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The Community Resilience Action Cycle

Video where El Parker describes the community resilience action cycle.
Let’s introduce the community resilience action cycle as developed by the BRACED project. The action cycle and the handbook that goes with it is designed for use by practitioners who are working in partnership with communities to engage with them in order to design and implement effective and sustainable resilience interventions. So here’s our community and they’re living in an area exposed to a series of threats and risks. These could be social they could be economic or they could be natural hazards. As an agency or organisation that has identified a need here it’s important that we go through a series of steps during our engagement process.
The first of those steps being: Prepare.
During this phase we want to reach out to the community we’re going to work with. We want to develop trust, we want to identify shared interests and common priorities that will allow us to work effectively with the community. We should know about previous projects that they’ve been involved with and we should review any available secondary data such as census data that gives us a basic understanding of the situation. The next phase is Assess.
During this phase we’re going to work with the community to develop a detailed understanding of the threats and hazards that they’re exposed to, their experiences of those hazards and how they may have impacted groups and individuals differently. We want to identify who are the most vulnerable and we also want to understand the capacities that people have to be able to prepare for, cope with and recover from emergencies and disasters in this particular community in this location. Once we’ve got all of that information we then in a position to be able to plan our intervention.
This phase again is undertaken in partnership with the community. It’s important that we find a balance between what the community wants and what the agencies and experts think the community needs. We also need to ensure that we can achieve what’s in the plan using the resources and capacities that are available. And finally and perhaps most importantly we’re going to make changes. We need to understand how we can support the community moving from their current situation into the new context where they become more resilient and during this process we then implement
our project. This is moving into the phase of acting and doing, implementing the project and building resilience, ensuring that it works and that it is sustainable. Finally, how do we know if this project is successful? Traditionally we’ve undertaken external monitoring and evaluation. However this doesn’t necessarily tell us whether or not the community finds this project effective, so what the community resilience action cycle recommends is that we involve the community at the center of our monitoring and evaluation process.
We identify their indicators of success and what a sustainable and resilient community looks like to them and that then allows them to be involved in the review and reflection and revision of the project to ensure that it is locally appropriate and sustainable in the long term.
We will now look at the first of two approaches to building community resilience.
Watch the video in which El Parker introduces the Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters (BRACED) programme, created by the Myanmar Alliance.
The alliance is made up of Plan International, Action Aid, World Vision, Myanmar Environment Institute, BBC Media Action and UN Habitat, with funding from the UK Department for International Development (DFID).
The focus of the alliance’s work is on building community resilience to climate-induced extreme events. The approach is based on the BRACED community resilience assessment cycle, which has been further refined for the context of resilience planning in Myanmar. The approach is intended to be community led in which communities are empowered to identify their own disaster risk and climate adaptation priorities. Any intervention activities are to be based on solid data evidence and build on what communities already have in place. The pledge is to be truly participatory in which all members of the community, including the most vulnerable, participate.
The Community Resilience Action cycle has four key steps:
During the final step, monitoring and evaluation is to be community led.
A handbook supports the process with detailed guidance on objectives and methodologies to achieve them.

The BRACED project in South Sudan

Research through the BRACED project has uncovered a number of findings about climate change impacts in South Sudan.
There is an extensive knowledge of drought- and flood-resistant crops and farming practices at the local level, and that women are most affected by a changing climate given their dependence on natural resources.
The research uncovered a number of findings. Climate change and conflict are poorly correlated in South Sudan. However, the complex dual impacts of climate and conflict are hard to unpick and combined with the fact that many communities believe that flood and drought is God-sent means facilitating community-based adaptation is a challenge.
The report identifies that working together for improved land tenure and the management of shared natural resources may offer opportunities for improved climate resilience, peace dividends and conflict resolution.

Further reading

You can find further details of the BRACED project in South Sudan from the following report:
BRACED (2017) ‘Building Climate Resilience in Fragile Contexts: Key Findings of BRACED Research in South Sudan’ [online]. available from https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/building_climate_resilience_in_fragile_contexts-key_findings_of_braced_research_in_south_sudan.pdf [19 August 2019]
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Community Preparedness, Recovery and Resilience: An Introduction

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