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Building back better after disasters leads to more resilient, capable communities

Practical Action encourages humanitarian agencies to embrace the goal of “building back better”. This means much more than just leaving people with stronger physical structures. It means helping families, communities, social networks and local markets emerge from crises more capable to cope and adapt to future threats.

To achieve this resilience people affected by disaster need as large a role as practicable in the decision-making and management of humanitarian resources. The processes of reconstruction planning and implementation often matter just as much as their outcomes. Putting crisis-survivors at the centre of these processes empowers them, strengthens their capabilities and confidence.

Early attention to recovery and reconstruction is also important. Decisions taken during the ‘emergency relief’ phase of disasters, can have a major impact later on the prospects for sustainable recovery of people’s livelihoods and communities.

Principles of 'building back better'

We aim for more resilient, capable communities in the aftermath of disasters. To encourage this, we promote seven principles that underpin our recovery and reconstruction work.

Explore the values that inform Practical Action’s approach

'Building back better' in practice

In the aftermath of disasters, Practical Action aims to encourage the emergence of more resilient, capable communities and households.  We have built up a body of experience and practical tools for post-disaster programming, that are relevant to different themes.

Find out more about Practical Action’s recovery and reconstruction work

Practical tools for 'building back better'

Our technical information service offers free downloads on a range of topics related to reconstruction.

We also have a technical enquiry service where anyone working in poverty reduction, or on small-scale technology projects, can ask a question and receive a response from our local experts free of charge

Download tools and other resources for people-centred reconstruction

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Building resilience needs learning from the past and looking to the future

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Women in Engineering Beat the Flood!

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Can you trust technology to provide protection from flooding?

Practical Action has been working with a number of different partners in the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance[1] to explore the factors that build the resilience of communities in developing countries to the threat of floods. One of the features of flood prone communities is the fact that these c...
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Mock flood exercises in Nepal prepare communities for monsoon

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