Organise around the vision of the community most at risk

Stage 2

Stage two of risk-informed development

This resource forms from stage two of our Risk-Informed Development Guide, which provides a comprehensive stage-by-stage approach to working with communities most at risk.

This stage of risk-informed development planning involves organising around the vision of the community most at risk. Success is seen when communities most at risk lead the process. 

Time for the community to organise themselves to work together, connect with existing organisations and initiate communication about preparing and setting up mechanisms (communication, capacity building, leadership committees, knowledge generation and gathering) to implement the risk-informed development planning is required. 

Secondly, a primary asset of risk-informed development planning is knowledge and data about risks (in terms of hazards, risk-drivers, vulnerability, resilience etc.), especially local risks that directly and indirectly impact communities. 

This should also then indicate what additional support or collaboration from other stakeholders (like technical experts, institutions, other organisations and agencies, local government units, etc.) across the stages of the risk-informed development process are required.

To achieve this stage, collaboration established with communities most at risk needs to be in place. In communities where multiple civil society groups and organisations already engage and operate, it is important to also collaborate formally to facilitate the risk-informed development planning process with the community. 

The aims of this stage of the process are to:

  • Bring existing community representatives and leaders to the forefront of the process right from the beginning; forming community organisations is important for this, especially where other organisations (such as groups delivering CBDRM together) do not exist
  • Encourage and initiate leadership from community groups most at risk to carry out risk-informed development planning, by creating space for them to take decisions about their roles in the overall planning process
  • Create and identify collaboration opportunities with various stakeholders
  • Prepare, co-create and adapt the details of risk-informed development planning to suit the community, for example putting in place necessary supporting resources or assets or mechanisms, so that the community themselves can be the flag bearers of the process
  • Initiate preparatory activities in creating supporting mechanisms (such as community organisations, data library, mechanisms for gathering data etc.); speaking with community members and gathering secondary sources or openly available knowledge and data resources is fundamental in beginning to understand complexities around risks and development


“It is very important that the initiative of disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction is led by persons with disability. We always advocate: nothing about us without us.” Corazon Bajuyo Clarin, Philippines © GNDR/Jeremy Kruis

1. Risk-informed development task force

The first step is to initiate discussions for the formation of a risk-informed development task force composed of members from the community. This taskforce should be gender balanced, include representatives of the most at risk groups and be supported by civil society organisations (CSOs).

Leverage on already existing community organisations, communication channels or modes of operation within a given community or region is important, as well as the role of the task force to mobilise the rest of the community. Consider sub-groups with key responsibilities, i.e. in research or in budgeting roles, if there are many people willing to help coordinate the process. 

2. Stakeholder collaboration

Next, initiate collaboration with other stakeholders. Consider other stakeholders that could collaborate with the process. These groups could include other CSOs or groups from the area, private sector actors, media, community-elected leaders, academia, local researchers, and institutions for education, planning, development and technology, etc. Consider formalising collaboration with these groups.

3. Co-creation of process

Initiate detailed discussions with the community to co-create and evolve the details of a risk-informed development planning process that suits their context. Communities most at risk themselves can be flag bearers of the process. They should be able to explain the process, aligning it with their community context and take broad decisions on how to carry out each stage. 

Consider preparatory tasks, leadership roles for different aspects, how to communicate with and operate at the convenience of all members, and outline what support is required by CSOs.

4. Quick risk estimation

If, amongst all risk drivers, certain risk drivers are more prominent or resonate more with the communities most at risk, take measures to orientate and focus risk-informed development efforts accordingly. 

The quick risk estimation tool is a multi-stakeholder engagement process to establish a common understanding of risk. The tool can be used to identify and understand current and future risks, stresses, shocks and exposure threats to both human and physical assets. 

5. Co-design a data gathering plan  

An agreement on how to gather data, when to gather data and who should be involved in the data gathering process should be discussed and agreed with the community members. If necessary, this can be a closed group discussion with those appointed by the taskforce for the purpose. 

6. Co-create a data hub 

A data hub is a virtual or physical storage point for relevant data which has been collected with the communities most at risk or via secondary sources. They should be stored in an organised manner so that it can be accessed at any time by the community members and civil society groups involved in the process. If viable, explore scope for collaboration with data management experts or local government data centres to develop the data hub (Usually local governments have emergency operating centres which keep data). 

There are four sets of relevant data that need to be stored: 

  • Local community data 
  • Secondary data (which will be gathered from open sources, local government units, studies and reports, experts, etc.)
  • Observations on contextual aspects of geophysical susceptibility to various hazards
  • Data calendars: monthly and annual data calendars could be used to communicate and inform the community about various aspects of hazards, vulnerability and building resilience

7. Capacity strengthening 

Strengthen capacity in maintaining a data hub and a community-led risk monitoring mechanism. This is to ensure the data hub remains active, updated and information analysed is on a regular basis to highlight changed or emerging risks. Ideally, it should be managed by community members within the locality. 

To ensure this takes place, consider: 

  • Capacity strengthening of community members to carry out the task
  • Clarity about what information to gather
  • Clearly defining tasks and roles for community members involved
  • Keeping a monthly record of the tasks taken up for risk monitoring
  • Continued tracking to capture time-based variations (seasonal, monthly etc.) and dynamically evolving conditions

8. Wider communication

Communicate with the rest of the community members about the newly established data repository and data gathering method, to seek individual cooperation and contribution.

Project partners

Our Risk-Informed Development Guide was produced as part of our Local Leadership for Global Impact project. The project and all related content was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). All content is the sole responsibility of GNDR and does not necessarily reflect the views of the BMZ.

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Our Local Leadership for Global Impact project is implemented in partnership with Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe.

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