Disaster Resilient: Future Ready
Helping communities better withstand the impacts of natural disasters
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FRRR believes that communities that are supported to build their capacity will be better able to respond to the impacts of natural disasters. Communities that are engaged and understand the emergency management system, and the communities’ role in this, are better equipped at the time of a disaster.
FRRR and our partners are currently working on a project to help communities better prepare for disasters and be more resilient, should they eventuate.
Research confirms that communities with higher levels of social capital pre-disaster will respond and recover better.
More research is needed into how to build social capital
Despite increased and widespread recognition of this fact, there remain ongoing challenges for communities being better prepared and recovery is costing more and more each year. There are questions that remain unanswered, such as:
- What makes a community resilient and adaptive?
- What skills, resources, assets and tools do communities need to be able to respond to disaster impacts and adapt to the changed environments?
- How can communities acquire the necessary capability to ensure they are Disaster Resilient: Future Ready?
- How do they acquire and sustain these?
- What if communities are not better prepared and more resilient, what will happen?
These are critical questions that need national leadership and a coordinated, collaborative approach to answer.
By collaborating with our partners, and directly with communities themselves, we are seeking to answer these questions.
Disaster Resilient: Future Ready - an applied research project
Leveraging our experience in community recovery, bridging disaster recovery and preparedness with community development approaches, FRRR is undertaking an applied research project to develop the framework and processes for communities to use to enable disaster resilience. We are using practical and evidence-based methods that communities can adapt to be Disaster Resilient: Future Ready.
The Disaster Resilient: Future Ready project uses a participatory action research and co-design methodology. We're leveraging current research and engaging a broad range of stakeholders to work with communities to develop and evaluate reality-tested indicators, methods and tools for building resilience
This will be a five-stage project, over three years:
The expected outcomes of the project include:
- improved coordination and collaboration within and between communities, agencies and governments;
- improved mental health outcomes post-disaster;
- increased levels of local leadership; and
- reduced costs to the Australian economy.
Progress to date
We are currently between stages four and five in the first iteration of the project in New South Wales. We've identified three communities in NSW - Ocean Shores, Wee Waa and North Richmond - and have been collaborating with them since September 2017 to develop and hone the framework. Each of the pilot communities is either at-risk of, or has already experienced, the impact of a natural disaster. Most importantly, they have the capacity and interest to participate in this new approach to developing community-led preparedness.
To help us develop this into a national framework and ensure it is robust, we have engaged the University of Sydney to lead the research. They will support and evaluate the co-design process and the approaches adopted by pilot communities. Local leaders are currently using the framework to identify priority community initiatives, which FRRR will fund with grants. The projects will be monitored and evaluated to establish an evidence of best practice approaches that can be adopted and adapted on a national-scale for other communities, so they too can improve their preparedness and resilience.
This work has been possible in NSW thanks to the generous support of partners including The Ronald Geoffrey Arnott Foundation, NSW Government and a number of private donors.
FRRR is in conversation with partners including the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust, Emergency Management Victoria and local experts in disaster management about how it can be rolled out in other states.
More partners welcome
If you share our views about the urgency of this issue and have an interest in working collaboratively to develop systemic, sustainable and community-led, place-based responses, we encourage you to read further and get in touch to explore how you can join the partnership and be part of leveraging a solution.
To explore partnering in this project, we encourage you to speak with FRRR CEO, Natalie Egleton.