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  • Abrina Williams

Why Community-level Resilience?

An Instruction Handbook for Community-Level Resilience Building

ISET, in collaboration with the American Red Cross, has produced a handbook that is designed for individuals and groups looking to host community resilience-building events. It is easy to read and has plentiful visuals to help organizers communicate resilience-building concepts to the general public. Our goal was to create a handbook that could be used by people hoping to help their communities become more resilient, even if they don’t have a theoretical background in community resilience-building or a lot of money to fund such efforts. This toolkit was piloted in Vanuatu and Indonesia, within urban communities vulnerable to climate change.

Through our collaboration with the American Red Cross, an organization that works with hundreds of communities all over the world, we hope that this instruction handbook will help many different communities increase their resilience and become more prepared to face disasters.

You can view the handbook here:

Do It Together Toolkit for Building Urban Community Resilience

Why community-level resilience?

Community level intervention allows for NGOs to meet directly with the most vulnerable communities. Because disasters are devastating for impoverished communities (1), NGOs and programs working to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience should consider intervening directly at the community level. Community-level intervention offers more flexibility than state or national level interventions, which can often be too formal and ridged in their approach.

Scaling Up Successful Community Projects to State, Regional, and National Levels

Once successful strategies of intervention are achieved at the community-level, then efforts can be expanded to the state and national levels. This is where coalition building can be very useful: local organizations are great for working at the community level but when scaling up it is beneficial for them to forge partnerships with organizations that work at the city, state, national, and global level.

  1. “…extensive research over the past 30 years has revealed that it is generally the poor who tend to suffer worst from disasters (DFID, 2004; Twigg, 2004; Wisner et al., 2004; UNISDR, 2009b). Impoverished people are more likely to live in hazard-exposed areas and are less able to invest in risk-reducing measures. The lack of access to insurance and social protection means that people in poverty are often forced to use their already limited assets to buffer disaster losses, which drives them into further poverty. Poverty is therefore both a cause and consequence of disaster risk (Wisner et al., 2004)”

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