Community risk reduction

The Red Cross and Red Crescent has traditionally focused on response. But now other aspects, including the relatively new concept of risk reduction, are also given priority. Risk-reduction activities and early-warning procedures need to be adapted to the changing hazards, people at risk need to fully understand them, and the volunteer’s role in non-response times becomes more crucial than ever.

Helping communities reduce their own vulnerability is more urgent than ever. That does not mean telling them what to do but facilitating a dialogue about their concerns, empowering them to define their own priorities. The Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (VCA) – a method by which communities themselves can assess and address the hazards they face – has been of enormous assistance. Having mapped the dangers, people analyse why they are vulnerable to them. Then they develop action plans. Sharing knowledge of changing risks from both science and community sources alike can be integrated into community risk reduction.

“It isn’t that climate change alters the nature of our risk-reduction activities,” says Viet Nam Red Cross senior officer, Nguyen Hung Thang, “but it does raise matters of priority, particularly at the community level.”

Considering climate change in Vulnerability Capacity Assessments (VCAs)

The Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre has created a guidance note for VCA practitioners who wish to consider climate change in their work with communities. This builds upon guidance included in the  Community Risk Reduction section of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Guide. There are a number of opportunities to consider climate change before, during or after a VCA that are outlined in these documents. The guidance note is an evolving document and will be updated according to further feedback and field experience. Feedback is welcomed:

Download here the factsheet file (pdf, 49 kB) (in English) on Community risk reduction and in Russian file (pdf, 208 kB).


Nicaragua: Climate change games

Watch here external the English version of a facilitators training video for the Upstream/Downstream game from Wapponi Productions (a Nicaragua-based film crew).

Solomon Islands: Climate aspects in the Pacific- Assessing capacity for change

A Solomon Islands case study This is the story of one Red Cross society’s effort to incorporate climate change into its regular work, and what it found  on Pi.. Read more about: Climate aspects in the Pacific - Assessing Capacity for Change

Community resilience in Indonesia

Watch the video Beyond response: adapting to climate change at the Red Cross external. This documentary looks at how the Indonesian Red Cross prepares itself and the vulnerable communities to adapt to the new challenge of climate change.

Community resilience in Ethiopia

The Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS), supported by the Netherlands Red Cross (NLRC), will implement during the period 2009-2010 a climate adaptation/drought risk reduction programme in two woredas, one in South Gonder zone (Ebinat) and one in East Hararghe zone (Goro Gutu). Both woredas have highly vulnerable and food insecure populations.

This programme has been developed to make these vulnerable communities more knowledgeable on climate change and its impact on the local environment. The programme is designed to give the target group tools, resources and knowledge to increase their adaptability to the changing environment and cope with the increased disaster and health risks.

The NLRC sought the support and advice of the RC/RC Climate Centre to develop a video product for/on the Ebinat community project and to organize a workshop with farmers in the community. More than 100 farmers participated in the workshop and despite there being a Saturday market, all farmers in the village stayed home to participate at the announced workshop. This workshop was filmed, including all the reactions and new ideas of the farmers present.

All this led to an interesting video, which will be shown in neighboring villages and other similar areas in Ethiopia as an informative tool with useful ideas "for farmers by farmers". The enthusiastic reception of such visual content and tools, the willing engagement of partners and the positive response from all audiences to these methods has led to notable successes. The videos will soon be uploaded on the Climate Centre website. Watch other films.

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