Sometimes they may even be discouraged and give up the task.Likewise, the young may think the older mentors’ ideas or approaches are not proper and primitive which may result into conflicts. The truth is, every good outcome requires hard work, a sustained commitment to working as a team, and a willingness to listen and learn from each other. Developing trusting relationships between young people and adults does not happen overnight; but with sustained engagement and guidance, young and old can work shoulder by shoulder to prepare and respond to disaster when it happens (Pearson, 2010). R