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Community Resilience in the time of Natural Disasters:

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

How we can add value to organizations and individuals to promote inclusion.

“It’s true that we cannot control or prevent hazards including cyclones, tropical storms, droughts and floods. But we can reduce vulnerability and exposure.”

Mami Mizutori- Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction in the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR)

The topic of humanitarian aid in disaster relief was what brought the team together. In the initial stages of the Value Creators journey, we, Hannah, Matthijs, Mona, and Paula brainstormed to define the focus, given that there were many challenges to disaster relief such as governance, collaboration, technology, aid distribution, community engagement and, the type of disaster which we could add value to. Eventually, Marjolein joined the team and the five of us established our scope. We identified a lack of inclusion of all community members in the preparedness stages of natural disaster risk management. The team aimed to work on a product that would add value to strengthen resilience and gain more inclusion of the communities when working with an organization.

Throughout the process we were able to talk to professors, humanitarian aid professionals and government workers who helped co-create the idea of a tool for organizations to use in the preparedness stage of natural disaster management. As a result of our diverse and international network we were able to gain knowledge outside of our research but most importantly talk to experts who had firsthand experience and who understood what the needs were. This tool manifested into a checklist to identify barriers people, both from organizations and local communities, have to overcome to participate in the process of building resilience against disasters. Our Value Creators product is a living document, meaning that it should be modified in order to be accessible for different situations. as well as evolve with change. Moreover, it has been distributed among the network we built with the aim to spread and hope the checklist will become a standard tool in disaster relief.

Excerpt from the checklist 1

Our journey faced ups and downs. We struggled with establishing correspondence with potential stakeholders, but we learned that most of the time there are connections within our immediate surroundings and soon enough our list of contacts snowballed into many more. Similarly, another challenge was keeping the stakeholders engaged up until the completion of the product. Nevertheless, we also had positive experiences such as breakthrough moments and encouragement from stakeholders.

In this Value Creators semester, we had various learnings about the process. For one, we experienced that it was rewarding to have the ability and change to take leadership and ownership over one’s learning journey. We also learned to embrace uncertainty and make decisions for ourselves and the team, and for the progress of the product. We had fun exploring all the stages of this semester. Above all we hope that our work can contribute to this field in some way.

If you’re interested in learning more about our journey view the links below.

Contact details:

Hannah Meuwißen:

Mona Richter:

Paula Mayorga Munnik: Linked In

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