Emergency response and recovery services will not always be available during and immediately post emergencies. It is imperative therefore that communities have the knowledge of what to do and the capacity to take care of themselves until assistance can arrive.
The key to improving a community’s resilience and build local capacity to prepare for and recover from emergency events is community engagement. Community engagement provides an awareness and understanding of the risks and hazards communities face, their distinct vulnerabilities and the strengths they can draw upon to support themselves in periods of need.
Community engagement enables inclusive and participatory planning. This ensures the development of strategies and actions which are relevant and can readily be implemented. Furthermore, individuals and communities are more likely to follow a plan and engage in activities where they have been involved in the decision-making process.
Disaster Mastermind provides community engagement services for government, non-government, industry and community groups. Our approach to community engagement reflects the principles of the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience – Community Engagement Framework. The Framework recognises that engaging communities and increasing participatory practice requires the application of different techniques dependent upon the intent of the activity, the capacity of the community and the resources available. Community engagement activities thus fall within a spectrum of: Inform, consult, participate, collaborate, empower.
Here at Disaster Mastermind we have extensive experience in facilitating community forums, working groups, interactive feedback and debrief sessions, as well as supporting agencies in the development of strategies and materials for their ongoing community engagement activities.
Community engagement following an emergency event often means working with people and communities in a heightened state of anxiety and stress. Experiencing traumatic events can affect the way people understand and respond to others around them. Our personnel have extensive experience engaging with communities immediately following traumatic events and over the longer term recovery process, and working in challenging environments.
We provide specialised and tailored services to meet the changing needs of your community and help them feel informed, empowered and capable to participate in their own recovery.