Recovery, Renewal, Resilience

Lessons for Resilience

Consider the lessons learned on the role of communities in local pandemic preparedness and response
Community participation

There has recently been a new spotlight shone on the impact that communities have had on their local response. A key message from the UK’s Integrated Review was the need to build whole-of-society resilience through enhancing capabilities in local resilience (see a recent TMB case study). TMB has often highlighted the renewal of community resilience through building a Local Resilience Capability (TMB Issue 30, as well as Briefing A in this current issue). Communities are being seen in a new light in local resilience.

This has been further identified in a paper by the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, titled ‘Centering communities in pandemic preparedness and response’. This paper emphasizes the importance of community involvement in tackling disease outbreaks and advises of the need to:

  • Establish partnerships to work with communities to design, plan, implement and monitor local and national pandemic preparedness and response, for example:
    • In Sur, Oman, the city government developed an intervention of response in partnership with civil society (e.g. community sports clubs, the Omani Women Association, youth groups and voluntary organisations). These groups supported activities to “arrange, maintain, and supervise” pandemic response activities
  • Improve community engagement through “clear structures and sustained funding”, recognising that continuous effort is needed (not just a one-off effort during crisis). This can help to develop trust between communities and official service providers
  • Recognise that risk communication is key to community engagement, and one part of local resilience capabilities: two-way, bi-directional and co-produced communications are essential to understand needs, communicate responsibilities, and gain feedback (see TMB 37 ‘Risk communications as part of the Local Resilience Capability’)
  • Community resilience requires a “sustainable framework for community empowerment and recovery”, including:
    • “Invest in civic mindedness” to establish a culture of social connectedness and empower communities to take responsibility through co-production to understand risk preparedness, response and recovery
    • Establish partnerships between governments and community-based groups/voluntary organisations/businesses to integrate communities into the planning and leadership of interventions that enhance their local resilience
    • “Invest in social and economic wellbeing, and in physical and psychological health” to ensure access to health services
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