EXPERTISE SERVICES: DRR VOICES BLOG
Michael Mosselmans is Head of Humanitarian Policy and Practice and Programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean at Christian Aid, a member of the ACT Alliance. Michael is Chair of the ACT Alliance Humanitarian Policy and Practice Advisory Group and the Start Engage Steering Committee. Before working in Christian Aid, Michael worked in WFP, OCHA and DFID.
A DFID-funded consortium research programme asked crisis survivors what we could do better in the design and delivery of humanitarian response interventions to leave disaster-affected communities more resilient to future shocks.
At the Global Platform, we launched a research report by King’s College London and Christian Aid in consortium with Action Aid, Concern, Help Age, Muslim Aid, Oxfam, Saferworld and World Vision. The LPRR project asked 327 crisis survivors in Bangladesh, Colombia, DRC, Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan and Philippines to draw on their own experience to guide improved humanitarian programming. Evidence from this research identifies the following 6 recommendations for strengthening community resilience in a humanitarian response and better linking humanitarian response to long-term development.
Humanitarian interventions should be run by those living at risk. Crisis survivors want to be involved from the outset and empowered to manage their own interventions, with the support of international organisations. This would increase efficiency, ensure appropriate support and allow the community to take charge of their own future.
Interventions should be coordinated better. Crisis survivors called for just one organisation to work in a given community, avoiding the confusion, anxiety and duplication that multiple actors can create. Interventions should coordinate and work with all levels of government. To build long term resilience, humanitarian interventions should encourage governments to take responsibility and build government capacity to do so.
Social cohesion and community togetherness are essential for resilience. Poor communication impacts negatively on cohesion. Effective, two-way communication between the community and humanitarian organisations is critical.
We need to tackle root causes of vulnerability from the outset. A lack of independence or empowerment and societal inequalities produce vulnerability and limit resilience. To achieve resilience, we need to tackle these root causes and the power structures that enforce them. The most effective way is by advocating for protection and human rights directly after a crisis.
Wellbeing and mental health are essential components of individual, household and community resilience. The emotional, spiritual and mental impact of crises limit the ability of communities to bounce back better.
Crisis survivors stressed the importance of capacity building on livelihoods and savings. A focus on sustainable livelihoods is often missed in humanitarian response. Communities cannot bounce back better unless there can independently earn enough to save a surplus of money and resources as a safety net for future crises.
The consortium now plan to pilot these approaches in future responses in Kenya and Myanmar to further test what works and what doesn’t and nuance our findings accordingly.
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