About the Air Pack
The Air Pack is a toolkit for schools prepared as part of the project “School Environment and Respiratory Health of Children” (SEARCH)
What is SEARCH?
The SEARCH initiative is a research project implemented within the international frameworks of the EU Action Plan on Environment and Health; and the World Health Organization’s Children’s Environment and Health Action Plan for Europe. The SEARCH initiative is implemented with the financial and technical support of the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea (IMELS) and an ad hoc Italian expert team.
The first phase of the SEARCH initiative (2006–2009) led to the creation of a comprehensive environment and health database through assessments in selected countries. A concrete product of SEARCH I was the publication Air Quality In Schools: Everybody’s Duty, Children’s Right.
Based on the SEARCH I conclusions and recommendations, the initiative was reaffirmed at the Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, held in Parma, Italy, in 2010. Stakeholders and experts requested a follow-up project, SEARCH II, to continue the valuable research activities, involving four new countries from Central Asia and expanding the environmental monitoring and environmental health assessment to indoor comfort and energy use in selected schools.
The SEARCH II project (2010–2013) involved the overall assessment of children's comfort and exposure to indoor air pollution in schools. The results of the SEARCH II project are presented in the publication Making Schools Healthy: Meeting Environment and Health Challenges. The online version of this publication, with supplementary figures and tables, can be found in the Outcomes section of the project website. A working paper (Targeting Indoor Air Quality In Sustainable Patterns was additionally developed, focusing on the role of sustainable policies to mitigate indoor pollution.
The results were presented at the European Environment and Health Process (EHP) Mid-term Review (MTR) in Haifa, Israel, from April 28 to 30, 2015, within the scope of SEARCH III. The third phase of the SEARCH initiative (2014–2015) focuses on increased visibility and the practical dissemination of SEARCH I and II results and recommendations on indoor air quality, which have been translated into a user-friendly educational toolkit, Air Pack, addressing target groups in the educational sector.
SEARCH III is an opportunity to open up new pathways for collaboration. It identified synergies between different national authorities dealing with environment, education and health, for the purposes of safeguarding the quality of indoor air.
Italy, as the donor country, has made a major contribution to positive developments and fundamental improvements in the environment, health and education sectors in the European, regional and national context. The SEARCH initiative will continue to shape future strategies in this regard.
Further information on the SEARCH initiative, the partnership, and the individual SEARCH projects can be found on the SEARCH website.
The Air Pack
The Air Pack is the result of the two completed research projects, SEARCH I and SEARCH II. A total of 10 countries participated: four from the Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia region and six from Europe. In SEARCH II, a total of 101 schools were involved and 6,758 children were assessed. The SEARCH II recommendations were applied in selected schools in two pilot countries, Albania and Italy, in the scope of SEARCH III.
Based on the general SEARCH recommendations, as well as the specific country recommendations, this online educational toolkit was developed in the national languages of the two pilot countries – Albanian and Italian – as well as in English, in order to reach a wider audience.
One of the expected impacts is that the target groups will be able to understand the basic principles of environment and health topics, to apply their knowledge on a daily basis, and therefore to contribute to improved health conditions in schools for future generations. Additional impacts include increased institutional cooperation within the countries in order to safeguard and manage the quality of indoor air in schools.
Selected pilot schools
In SEARCH III, the Air Pack will be piloted in four Italian schools (for further details, please contact the SEARCH national coordinator in Italy http://www.isprambiente.gov.it/it/progetti/ambiente-e-salute-1/search); and four Albanian schools (for further details, please contact the SEARCH national coordinator in Albania).