Recovery, Renewal, Resilience

Lessons for Resilience

Consider how humour may be used in the right settings as a risk communication and engagement tool
Strategic communications

While humour is not readily identifiable with disaster risk management, it has been shown as a useful tool to:

  • Engage the audience, breaking through boredom
  • Enable new ideas to emerge
  • Invite people to change their frames of reference
  • Creates a safe space to be candid and innovative
  • Envision how things can go wrong/could change

One means of sensitively using humour is through cartoons. From week 13 of the speaker series, "Cities on the Frontline", the World Bank and the Global Resilient Cities Network commissioned cartoonists to create cartoons that represented the weekly theme to create cartoons that engage webinar participants differently. Consider how to sensitively use humour through outputs like cartoons to:

  • Augment frank discussions about risk, meaningful engagement, and provide a safe space for respectful disagreement
  • Explain information to individuals who may not have the technical experience in disasters e.g. there is often an expectation that communities who at risk are making decisions the same way that technical specialists do, yet, most individuals who are at risk in a floodplain, for instance, derive some benefit from living there. Thus, there are different decision-making factors to consider. Cartoons can help change the frame of reference for both risk specialists and communities
  • Highlight potential problems. Cartoons can serve as metaphors, helping participants to see their role or project in a new light
  • Provide non aggressive commentary on particular situations, especially those which are sensitive
  • Encourage participatory discussions by depicting ideas at their extreme logical conclusions, or challenging positions or proposals to inspire dialogue about risk
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