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

Pumpkins against poverty and climate change in Bangladesh

Pumpkin farming in Bangladesh helps some of the most vulnerable people to cope with floods & climate change and so escape poverty. This reveals critical lessons for some of the biggest problems our world faces.

How is climate change creating poverty in Bangladesh?

Ban...
Read more

Learning to fail

Often we celebrate success and seldom talk about failures. In a modern work-space it is difficult to imagine an environment where we confidently and openly talk about failures. In evaluation meetings we focus our energies on ‘best practices’ but less on ‘lessons learnt’. For me, success and failu...
Read more

International Day for Disaster Reduction #IDDR2017

International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) held every 13th October, celebrates how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters.

Read more about International Day for Disaster Reduction and our work here: https://practicalaction.org...
Read more

Coping disasters beyond the border : Nepal-India cross-border flood early warning system

Written by: Dinanath Bhandari, Buddhi Kumal, Lok Narayan Pokhrel and Kamal Tripathi


Saving lives from flood disasters beyond the border is possible through early warning systems. It is demonstrated successfully in three river basins between India and Nepal. Bilateral cooperation at g...
Read more

The magic trick and resilience: can it work?

If you are a citizen of any country exposed to natural disasters, you may know that flooding, cyclones or hurricanes are some of the words that first come to mind when anyone talks about natural disasters. When we talk about disasters, either natural or man-made we all think of one thing – ho...
Read more

no comments