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About Us

Disasters are increasingly becoming frequent, especially due to climate change. It has been found that the youth are disproportionately more likely to be effected. Children who live in poverty are more vulnerable. Within the United Kingdom, 3.5 million children live in poverty.

The Disaster and Development Society (DDS), founded in November 2014, is based out of Northumbria University Student Union which is run by the students on the MSc course, with additional support been offered by the Disaster and Development Network (DDN). The aims are to enhance and support the learning outcomes of the fields of Disaster and Development both within Northumbria University and in the wider community.

  • In July 2015, the DDS and Newcastle Sixth Form College held the first “Disaster Awareness Day”. The event was attended by 60 students from the College and schools in the surround region. 
  • This led to Newcastle Sixth Form College setting up a 'Youth Voice' in Sustainability and Disaster Reduction. They have weekly sessions which are led by DDS members.
  • In addition, the DDS and National Citizen Service (NCS) have held three workshops in both October and November 2015 throughout the North East of England about Disaster Awareness to 16 and 17 year olds.
  • The aim of the sessions with both NCS and the Youth Voice is to challenge the common misconception that disasters are of natural origins, and examine how and why they have underlining anthropogenic causes. In addition, we provide information on disaster preparedness using the Red Cross Preparedness Kit.

Within the “Disaster Awareness Day”, it was found that when asking students to list items associated with disaster, they would list the physical hazard like flooding. However, there was not one associated with the human implications, causes and preparation. An explanation is the British education system mainly focuses on the physical aspect on disasters and not the human aspect.

The Youth Voice at Newcastle Sixth Form College is a group of aspiring young individuals, that provide a youth perspective of international disaster awareness in coordination with the UN on domestic and foreign disasters and demonstrating an understanding on our population powers to limit future occurrences, therefore protecting the people. As a society we have a regular input into there sessions.

The concepts of these events are to develop the disaster and development studies of the MSc and PhD students to undergraduates, A-Levels and school students and then back again. In addition, it allows the youth to have a proactive approach to their learning of Disasters. These aims are constant with UN Sendai Declaration for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, especially in section 36 (a) (ii). Which states:

“Children and youth are agents of change and should be given the space and modalities to contribute to disaster risk reduction, in accordance with legislation, national practice and educational curricula”

Looking to the future, we are going to continue our link with both Newcastle Sixth Form College and National Citizen Service, which we have a permanent slot to teach. Looking beyond that, the aim is to expand our society to other universities and school/colleges with the hope of coordination between different disaster youth voices. In addition, the DDS will be hosting its first conference in Newcastle in October 2016.