‘Build back better’ seeks to promote the resilience of communities and households. See the case studies below from Bangladesh on cluster housing and from Kenya and Ethiopia on supporting pastoralists face reoccurring droughts. Resilience refers to:
the ability of a system, community or society to resist, absorb, cope with and recover from the effects of hazards and to adapt to longer term changes in a timely and efficient manner without undermining food security or wellbeing. Increasing resilience means addressing the factors that underlie vulnerability.
Improving the diversity and security of people’s livelihoods means that they have more options available They can choose to live or work in areas less exposed to hazards, or have more resources to drawn on in order to cope and recover when affected by hazards.
Being prepared for hazards and stresses can significantly reduce exposure. Improved understanding of long term trends, such as climate change, urbanisation, and others, means that people can draw on their resources in appropriate ways and adapt to changes through innovation, partnerships, access to timely information and flexible and diverse livelihood strategies. People can be better prepared to deal with a range of changing risks when they are able to influence decision making processes, service provision and resource allocation
Reconstruction contributes to preparedness by:
- Understanding and preparing for current and future hazards and stresses.
- Increasing capacity to analyse changing hazards, access timely and relevant information, and improved hazard prevention and protection;
- Increasing early warning and awareness and establishing contingency and emergency plans
- Participatory planning and promotion of diverse livelihood strategies
- Providing the opportunity for people to access and influence processes of decision making, service provision and resource allocation
- Building confidence and flexibility to learn and experiment
To ensure that people are able to pursue secure and diverse livelihoods it is necessary to analyse all aspects of their livelihoods and ensure that they are safe from the effects of hazards and stresses.
For more information on promoting community resilience in a holistic way, see the Vulnerability to Resilience Framework.
Case studies of Building Back Better from Bangladesh and Kenya
People are at risk from natural hazards because of the social, economic and environmental vulnerability. Families living in disaster prone areas face numerous challenges in pursuing sustainable livelihoods strategies. Practical Action has worked in a variety of locations to support people who are exposed to changing hazards.
Bangladesh – building resilience through cluster housing
In Bangladesh, Practical Action works with resource-poor people living on river embankments; many of whom have lost their land to erosion and are now living in make-shift temporary houses. 105 most vulnerable and deprived families were selected in three locations to benefit from project-funded low-cost housing. Cluster housing was built on land raised above previous flood levels in these locations. The beneficiary families now live in safe, flood-free houses with access to clean water and hygienic latrines. The provision of a secure homestead has enabled people to establish social networks, engage in income generating activities, establish small home gardens and undertake day labour without fear of losing their few possessions while away. Merely having a secure home has opened up a host of opportunities which have increased their resilience.
For more information on the Cluster Housing Approach, see: Elements of disaster resilience: lessons from Bangladesh
Facing reoccurring drought – supporting pastoralists in Kenya and Ethiopia
Along the border of Kenya and Ethiopia, Practical Action is helping pastoralists to face reoccurring drought. Changes in the availability and accessibility of water and forage greatly affect livestock condition, milk production and ultimately the livelihood security of pastoralists. Drought and forage scarcity deteriorate the condition of animals already affected by poor health, resulting in high livestock mortality.
Practical Action has improved access to reliable and adequate water sources for both livestock and human use; supported a functioning community based animal health delivery system to improve response to disease outbreaks; and improved pasture management and livestock mobility. Supporting their livelihood assets and preparing for hazards, has enabled pastoralists to better cope with drought-induced disasters.