Note: This is a part of a comprehensive step-by-step approach for creating a Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction (CBDRR) program. Check out the main topic page, CBDRR Practitioners Guidelines, to learn more about the full guidelines.
This step is for starting a community dialogue. The programme team explains the purpose of the programme and begins to sensitise the community to CBDRR. This step occurs in each community identified by the strategy and according to the roll-out schedule.
What do I need to know?
Why is this important?
Communities are the main actors in implementing CBDRR programmes and ensuring their long- term sustainability. Meeting the whole community is critical to help generate community ownership of the programme.
What are the key considerations when planning to meet the whole community?
- Why is the meeting being held? – is it to inform the community of pre-defined activities or is it to ensure that they are aware of and involved with a community-centred DRR approach?
- What is known about existing community dynamics?
- Who are trusted entry points to work through?
- What normally brings the community together (if at all)?
- What are the best times to hold a meeting and to ensure a reasonable cross section of the community (considering age, livelihoods groups, gender etc.)?
- How can accountability be ensured to all concerned, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalised?
- How do we ensure the right local leadership representatives are involved, including any local government representatives? How will any potential risks and opportunities arising from this involvement be managed?
- Should there be separate meetings of community members and stakeholder or should everyone attend one large meeting?
What are the basic steps in meeting the whole community?
- Engage experienced NS community workers from the target community in the start-up team to take forward community engagement.
- Confirm what messages and information will be communicated during this process, and how. Base this upon local knowledge and think through in advance potential risks and challenges.
- If unsure, trial the community engagement approach in one community and update the approach based on the results.
- With community leader and branch support, determine when, where, how long the meeting(s) should be and who will be supporting the meeting.
- Use reliable and trusted community informants (possibly teachers) to validate whether the process has achieved its aims and whether a process of genuine community engagement and participation has been started.
What are some success factors or key determinants?
- Being flexible in the process; be prepared for the unexpected – have ‘question and answer’ scripts ready
- This should not be seen as an isolated activity, but as part of the on-going process of working with a community from first contact all the way through to exit. Mistakes made now can have implications later on in project implementation.
- Ensuring the community is clear on the CBDRR strategy, purpose and the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders, including themselves. A basic explanation of what CBDRR is at this stage would be useful and should be part of the scripts developed – this should be a consistent explanation and should also be clear about the limits of the likely NS role.
- Having realistic expectations and working to keep community expectations realistic as well.
- Having clear and reasonable plans. Projects spread out over a number of areas take time to complete. Management of the process is critical to ensure quality is maintained across all communities.
- Ensuring the results of various meetings are disseminated to the whole community.
- Ensuring the strategy on who will participate in various meetings and undertake various roles is clear to all.
What are some useful tools and methodologies?
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