Frequently Asked Questions

What is this Knowledge Shop all about?

The idea of a disaster risk reduction knowledge shop was conceived after the Southern Africa offie of OFDA/USAID identified a need for training material similar to that used since the 1990s as part of the UNDP Disaster Management Training Programme. Mr. Harlan Hale of OFDA/USAID and Prof. Dewald van Niekerk of the ACDS envisaged a body of knowledge that will not only inform disaster response and recovery but focus on cross-sectoral disaster risk reduction issues as well. The initial project aimed to develop ten modules but was soon expanded to 37, and yet again to a total of 50 modules. Unique to this project was the innovative copyright and open access idea. Disaster risk is a societal problem and knowledge necessary for its reduction and elimination should also be open for all. Furthermore, it was hoped that the idea of open access and use will stimulate local adaptation and application of the various knowledge products. With this in mind it was decided to publish all of the knowledge products under a Creative Commons licence. We aim to constantly add and expand this disaster risk reduction body of knowledge.

How do I use this shop?

You will have to be a registered user of this website. This registration is free. You can freely download and distribute any of the Knowledge Products on our site.

How do I use the products?

Our Knowledge Products can be used in a variety of ways. We have placed very little restriction on the use of the materials. Feel free to use the material as foundational material for a short course, part of an existing curriculum or subject, professional development, new programme development or for a new qualification. You can mix and match, copy and paste, and adapt the material to suit your specific disaster risk reduction training needs.

Who created the material?
All of the knowledge products were written and created by experts in their respective fields. As far as possible African scholars were used but to ensure an international flavour, some of the products were developed by non-Africans. International peer review was also undertaken to assist the authors with their final product and to ensure a level of quality control.
What about copyright?
All of the Knowledge Products carry no copyright whatsoever. We distribute all of the products under a Creative Commons License (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)). This means that you may freely make copies of our products, you can adapt and change it to suit your needs, you can use a number of modules to compile a new one, whatever you feel like. Three things, however, remain important.
  1. You are not allowed to sell any of our products (or derivatives thereof) for profit. You are permitted to cover your printing costs if you distribute the material in hard copy to a client.
  2. Reference to the original author as well as USAID as the donor must remain. You are, however, encouraged to add to the “document information”on the second page of each Knowledge Product to display the new version number (linked to your institution) as well as adding yourself as a second author to the Knowledge Product.
  3. Any changes to the products, irrespective of the extent of the changes, must be communicated back to the ACDS in form of the final material. We then reserve the right to scrutinise your final product for inclusion on our Knowledge Shop (this is not however a prerequisite for you using your own adapted material, it is only for us to ensure consistency and quality on the Knowledge Shop). This will help other people in turn learn from what you have created.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

What if I want to adapt the materials?
You are encouraged to adapt the material to suit your specific needs. All that we require is that you submit your final product to our knowledge shop so that others can then learn from what you have done. Once you have adapted any of our materials you have the right to add your name as secondary author in the “Document Information” on the second page of the written materials. You should also adapt the version number to either the abbreviation of your institution (e.g. University of Namibia = UNAM) followed by the version number (e.g. UNAM2.0) or your initials followed by the version number.
How do I add/contribute to the knowledge shop?
If you feel that you have an interesting module/video/text/pictures which you feel will add to the existing body of knowledge on DRR then you can use our upload function under the “Browse the Shop” to the Knowledge Shop. Your material will be assessed by one of our specialist researchers and you will be informed once we upload your material. Just remember that once you submit to the Knowledge Shop you are bound by the same open knowledge distribution and copyright as all the other materials.
Is this a qualification?
No, not at all. The various knowledge products should rather be seen as the first and basic building blocks for a qualification/course. Each institution or service provider can choose how to structure their qualifications (according to their own internal and country specific requirements). What we offer is merely a set of tools to assist you in building your qualifications/courses.
What about educational credits?
The amount of credits linked to the various knowledge products will related directly to the credits within a specific qualification/course in a specific institution. We do not link any form of credit to the products neither do we certify or provide credits to anyone using these products. Credits will be linked to what an institution decide to do with the products. Although these products were developed by the African Centre for Disaster Studies at North-West University (NWU)NWU does not provide any credits to any institution or private training provider. This remain an internal matter for each institution or training provider.
For which level of education is the knowledge products suitable?
The products were developed for a second to third year university qualification level. We are mindful of the fact that some of the modules might be on a bit lower level e.g first year level in the case of the introductory module. Our reasoning for this level is that it is the ideal level to “build-up” the material to higher levels or “build-down” to lower levels. This level is also the best for using the material as additional reading to existing syllabi.
Is this only applicable to Africa?
No, not at all. The materials can, and is, used globally. We encourage you to adapt the material to your specific needs. Remember to share your versions with us once you are finished. However, the open access and copyright still apply.
Will more products be added to the knowledge shop?
Yes. We aim to add as many products to the Knowledge Shop as the DRR body of knowledge grows. You can also contribute to the Knowledge Shop.
How does the version numbering work?
The Knowledge Shop will automatically add a new version number to the adapted files which you might upload. All you need to do is change your version number at the beginning of each document in the Document Information section. We suggest that you use the acronym of your institution as the first part of the version (e.g. ACDS) and then the number of your version starting with 01 (e.g. ACDS1.0). A subsequent version of the same document will thus be numbered ACDS2.0 etc. In this way we can keep track of your institutional specific versions of these products. However, if you feel confused, feel free to contact us for help.
Where do I get more information or assistance?
You can contact us should you require more information or assistance or maybe the contact detail of the author of a specific knowledge product.