Note: This is a part of a comprehensive step-by-step approach for creating a Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction (CBDRR) program. Check out the main topic page, CBDRR Practitioners Guidelines, to learn more about the full guidelines.
This step helps determine where the CBDRR programme will be carried out by identifying high level criteria that are important to the NS and their partners, such as national & government, other NGOs, and donors. These are high level criteria that identify potential communities or a wider geographical area, while the actual selection of communities – with their involvement, happens at a later stage.
What do I need to know?
Why is this important?
Community selection criteria help ensure a transparent, consistent and documented process. This will help support accountability to beneficiaries and donors alike and can reduce external influences and power dynamics in decision making. Clear and transparent criteria help to improve coordination and reduce duplication in programming by identifying other stakeholders working in similar areas. It helps explain to stakeholders – including the communities themselves - why they were or were not selected for CBDRR support. It can also provide secondary data for the vulnerability and capacity assessment (VCA) process. The community selection criteria should build on data collected during the context assessment step; usually that step will provide the majority of data to be used in deciding criteria.
What are key factors to consider when developing community selection criteria?
- Frequency and severity of shocks and disasters.
- Social, economic factors e.g. ethnicity, religion, gender considerations, population density and growth rates, diversity and security of livelihoods, areas of economic development or neglect, wider economic and social trends.
- Level of natural disaster risks compared to other types of disasters & shocks (using hazard maps)
- Vulnerability to the hazard and the overall risks for potentially targeted communities.
- Access to communities by RC or other partners.
- Level of inclusion in government programs – disaster management and development plans.
- Known interest of communities to participate in the project.
- Synergies between neighbouring communities (with a similar hazard profile); which contributes to learning but also presents opportunities for scale up.
- Number and type of other organizations working in the various communities.
- Number and type of projects undertaken in these communities previously with RCRC or with others.
- The general capacity of the branch to support a programme such as sufficient resources including volunteers, support systems, sound management etc.
- What is the likely scale and depth of community programming that is possible?
- Who else is active there, currently or recently, what sectors they cover and opportunities for collaboration or risks of duplicating their work?
- Where else the NS is working – say in health programming or in schools? It may be more effective to add CBDRR elements to these programmes rather than starting in completely new communities.
- Are there opportunities to target specific risk areas, e.g. high risk river systems?
What are the basic steps in developing community selection criteria?
- With other stakeholders, brainstorm the criteria to be used (see questions above and also see suggested tools).
- Complete the criteria with inputs from stakeholders including local branches and chapters.
- Hold a multi-stakeholder meeting to review the data and make preliminary selections.
- Document the process including the decisions taken.
- Where possible, verify the selection in person. Some data or information may have been missing or incorrect. Keep in mind this is general selection based on agreed criteria – this does not include mobilizing communities to ensure their specific commitment to the programme – that will happen later.
- Continue to validate the criteria as needed (as new information may come in, the context may change in important ways etc.).
What are some success factors or key determinants?
The process must be transparent, impartial and clearly document the decisions on selection.
Probable community interest and branch capacity should be heavily emphasized as critical factors in the selection decision.
The CBDRR approach requires a high level of community motivation and commitment and this may need to ‘out-rank’ vulnerability in communities where there is no motivation. While at this stage you have not done a full community assessment, enough information needs to be gathered to give a general idea if certain communities may be appropriate. The decisions should be flexible. If later on in the process the communities selected are not appropriate or not interested, the decisions should be re-evaluated.
Be aware that expectations can be raised during this step and it is important to try to manage the expectations of the different stakeholders involved in a transparent and open way.
What are some useful tools and methodologies?
- SEAGA Module 8 Targeting for Gender
- Caribbean Community Selection Tool (under development for early 2013)
- CDEMA Vulnerability Criteria
To be included later based on user need. Suggestions for potential examples have included the Philippines, Guyana, and Vietnam.
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