Image credit: Los Angeles County Community Disaster Resilience Project’s Resilience Builder Toolkit
What does "resilience" mean?
We define resilience as the capacity of any dynamic system, such as a community, to anticipate and adapt successfully to challenges. Source
In practice, community resilience is a collaborative endeavor that brings together community partners, public health agencies, first responders, and other stakeholders to prepare for, respond, and recover from adversity or change.
Community resilience uses community engagement as a foundation for planning, preparedness, and response activities. This approach ensures all voices are reflected in decision-making and promotes the inclusion of populations that may need additional support. Source
What do resilient communities have in common?
IN RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
- Residents and organizations are engaged in the community and connected to each other
- The community pools existing resources to become stronger in the face of threats and risks
- The community learns from prior events to better manage future challenges
Building Blocks of Community Resilience
The RAND Corporation identifies eight levers of community resilience. We focus on four: education, engagement, community self-sufficiency and partnerships. Evaluate improvements in these core areas as you measure your progress towards a more resilient community.
Citation: Chandra, Anita, Joie D. Acosta, Stefanie Howard, Lori Uscher-Pines, Malcolm Williams, Douglas Yeung, Jeffrey Garnett and Lisa S. Meredith. Building Community Resilience to Disasters: A Way Forward to Enhance National Health Security. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2011.
These levers are immediately familiar to most public health practitioners and provide insight into how a community resilience perspective supports alignment between everyday public health practice and public health emergency preparedness and response,” say the authors of a paper published in the American Journal of Public Health.
Building community resilience to disasters is a national priority that is being addressed at the local level by both governmental and non-governmental entities. These efforts are uncovering many “how-to” questions by local officials and community organizations seeking to implement resilience initiatives in their communities.
- What skills, capacities, resources, and relationships does our organization need to implement this?
- What are ways to talk about resilience with community members so it has meaning and leads to action?
- What “bumps in the road” might we expect during implementation and how can we get over them?
Despite the growing number of community resilience tools and programs, few address these practical issues. Therefore:
Our vision is to translate lessons learned by leaders in the field
into a pragmatic website useful for community-focused organizations
engaged in increasing resilience in communities.
How the program is organized
Our program is distilled into three sections that will step you through each phase of your community resilience initiative. In our experience there is no “cookie cutter” method to building resilience, so we suggest you modify these processes to fit the unique needs of your team or organization.
Many will begin by getting to know the concepts of community resilience then delve into each section while conducting their program. Others are ready to jump ahead to learn how they might build and improve in year 2 and 3 of their project.
Learn more about program or get started on the path to building resilience in your community.