Flood Resilience Measurement for Communities: listen to all voices

Thursday, January 30, 2020

This is the last blog in a series of three where we get to learn from the experiences of Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance colleagues that have been involved in the roll out of the Flood Resilience Measurement for Communities (FRMC). Here you will get some useful advice on how to make sure your work is inclusive and that the data collection captures a diverse range of voices. 

The FRMC is a framework and tool for measuring levels of community resilience against floods based on data collected from the community in question using household surveys, focus groups, key informant interviews and third source data. Since the successful implementation of the FRMC depends on the information provided by members of the community, it is important to plan the project in a way that ensures that people with diverse experiences, backgrounds and needs are included. 

Get to know the community

Community Mapping exercises help identify groups or individuals in the community who might be marginalised and/or particularly vulnerable in the event of floods. Having this knowledge allows you to reach out to these groups and individuals to ensure their experiences are captured. 

>Mapping exercise in Mexico. Photo: Paulo Cerino, Mexico Red Cross
Mapping exercise in Mexico. Photo: Paulo Cerino, Mexico Red Cross

Miguel advises to use existing data on prominence of disabilities within a community to complement information gathered from the community. 

In Nepal the relationship between local Community Disaster Management Committees (CDMC) and Practical Action is useful for identifying individuals who are particularly vulnerable as this is information that CDMCs hold as they need it to prepare for community action in the face of a flood.

Include different religious and cultural groups 

As mentioned in the previous blog on project timing it is important to consider people’s different religious affiliations and the time they set aside for worship and celebration. It is particularly important to acknowledge that not all community members may belong to the same religious or cultural group and that activities and data collection should be scheduled in a way that allows people from different groups to participate fully. 

Members of Tharu community in their traditional clothing. Photo: Archana Gurung, Practical Action Nepal.
Members of Tharu community in their traditional clothing. Photo: Archana Gurung, Practical Action Nepal.

Seek out marginalised voices

Red Cross in Mexico shared an example of how a man with a disability that affected his mobility had been identified during the community mapping process and the team reached out to him as a key informant to make sure his unique experience and insight was captured and considered.  

In Nepal Practical Action carried out focus groups with local women’s groups to make sure women’s voices were heard, and that this opportunity was given in a setting where they felt safe and confident to share their experience. 

Hearing what people have to say is not enough

It is one thing to identify marginalised people and make sure you include their experiences in data collection. According to Brenda the real effort is to ensure that these people are genuinely included in the interventions and activities that follow. 

This view is shared by Bikram who adds that it can be challenging to ensure that more marginalised voices are not silenced in the decision making process following the FRMC, where community members identify next steps and prioritise interventions that build flood resilience. There is a risk that powerful members of the community are able to direct funding and interventions in a way that only reinforces existing power structures. 

For many marginalised individuals the FRMC process might be the first time they have been given the opportunity to fully engage in community work so neither they nor others in the community have experience to build on which can create anxiety. 

Miguel’s advice on gender inclusivity is to not only focus on achieving 50/50 splits in terms of who is interviewed or attends activities, but to support women to take on prominent roles in these activities and appoint women as leaders. 

Members of the Resilient Leader's Network in San Miguel de Viso. Photo: Giorgio Madueno, Practical Action Peru
Members of the Resilient Leader’s Network in San Miguel de Viso. Photo: Giorgio Madueno, Practical Action Peru.

Big thank you to my Alliance colleagues 

This blog is based on interviews with the following Alliance colleagues who have all been closely involved in the roll out of the FRMC into new communities: Brenda Avila Flores, Country Programme Coordinator and Jimena Cuevas Portilla, Knowledge Manager at Red Cross Mexico, Fatos Xhengo, Country Programme Coordinator and Said Bushaj, FRMC Lead at Red Cross Albania, Bikram Rana Tharu, Project Manager and Madhab Uprety, Knowledge Officer at Practical Action Nepal, and Miguel Arestegui, Project Manager at Practical Action Peru. 

Learn more

If you want to learn more about the FRMC or access guidance on how best to use it you can do so on our dedicated FRMC page

You can also read the previous two blogs in this series. The first one which gives advice on how to ensure community engagement and the second discusses the importance of timing

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