Reducing the Risk: Youth Centred Disaster Risk Reduction

Disaster Preparedness for Local Youth

The ‘Reducing the Risk Project’ is aimed at building the capacity of young people aged 12-24 to identify, manage and strengthen their skills, understand the risk of environmental disasters in their communities, and empower them to play a key role in reducing the risk and impacts of future disasters.

The overall objectives of the project are:

  1. To identify community strengths, risks and vulnerabilities through local and regional participation, reducing community exposure to the threats and shocks posed by natural hazards such as bushfires
  2. To promote collaboration across areas in the local community with local government and other stakeholders
  3. To build the capacity for evidence-based decision making and enable locally led and owned place based disaster risk reduction efforts at both local and regional levels.


What challenges is the project addressing?

In the wake of the 2019-20 Black Summer Bushfires the youth of our regional towns were left deeply distressed by the catastrophe that unfolded. This project directly addresses the challenge of overcoming fear by engaging our youth in disaster preparedness exercises, strengthening community connectedness and resilience. 

How will this work?

The project involves a range of different elements and activities to give our young people the opportunity to learn hands on from experts in their field. It is connecting them with like minded individuals, local groups and organisations that speak their language. The youth of today really connect with all things digital, especially video games. Some of our current  programs are:

Gaming Project:

The gaming project has enabled young people to build valuable skills and knowledge in disaster preparedness whilst also building their digital literacy skills in graphic design and technical coding.

Game Design:

 An after school group for local youth to connect, learn and develop their own games. Creating career pathways by increasing technical skills within a supportive environment. A fun activity, designing a game, encouraging creativity, collaboration and growth.


An after school up-cycling workshop.  With donations of working sewing machines and unsaleable or excess clothes from local op-shops these product are re-invented into useful household items such as  shopping bags, tote bags, bath mats, pet mats, Basic skills in machine and hand stitching, are taught while learning resilience, team building and group collaboration. 

Kids Teaching Kids:

This project follows a similar model of learning designed by CERES environmental education centre in Melbourne. Students visit local environmental groups and organisations and participate in a range of environmental and other activities.

The students then develop a digital creation from their learning to be passed on to their peers.


The program is funded by:

  • The Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (DRRF), jointly funded by the NSW Government and the Commonwealth of Australia.
  • Children and Young People Wellbeing Recovery Initiative – Engaging young people in disaster preparedness through gaming
  • FRRR ABC Haywire Youth Innovation Grants Program 

Connection to ECAC’s mission statement

The Eden Community Access Centre (ECAC) is a not-for-profit, community based organisation whose mission is to support people in need. ECAC particularly supports vulnerable populations including low socio-economic, aboriginal, disabled, rural & remote, those experiencing trauma following natural disasters and the aged. It is ECAC’s remit to improve individual and community social and economic wellbeing.

Our young people have lived through three major environmental disasters in recent  years; the Tathra bushfires of 2018, COVID 19 and the ‘Black Summer Bushfires’ 2019-20. This program aims to  reach out to disadvantaged rural and remote young people who were  directly affected by these disasters and empower them to play a key role in reducing the risk and impacts of future disasters.

Who to talk to – Carina Severs

For more information about this project pleae contact Carina Severs.

Carina is the ECAC Manager.

You can email Carina at or phone 02 6496 3970