Success factors for sustainable CBDRM

The following success factors are actions that project implementers should take when designing, planning and implementing a community-based disaster risk management (CBDRM) activity.

They are to be considered cross-cutting and overarching approaches to ensuring sustainability in initiatives as each context is different. They cannot be prescriptive and should be adapted to fit into the specific context.

These success factors are grouped under five main categories, reflecting the main characteristics of sustainability. Some elements support the achievement of multiple characteristics but were placed under the category to which they are more directly linked.

This characteristic refers to the fact that community-based disaster risk management activities occur through the mobilisation of the community and continue after significant external support has ended.

  1. Include a set of actions aimed at strengthening local frameworks for community-based disaster risk management  (e.g. hold a workshop on analysis of national and local disaster risk management policies)
  2. Frame the community-based disaster risk management  initiative as part of risk-informed development plans, by, for example, aligning activities and targets with other local initiatives including development plans
  3. Strengthen the community’s abilities to mobilise and manage financial resources
  4. Instil behaviour change to counteract negative actions and to promote a community of active agents of resilience

This characteristic refers to the need for CBDRM activities to successfully build local capacities to cope with disasters.

  1. Develop participatory risk maps of the community that detail local realities from the perspective of the local people
  2. Consider cultural factors in analysing risks and the underlying causes, and be mindful of potential cultural barriers for the project activities
  3. Foster collaboration between civil, government, communities by creating spaces for open dialogue
  4. Perform a stakeholder analysis to understand existing groups, consult all stakeholders from the design stage, especially vulnerable groups

This characteristic refers to the importance of ensuring community’s buy-in through coordination processes, government support and use of local knowledge.

  1. Ensure continuous and passionate leadership at local level in all phases
  2. Map and utilise local capacities (including resources, materials, knowledge)
  3. Encourage self-organisation e.g. establishment of local governance and thematic committees

This characteristic refers to the need to ensure that project activities are flexible to respond to changes in the conditions where the project takes place (this could refer to hazard patterns, emergence or new important actors, political or economic changes, etc).

  1. Designate role of monitoring and reporting lessons learnt from the process and have a structure that ensures feeding of lessons learnt into future planning
  2. Strengthen communities’ capacities to adapt a project to changing conditions
  3. Encourage integration of innovative thinking into traditional practices, so as to couple local experiences with new ideas

This characteristic refers to the importance of engaging with all societal groups, to ensure that all perspectives (including those of minorities or marginalised groups) are taken into consideration.

  1. Identify marginalised groups before the project starts so they can participate from the onset
  2. Identify clear roles of all actors and ensure community representatives have a decision-making role
  3. Create safe spaces for social groups to raise their voices and concerns
  4. Lobby local leaders for their plans and budgets to be inclusive

This resource is available in PDF format in three languages:

These success factors featured in our Institutionalising Sustainable Community-Based Disaster Risk Management guide and were developed as part of our CBDRM project.

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