Community Resilience Assessment and Action Handbook

Published: 5th November 2015 12:00Last Updated: 14th June 2018 11:08
report front page

Introduction

This community resilience assessment handbook serves as a user friendly guide for field staff, development practitioners, local government and communities on how to collect and analyse data that can be used to assess the resilience of a community in order to define specific interventions that will strengthen resilience.  The handbook has been written to support the field staff of the BRACED alliance partners when they are undertaking the critical community led work, however it will also be relavant for other practitioners working in resilience.

This Handbook has been prepared by the BRACED Myanmar Alliance, a consortium of Plan InternationalAction AidWorld Vision, Myanmar Environment Institute, BBC Media Action and UN Habitat funded under the Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters (BRACED) program of DFID. It can be downloaded here, or from the right-hand column of this page.

This case study shows how the handbook is currently being used in Myanmar: Building the case for canoes: communities facing multiple hazards in Myanmar use scientific evidence to create multiple solutions 

The Handbook

The Handbook is structured around the BRACED Community Resilience Action cycle (see Page 6 of the handbook and Figure 1 below) and the Community Resilience Assessment Guiding Questions (see chapter 4 of the handbook).

It draws on established tools and methods and provides easy-to-use templates and detailed guidance on tools and techniques to understand hazards, vulnerabilities and capacities, to assist with each stage of the process. Decision-making templates will help users to incorporate climate and weather information and develop scenarios with which to design resilience actions. The Handbook also provides guidance on using historic, current and future climate and weather information to support the community information. 

In addition the tool also helps assess capacities within communities, identifying existing strengths that can be built upon such as existing disaster plans and strategies. This data is then used to identify and prioritise actions for strengthening resilience to disasters and climate change. The resilience action cycle further presents checklists for screening prioritized resilience building activities to ensure they do no harm.


Figure 1: The BRACED action cycle, taken from page 6 of the handbook.

The handbook emphasises the use of secondary and scientific data to validate community information and develop scenarios to support community decision making.

This Handbook and associated guidance notes will be reviewed and refined throughout the BRACED program based on experience of rolling it out in communities so that it can be utilised by other practitioners developing community resilience projects. The assessment and accompanying handbook are currently being piloted in communities across different climatic zones of Myanmar.

Read the first pilot report

The Assessment Steps (in brief)

The key assessment steps provided in the handbook are given here.  Please see the full report for more comprehensive guidance, templates and tips, and an extensive array of tools (provided in the handbook appendex).

Step 1: Preparation, community outreach and rapid assessment 

Preparation

  • Review Resilience Assessment Questions and determine what can and should be researched before going to the community
  • Review all existing materials available on the location (including past project report and plans) to get an idea of the main issues expected and the different people in the com- munity including literacy levels.
  • Review climate and weather profiles and other available hazard and risk data to understand weather and climate variability and climate extremes in the proposed area.
  • Research the context using secondary sources. 
  • Prepare communication materials and outreach agenda
  • Select a team to ensure gender balance, capacity, clear roles and responsibilities and the appropriate number of people in the team to complete the assessment.
  • Request access to the community and plan an agenda that ensures inclusion of all groups and has enough time to engage with all groups and gain support for the program 
  • Prepare logistics for the team (transport, ac- commodation and food). See Box 4 for some specific suggestions.

Community outreach

  • Lead a community meeting to introduce the program and its goals; include discussion about next steps. In this meeting initiate discussion about the most relevant Community Based Organisations to engage with the process and play a role in implementing the resilience activities. Validate this in the Community Resilience Assessment process.
  • Ensure enough time is allowed for discussion and agreement, but recognize that community members are busy and the meeting must fit into their schedules.

Rapid Assessment

  • Complete a Hazard Ready Community rapid assessment: to identify preparedness for climate extremes and disasters. This will help inform the methodology and tools for the rest of the assessment and the follow up visits. 

Step 2: Community resilience assessment: preparation, implementation and analysis 

Preparation

  • As above.

Assessment

  • Undertake the assessment with the community*
  • Gather the team and share data and informaion during the assessment to allow triangulation of emerging results

*Numerous tools and examples for undertaking this step are provided in the appendix of the handbook and are listed in the next section (please see below).

Analysis

The completed tools will generate a significant amount of information and data related to the targeted communities. This information must be carefully reviewed and analysed in order to determine what priority actions to support a community to become ‘more resilient’ to climate extremes. 

  • Meet as a team to synthesise the results and identify key messages and issues: What are the answers to our assessment questions? What does this mean?
  • Compile or summarise the data.
  • Start to analyse the information during the time you are in the community as a team consider :
    • Having multiple viewpoints to ‘triangulate’ the data you find
    • Validate findings to check the facts – validate community perceptions against historical climate and weather information.
  • Accept there might be different viewpoints and opinions and reflect these in the results
  • Identify knowledge gaps and develop a plan to address them if needed
  • Prepare a report that summarises and synthesises the results. 
  • Report the results back and validate the findings with the community as part of the assessment process
  • Community reports will be prepared in local languages. It is not expected that the full report will be translated into English; however, a summary sheet for each community should be prepared in English for review and analysis. 

Step 3: Resilience Action planning, prioritization and screening 

Following on from the Resilience Assessment and analysis (and possibly at times during the process) the community will identify actions that could be taken to address the issues that arise. Resilience activities can be designed at different scales including individual, household/family and community/village cluster.

There are two critical processes to ensure the most appropriate actions are included in the plan: prioritsation and screening. 

The field team should provide guidance based on the analysis of assessment results in what types of resilience activities are appropriate for each community. This should be discussed with the community and result in a ‘long list of activities’. This should not be based on the ‘project’ but on the needs of the community. Activities then need to be prioritized into a set of activities that will be implemented by the community. ​

Action planning

  • Ensure the right people and institutions are involved in a process that is lead by the community. Consider the role of local authorities to align and strengthen the synergies
  • Keep the program goals and priorities in mind when facilitating this discussion. You may need to remind the community what the program is aiming to address.
  • Develop a long list of options and apply the prioritization tools

Prioritization

  • There are various tools and processes to prioritise what may be a long list of possible actions into a manageable list that can be implement- ed in the life of the project.
  • The prioritization process involves a transparent set of discussions that are documented to ensure the final selection can be justified and that the resources that are allocated to these actions are appropriate. Select from these tools and facilitate the discussion with male, female and then a mixed group:
    • Impact-implementation matrix
    • Pair-wise ranking
    • Multi-criteria analysis
    • Community Based Cost Benefit Analysis

For the final list of actions consider:

  • How do these align with the program priorities and goals
  • What needs to be done?  
  • Who should do what and when? 
  • With what resources? 
  • When Can it be done
  • What are the expected results? 

Figure 2 from page 7 of the handbook

Screening

The BRACED Alliance is committed to do no harm through its program. There are three key screening tools to assist this process (see Figure 2 above). The screening process requires detailed consideration of the potential harm an action may have on the environment, on gender equality or on conflict. Each of these tools should be applied to the list of prioritized actions with the discussion and results documented and included in the report. The discussion should be with a group of men and a group of women with a combined group to review the results:

  • Gender screening
  • Environment screening
  • Conflict screening

Advocacy and lobbying

It is likely that issues have been identified in the Resilience Assessment processes are beyond the scope or timing of the program. It may be appropriate for the facilitator to work with the group to develop advocacy priorities to take these issues further. 

Step 4: Resilience Action plan implementation 

In order to initiate implementation of the resilience action plan firstly:

  • Ensure any formal approval process at community level is completed
  • Send the plan to the appropriate authorities to facilitate linkages with the local development planning process

Community led monitoring and evaluation

The monitoring and evaluation plan for BRACED has specific resilience indicators and a monitoring and evaluation plan that focuses on monitoring of community resilience activities and implementation. Field staff are critical sources of information for monitoring and evaluation.

At the community level elements of BRACED monitoring and evaluation approach are:

  • Beneficiary feedback mechanisms are essential ensure that the projects are meeting the expectations of different members of commu- nities
  • Continuous divider / connector analysis, and climate and weather monitoring is needed throughout implementation to ensure emerg- ing issues are responded to early
  • Community led feedback and evaluation processes throughout the project to evaluate progress towards resilience.

Field teams should further support the communities to develop a clear set of goals, deliverables and simple indicators of achievement.

List of provided tools and guidance for undertaking the community resilience cycle

  • Tools for step 1: Preparation, community outreach and rapid assessment
  • Tools for step 2: Community resilience assessment and analysis
  • Tool 3: Resource, social hazard and vulnerability maps
  • Tool 4: Transect walk
  • Tool 5: Hazard ranking
  • Tool 6: Seasonal calendar
  • Tool 7: Livelihoods analysis
  • Tool 8: Venn diagram
  • Tool 9: Dividers and connecters (conflict context assessment)
  • Tool10: Impact on children needs and child rights (tool for children or care givers)
  • Tool 11: Gender cobwebs
  • Tool 12: Capacity analysis: community and CBOs
  • Tool 13: Access to information and awareness
  • Tool 14: Resilience activity prioritisation tools
  • Tool 15: Environment screening
  • Tool 16: Conflict screening
  • Tool 17: Gender screening
 

Further resources

  •  

    Suggested citation:

    BRACED Myanmar (2015) Community Resilience Assessment and Action Handbook 

     

    Authors

    This handbook is the result of significant review of community disaster and climate risk assessment frameworks, consolidation of DRR and adaptation methodologies and contextual- ization for the situation in Myanmar. The review and design process of the BRACED resilience model was led by the BRACED Myanmar Alliance Coordination Unit (ACU) including Jeremy Stone, BRACED Alliance Coordinator and Bhushan Shrestha, BRACED Monitoring and Evaluation Manager. This latest version of the handbook was prepared by Julie Webb, climate change adaptation and resilience consultant and design and layout prepared by Landry Dunand.