Civil Society Resilience

Civil Society Resilience

The United Nations defines resilience as “the ability of a system, community or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate to and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner, including through the preservation and restoration of its essential basic structures and functions” (UNISDR, 2009).

The primary aim of this thematic area of the DRIVER project is to understand and improve the resilience capacity of individuals, communities and local governments. Its focus is on civil society actors that are not professionally trained in crisis management; this includes supporting activities by crisis management experts.

The solutions are mainly organisational, but also cover some aspects of IT with reference to the preparedness, response and recovery phases of Crisis Management:

  • Individual resilience: Three existing psychosocial support tool kits are tested in a train-the-trainer cascade approach to trainers and volunteers.
  • Community resilience: Measurement tools, participatory methods for triggering actions and guidelines for professionals are applied and evaluated.
  • Local governments’ resilience: Selected and comprehensive evaluation of a method to assess and improve the resilience within their territory.
  • Crisis communication: Impact of different key messages on target groups; how to share knowledge in simple and impactful communication.
  • Organising and mobilising spontaneous volunteers: Make it easier to incorporate spontaneous helpers during a crisis; tasking of the population via a smart phone app.
Figure: Civil Society Resilience Solutions in DRIVER

A variety of evaluation methods (e.g. exploration workshops, training evaluation, tabletop and field exercises) are applied to evaluate possible solutions to improve civil society resilience. The results will steer the fine-tuning of the selected solutions and will also help to ensure they are used effectively in the Joint Experiments.

Preliminary results from the planning, conducting and evaluating of the solutions are very positive and clearly indicate that:

  • The selected solutions seem to deliver operational benefits to crisis managers and volunteers, often above previous expectations.
  • The approach of iterative testing is a very useful way to develop the solutions further, alongside the experimentation campaigns, and to improve the evaluation procedures.

Solutions are not specific to a particular scenario or location, but either aim at general improvements or can be adapted to meet the conditions of the context of the experiment.