As one member of the project put it during a debriefing interview, “If you want something to outlast your money – and your involvement – you have to be really thoughtful about how you gain the buy-in of from people.” To operationalize this concept, our solution involved ensuring an alignment of goals and finding agreement on the best approach to meet those goals. This was achieved by listening to the interests and needs of partners.
Keeping partners engaged required that they be able to execute activities that resonated with them. Coalitions had the freedom to define their projects in ways that made the most sense for their context and the flexibility to spend the project resources to support those activities.
For example, in the geographically remote desert region of Acton-Agua Dulce, the coalition conducted HAM radio trainings so community members could supply emergency communications with local authorities and check-in with each other during emergencies. A second LACCDR coalition formed in Huntington Park focused on Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training in partnership with the local fire department, certifying 32 residents.
Sometimes that common ground was identified through activities where everyone problem-solved to think about how to improve resilience. For example, as part of the LACCDR project we led group table-top exercises to stress and test resilience-based capacities.