The frequency and magnitude of natural disasters have increased significantly in the last decade. Developing countries are most vulnerable to their effects. “A large-scale hazard that hits a highly-vulnerable community with low capacity to cope reverses hard-won development gains, entrenching people in poverty cycles, and increasing vulnerability.”1 The most effective way to mitigate the risk of disaster is to work with local people to identify and analyze their vulnerabilities and capacities, and in turn, develop an action plan that will help them avoid disaster and manage its effects.
IIRR’s work in community-managed disaster risk reduction uses an integrated approach that puts communities at the center of hazard identification, analysis, risk assessment and management. The methodology includes promoting increased participation of civil society in the decision making process to mainstream Disaster Risk Reduction; enhancing the influence of vulnerable communities at the public policy level; promoting a culture of disaster risk awareness, preparedness and prevention among members of vulnerable groups, enhancing the capacity of local organizations to analyze the causes and consequences of hazards, climate change factors and to design effective interventions and adaptation strategies (especially in Climate Change Adaptation).
IIRR is implementing the Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction approach through NGOs and local governments in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and The Philippines. Concrete outcomes have included the formation of a CMDRR consortium in Uganda made up of formerly-warring communities. Through this consortium, partners have gained recognition by government and UN agencies as legitimate players in disaster risk reduction and are now using information generated by disaster risk assessments to inform district development plans. In Indonesia, tsunami-affected communities have successfully made the transition beyond relief activities to reconstruction and development. IIRR also offers tailor-made and regional courses in CMDRR in Africa and Asia .
1. United Nations, “Linking Disaster Risk Reduction and Poverty Reduction: Good Practices and Lessons Learned,” 2008 (http://www.crid.or.cr/digitalizacion/pdf/eng/doc17224/doc17224-0.pdf).