people icon
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

Related content

Blogs - disaster risk reduction

Climate change is fuelling extreme weather events

On International Day for Disaster Reduction, Hurricane Matthew is a timely reminder of the consequences of inaction on climate change. Changing climates exacerbated by years of ineffective development generates risk for everyone, especially the poorest and most vulnerable those least responsi...
Read more

Bag gardening makes a big change to food security of flood vulnerable families

Nasima Khatun lives in a village, very near the mighty Jamuna river of Sirajganj. River water comes to destroy their kitchen garden almost every year during the months of July, August and September, the harvesting season for summer vegetables. During the post flood period vegetable scarcity in ho...
Read more

Making up time on Loss and Damage

This week the world passed a benchmark when the 56th country submitted documents of ratification for the global climate change agreement that was signed in Paris in December 2015[1]. This was a significant step and raises the likelihood that the Paris agreement will be ratified in adva...
Read more

What makes people resilient?

Insights from a flood vulnerable community in Sirajganj As interest in resilience gathers momentum on the international stage, the need to address the question what do we understand by resilience becomes more important. To explore this question I recently visited flood victims in Sirajganj, Ba...
Read more

Natural Capital the basis for effective flood protection?

The year has been marked by a number of unusual climate events. Not only was 2015 the hottest year on record[1], with 2016 appearing on track to exceed this[2], but the year has also been unusually wet. In the US state of Louisiana, 13 people died and large areas are still struggling to cope when...
Read more

no comments