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.
Community-led planning uses the analysis of the VCA to prioritize actions to address a community’s vulnerabilities. These are outlined in a disaster risk reduction plan. Sometimes this plan is simply the result of the ‘change, influence, transform’ VCA exercise where actions under each column are prioritized. Other times it is a more elaborate action plan with sub-sets of actions, timelines, responsible parties, budget, etc. The role of the RCRC (or other external partners) is to facilitate the process, advise on the prioritisation of activities and other components of the plan, and provide specific technical expertise (e.g. on micro-mitigation projects) as required. In communities at risk for sudden onset disasters, DRR Plans are often complemented by development of community response and contingency plans (CR & CPs).
Figure 1. Project Design Cycle
What do I need to know?
Why is this important?
DRR Plan - A risk reduction plan or action plan forms the basis for on-going community-based DRR activities and is a key tool in the development of community ownership. A risk reduction plan provides concrete goals for the community to achieve over a set period of time. It outlines which actions are of greater priority and helps communities to focus their time and resources where the need is greatest. Prioritization of activities is done transparently by the whole community. This open debate about certain problems within community groups often leads to a shared understanding and consensus about how to address them. Oftentimes, communities find that they have more capacity to address certain challenges than they had initially believed.
Community Response and Contingency Plan - Through analysis, planning and preparedness for different scenarios, the community response plan model helps communities to be better prepared and includes likely scenarios, local contact information, resources, evacuation plan, roles and responsibilities, protocols, etc. The CR & CPs will be disseminated to relevant stakeholders, and are usually linked to government response plans.
What are key questions which need to be considered in community-led planning?
In addition to the questions below, please also see Chapter 7 on Community-led Implementation to ensure community-based planning is supported in a comprehensive way. Keep in mind, these are iterative processes and some steps will need to be repeated in communities as the work expands.
For DRR Plans
- Is there community consensus? How should actions be prioritised?
- Is the disaster risk reduction plan achievable within the community capacity?
- What external resources are needed to ensure the plans objectives are achievable? Does the community have a reasonable plan to obtain those resources?
- How will the disaster risk reduction plan be disseminated to rest of the community and external stakeholders?
- Has the community discussed what actions or results should be sustained over time? What are some options to address sustainability?
- Is specific technical expertise required? Can this be provided through partnerships with external actors?
- How do community-level disaster risk reduction plans relate to wider regional DRR plans or policy – or municipal or district plans in urban areas?
- Has the branch discussed when and how they would transition their facilitation role back to the community? It is difficult to discuss transition of roles during start up but it should be raised.
Community Response and Contingency Plans
- What are the main threats faced by the community?
- Are specific contingency plans outlined to respond to different threats?
- Are individuals’ roles and responsibilities clearly established within the plan?
- Are links to regional and national plans – and to municipal and district plans in urban areas – specified?
- Are links to early warning systems defined?
- Do plans include a strategy for dissemination and testing (e.g. regularly scheduled simulations)?
What are the basic steps in supporting community planning?
- Develop an outreach and advocacy strategy as part of the community DRR and response plans.
- Review local government development plans to identify potential DRR implications.
- Meet with local government planning and emergency management agencies to review community DRR and response plans and their links to local development plans; also see how the government plan can be modified (as needed) to support what the community has identified; also see if the local government can support or even fund the community plan.
- Participate in public reviews of local development plans; these can be important venues to advocate on key DRR needs.
Risk reduction and community response plans should be disseminated to the community and external stakeholders. They should be integrated with local government development plans, and procedures for regular review and updating should be put in place.
What are some success factors or key determinants?
All of the success factors and key determinants applicable to all steps (at the beginning of these guidelines) are important for community-led planning. In addition as with some other steps, community-led planning really benefits from support by an experienced facilitator, particularly one that is aware of the potential solutions that may have worked well in similar settings (perhaps from a dedicated catalogue or “list of good examples of mitigation actions”).
The experienced facilitator will take their time and ensure a quality, consultative approach; this may include the facilitator sharing ideas and offering input so that the community can decide if such solutions make sense and could be adapted there. They will also ensure enough time is given to helping the community assess the utility and relevance of activities, and prioritize based on cost, potential benefits and other criteria important to them.
The integration of community-level risk reduction plans into local government development or disaster risk reduction plans is also critical to long-term sustainability of actions and impacts. An absence of links between community’s response plans and those of different levels of government (e.g. sub-district, district) will have an impact on the effectiveness of plans, which can undermine the community’s preparedness capacity.
When done correctly the community itself drives the development of a risk reduction plan with facilitation and technical advice from the RCRC or external partners.
Documenting results of community planning
At the end of this step the community will have identified goals (or objectives) and priority actions; they may have also decided on a timeline for implementation and assigned roles and responsibilities and possibly even a budget; this can all be summarized in a DRR plan as noted. This documentation is important as it will help guide implementation including the baseline, monitoring, evaluation and reporting. The RC team will also use the information summarized across communities to update the overall programme plan and strategy and inform the programme baseline.
To be included later based on user need. OFDA St. Lucia response suggested as a potential example.
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