A well-informed population is less exposed to the risks of volcanic eruptions

Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, 28th July 2015 – In 2002, an eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano destroyed 13% of the town of Goma and the Nyiragongo territory, to the East of the DRC.

Goma is not far from the Virunga volcanic region, located between Lake Kivu and the volcanoes Nyiragongo and Nyamulagira, the latter of which erupts nearly every year.


The impact of these eruptions on infrastructure often disturbs economic, social and educational activities. Many cases of accidents caused by a lack of preventative measures have been registered by the Goma Volcano Observatory (GVO).

The commitment of the EPSP Ministry to this program is crucial.

In 2014, an educational programme on the reduction of risks from natural disasters was put in place in Goma schools and their periphery by the Ministry of Primary, Secondary and Professional Education (EPSP), in collaboration with UNICEF.

On 20 July 2015, the Head of the UNICEF Eastern Zone Office, Thierry Dentice, put to the Provincial Minister for primary, secondary and professional education in North-Kivu, a strong case for reinforcing education in terms of prevention of risks linked to natural disasters, particularly volcanic eruptions.

To encourage and seek greater involvement from the Ministry of EPSP in this program, Mr. Dentice presented three beautiful frames bearing photos showing the participation of Mrs Adèle Bazizane, the provincial Minister of Education in North Kivu, engaged in informative activities on volcanic eruptions within the framework of this project.

Le Chef du bureau UNICEF Zone Est et Madame Adèle Bazizane, Ministre Provinciale de l’Enseignement primaire, secondaire et professionnel du Nord-Kivu.

The Head of the UNICEF Eastern Zone Office, Thierry Dentice, and Mrs. Adèle Bazizane, Provincial Minister of Primary, Secondary and Professional Teaching of Nord-Kivu.

“UNICEF and the EPSP launched the second phase of this important project in September in the city of Sake. The involvement of the DRC government in the project contributed to the success of the first phase“, Thierry Dentice stated.

Inform teachers and students to protect populations

It should be noted that during the first phase of the programme, an educational manual was developed; 26 school inspectors and 576 school teachers in the city of Goma and the Nyiragongo territory received safety training, and 86 schools were trained in the preventive measures related to volcanic hazards in the city of Goma and the territory of Nyiragongo.

During the same phase, a photographic exhibition was organised simultaneously at 3 sites across the city of Goma to raise awareness among the wider population. Educational tools (comics, flyers, posters, safety training material) were produced.

This programme gives young children the opportunity to understand how volcanoes work, to know what to do in the case of a volcanic eruption, and above all to pass this information on to their families. The programme affects children on one hand, and parents on the other,” said Dario Tedesco, a professor at the Second University of Naples and at the OVG (Goma Volcano Observatory), one of the project’s partner organisations.

The Minister assured the involvement of her Ministry in this programme which she considers important for the prevention of risks related to natural disasters in school environments.

Receiving these photos makes me happy. Raising awareness, especially among our little ones in primary school, on the risks posed by volcanoes, on living with volcanoes and also knowing the advantages of volcanoes being present, is a project which I encourage. This is why I have asked the Head of the UNICEF Eastern Zone Office, Thierry Dentice, to duplicate these activities in all schools across the city of Goma and its outskirts,” declared the Minister.

Thanks to this programme, the population is well-informed, and knows what steps must be taken to reduce danger.

Photos: UNICEF DRC/2015/Kelvin Batumike (Dario Tedesco for the volcan photo)

Kindly translated from French by Heather Robinson

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Kelvin Batumike

Ancien Enfant Reporter et passionné par la défense des droits des enfants,Kelvin Batumike s'est donné pour mission de promouvoir les talents des jeunes afin de leur permettre de prendre leurs responsabilités pour le développement du pays.

Former Child Reporter and avocating for children’s rights since a very young age , Kelvin Batumike has taken it upon himself to promote young people and their talents so as to enable them to assume their responsibilities for the development of the DR Congo.

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