Special Articles / Subhasis Bhadra, Venkat Pulla / Community Work : Theories, Experiences & Challenges
Climate change or otherwise disasters seem to occur in every part of the world: largely natural and some attributed to wrong interventions of humans into nature. Only a few months ago (June 2013) the Indian government conducted a mammoth rescue operation in Uttarakhand. Most relief and recovery be it India or Australia requires time and resources that go beyond the immediate crisis relief. Crucially the survivors of disaster need to get back to normalcy through their engagement and recovery by strengthening their own capacity. This process of individual and community recovery is recognised as psychosocial supports essentially referred to as the most important intervention in disaster management practice. The survivor community in disaster recovery becomes the key stakeholder and community participation anchors the lifeline for pursuing community change. In this chapter the authors present a community development perspective of the various phases of the disaster management cycle focusing on relief, rehabilitation, rebuilding and finally disaster preparedness that attempts to strengthen resilience at individual and community levels. The authors have drawn on their previous work relating to the 2004 Tsunami while explaining the various concepts.
Keywords: Resilience building, Community development, Disaster management, Tsunami, Social work, Psychosocial well-being
When it comes to disasters and natural calamities, social work appears to be at the forefront of immediate relief efforts by working alongside emergency service personnel or by providing trauma and emotional support (Pulla, 2013). Be it floods in Bangladesh or the tsunamis in South East Asia, or bushfires and floods in Australia, it is important to note that social workers do great crisis work and have always participated in frontline services in the aftermath of natural disasters, most commonly in rural areas (Pulla, 2013; Alston, 2007; Pittaway, Bartolomei, & Rees, 2007). Similarly, their record with victims of war and refugees in trauma and torture counselling equally receives positive mention (Valtonen, 2012).
Community organisation methodology from social work appears to be highly efficient and remains dominant in disaster situations. For the purpose of this paper we would develop an operational definition that sees a combination of variables of social disruption, collective stress within the community and physical hazard. Such a definition allows community development workers and emergency personnel that work within the framework of disaster management to appreciate the common concerns. Disaster intervention work involves major problem-solving effort to re-establish social support and human relationships and empower people to achieve a sense of well-being (Des Marais, Bhadra, & Dyer, 2012, pp. 352-353).
Immediately following disasters communities go through identifiable phases of recovery, including distress, relief, disillusionment, resentment, reconstruction, and reframing, although not necessarily in the same order (Herman, 1992). The first stage of disaster recovery is one of distress and disorganisation following the crisis event when panic and confusion reign. Distress is followed by a sense of relief when rescue and safety occurs, and an engendered ‘heroism,’ sometimes described as a euphoric ‘honeymoon,’ takes place (Francis, 2013, p. 28). When the reality of an adjusted but new life sets in, after this period of relief, communities go through difficult times. Disillusionment, anger, resentment of others and of society’s lack of care and provision may also generate strife and conflict (Francis, 2013). In the reconstruction stage, individuals and groups retrace the past, reframe it as a meaningful event, and re-evaluate future goals, both privately and publicly. In each of these phases, community development workers can assist communities in accepting reality and be patient listeners to the affected people. It is not only the disaster that causes problem; rather the aftermath of the disaster is more crucial for management of the disaster. Primarily, disaster is recognised by its impact on the society and human lives, rather than by the event as such. This would mean that an, earthquake is not an issue as long as it does not cause harm to human society and human lives. An earthquake in a desert or a tidal wave in a barren island do not cause much concern.
The various stages in the disaster management cycle denote a number of phases related to disasters and their management. These include prevention where possible, mitigation, preparedness, response, rehabilitation, reconstruction and recovery.
Prevention denotes the outright avoidance of adverse impacts of hazards and related disasters. Disaster prevention expresses the concept and intention to completely avoid potential adverse impacts of disaster through action taken in advance. Examples of prevention are the control of floods through polders or levees.
Mitigation means the efforts for lessening or limitation of the adverse impacts of hazards and related disasters. Thus, mitigation refers to those measures aimed at reducing exposure to a hazard and vulnerability. For example, growing mangroves in the coastal areas will reduce tsunami impact.
Preparedness is the knowledge and capacities developed by governments, professional response and recovery organisations, communities and individuals to effectively anticipate, respond to, and recover from, the impacts of likely, imminent or current hazard events or conditions. While many of the activities included under preparedness are carried out before a disaster, conducting them allows those who have to respond to do it in a more timely and effective way, leading to reduced damages and losses. For example, evacuation of people after the cyclone warning (giving mass information about the approach of the hazardous event), developing safe school plans to deal with the event of an earthquake, fire disasters etc.
Response is the provision of emergency services and public assistance during or immediately after a disaster in order to save lives (rescue of survivors), to reduce health impacts, to ensure public safety and to meet the basic subsistence needs of the people affected.
Rehabilitation is the operations and decisions taken after a disaster with a view to restoring a stricken community to its former living conditions, in particular with a view to restoring lifelines and key services.
Reconstruction is the actions takento re-establish a community after a period of rehabilitation subsequent to a disaster. Actions would include construction of permanent housing, full restoration of all services, and complete resumption of the pre-disaster state.
Recovery is restoration and improvement where appropriate, of facilities, livelihoods and living conditions of disaster-affected communities, including efforts to reduce disaster risk factors. The recovery phase begins soon after the response and rehabilitation phases have ended (ISDR, 2010).
Working for the disaster survivor community is essentially an enabling process considering various humanitarian concerns such as, ensuring human dignity, encouraging participation, strengthening available resources and capacity for holistic recovery. Barker (2003) defined empowerment as ‘the process of helping individuals, families, groups, and communities to increase their personal, interpersonal, socio-economic, and political strength and to develop influence towards improving their circumstances’ (p. 142).
In the social work profession empowerment-focused practice seeks to develop the capacity of clients to understand their environment, make choices, take responsibilities for their choices and influence their life situations through organisation and advocacy (Zastrow, 2010). The empowerment focused practice in social work is broadly being termed as strength based perspective and Saleebey (2007) described five important principles that are also crucial for working with the survivors of disaster and ensuring community-based rehabilitation planning. The first principle states that every individual, family and community has strength. This implies that the internal strength, cultural heritage and traditional knowledge of each and every human being can be considered as a resource and those resources can be identified and capitalised for the growth and development in any circumstance, even after a disaster. The second principle of the strengths perspective explained that trauma, abuse, illness and struggle can be injurious, but they can also be a source of challenge and opportunity. The disaster experience is one of the severe traumatic experiences for the survivors and there is continuous struggle involved in rebuilding life and getting back to normalcy. Similarly, the post-disaster rebuilding is always focused on a better situation and ensures adequate disaster preparedness as part of resiliency building. Disaster specifically brings focus to the area and in the long term the effort may also ensure development. The third principle is crucial for social work practitioners in the field of disaster intervention as it focuses on the innate capacity of the survivors to visualise the change and bring better developmental opportunities for themselves. This principle ‘assumes that you do not know the upper limits of the capacity to grow and change, and take individual, group, and community aspirations seriously’ (Zastrow, 2010, p. 72). The fourth principle of the strength perspective mentions collaboration with the client to ensure an equal footage as a stakeholder in the process of intervention. In disaster rehabilitation the community as a client becomes a major collaborative partner in the process of disaster recovery and resiliency building. The last principle is ‘every environment is full of resources’ (Zastrow, 2010, p. 73). The strength perspective always tries to identify the resources and make use of them in the best possible fashion. Even after the great losses in the disaster people have their inner capacity to rebuild their life. People try to connect the thread of life by collecting things and by taking up activities to survive (Pulla, 2012).
The foreword of the Guidelines for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (Inter-Agency Standing Committee [IASC], 2007) considers it important to have four aspects while constructing core psychosocial support interventions, namely, (1) community mobilisation and support, (2) health services, (3) education, and (4) dissemination of information. Community mobilisation is focused on developing community participatory process of recovery, developing self-help among the survivors, resiliency building activities and culturally appropriate method of healing practices.
Survivor communities that are offered psychosocial support programs that build on core strengths of the community and its collectivist orientation assist recovery of the survivors. Psychosocial support is ‘any type of local or outside support that aims to protect or promote psychosocial well-being and/or prevent or treat mental disorder’ (Inter-Agency Standing Committee [IASC], 2007). In the Indian Tsunami context psychosocial support was designed as an essential component for recovery based on the experiences of working in different disaster interventions that assisted emotional, social, physical and spiritual well-being. Further revisions of the Sphere project (2011) considered psychosocial intervention as a common intervention for any disaster management work. It is considered equally important to have an educational intervention. Providing the right information at the right time has been considered as one of the main interventions as a lack of actual information causes a lot of anxiety, stress and worry. Further, giving right information can ensure actual use of resources and providing knowledge to the survivors about their future. The community-based psychosocial support training manual (International Federation Reference Centre, 2009) elucidates ‘psychosocial’ as referring to the dynamic relationship between the psychological and social dimension of a person, where the one influences the other. The psychological dimension includes the internal, emotional and thought processes, feelings and reactions. The social dimension includes relationships, family and community networks, social values and cultural practices. Psychosocial support refers to the actions that address both the psychological and social needs of individuals (Hansen, 2008). The provision of psychosocial support ensures reduction of distress, associated disability and facilitates psychosocial well-being. Psychosocial wellbeing is considered as combining three domains of human life: (1) human capital (deals with physical and mental health and an individual’s capacity to realise his own strength) (2) social ecology (social connections, net-works, relationship that promotes cohesion and equilibrium in society), and (3) culture and values (societal and behavioural norms connected with social expectations) (The Psychosocial Working Group, 2003). Further, psychosocial well-being is largely connected with environmental, economic and physical resources that support the existence and well-being.
The Tsunami of 2004
When the tsunami of 2004 hit the southern coast of India, it left in its wake at least 10,881 people dead, 645,000 people lost their source of livelihood (nearly 80% in fishing), 150,000 houses were destroyed or damaged, and thousands of people injured or missing. In total, it affected 2.7 million people who live in India (The World Bank, 2005). While India is no stranger to natural disasters, the magnitude of the tsunami was unlike any disaster that the people from this region had experienced before. According to archival diaries, the last tsunami that affected this region may have occurred during the 18th century–almost 200 years before (‘Historians to trace tsunamis’, 2005).The South Asian Tsunami of 2004 as a unique disaster impacting about seven countries at least led to a major change and wider acceptance of psychosocial support activity in this region. India, one among the worst hit countries in Tsunami 2004, focused a great deal to facilitate relief and rehabilitation on a large scale in the community and schools by mobilising a large number of volunteers, workers from different government departments and by continuous capacity building and follow-up (World Health Organization, 2006). As a basic strategy of work for rebuilding communities the local NGOS and Government departments were engaged through involvement of a large number of community level workers (e.g., teachers, child care personnel, health workers, community leaders, representatives of local self-government, student volunteers, volunteers from different forums, self-help group members, members of religious institutions etc.). It was seen that active interest and engagement of the survivors in the program pulled the agenda for long-term support. During this phase it was also realised by the Indian Government that lack of accepted Indian Guidelines hampered the flow of services and desired outcomes, resulting in calls for immediate government action to develop a National Policy on Disaster Management (Government of India, 2009a) and national level guidelines on mental health services and psychosocial support for disaster response (Government of India, 2009b). Indian coastal communities and administrative systems were grossly unaware about the Tsunami and the absolute lack of a warning system caused major damage and vulnerability even after the disaster. The long-term psychosocial support program focused on community rebuilding supported by various funding sources showed a major change in the condition and created awareness about well-being, practising safety measures and developing community strength to deal with adversities (Des Marais, Bhadra, & Dyer 2012, p. 348).
The Community Strategies
The huge death, destruction and loss in the communities across the coastal villages of Kanyakumari districts called for the immediate attention of humanitarian workers and organisations. The initial strategy of working with the survivors was to train a large number of community volunteers/community workers in the government and non-government sectors to facilitate emotional care ‘based on the accepted principles for providing emotional support to survivors of any disaster’ (Sekar, Bhadra, Jayakumar, Aravidraj, Henry, & Kishore Kumar, 2005, p. 40). In this relief phase a large number of community members who were working with the health, education, child and family welfare departments were trained and also different NGO/CBO (Non-Government Organisation/Community-Based Organisation) workers who were present in the community were included (e.g., teachers, child care personnel, health workers, community leaders, representatives of local self-government, student volunteers, volunteers from different forums, self-help group members, members of religious institutions). There was a huge response and immediate mobilisation that showed the community’s capacity to determine its own future. This strength of the community was the key to designing work with higher community engagement that builds the capability of the community people to take ownership of their own recovery. The training was based on sharing of experiences and participatory methodology that helped the participants to relate with their own situation and build confidence to deal with the problems by involving others in the community (NIMHANS & WHO, 2006).
In this phase in the immediate aftermath of the Tsunami the distinctive characteristics of communities’ response were crucial for the next direction in the rehabilitation programming. The spirit of voluntarism was higher among the people in the community as the impact of the Tsunami was overwhelming and people got together to help each other. This feature can be called the honeymoon phase after a disaster (Weaver, 1995), that any community experiences roughly from two weeks to two months. Therefore, the crucial aspect was to sustain the energy of the community, making them an active partner in the recovery process following community organisation principles and processes. The trained community-level workers were provided with subsequent handholding support that included structured follow-up, monitoring, and refresher courses, regular sharing at different level supervised by the TOTs (Trainer of the Trainees) and trained social workers (NIMHANS, 2007). Eventually, different levels of training were designed and implemented that ensured continuous engagements of the survivors in the community at the individual, family or group levels. The community members with the contacts of the trained volunteers/community level workers who were mostly neighbours, had gained confidence and also a positive role model to follow. This approach led to an actual practice of strengths-based practices that ‘concentrates on the inherent strengths of individuals, families, groups and organisations deploying peoples’ personal strengths to aid their recovery and empowerment’ (Pulla, 2012, p. 52). Documentation of work done in this phase showed that the survivors developed a positive attitude to deal with the challenges in post-disaster life, as they regularly attended community meetings, group meetings and started taking a more active role in decision making, participating in a number of external agencies (Sekar, Bhadra, & Dyer, 2007; Becker, 2009). The survivors’ community in the initial months after the disaster usually gets divided into a number of groups based on kinship, caste, and religious identity, and at times developing a comprehensive model of rehabilitation causes friction and tension. It is also seen that the politically, socially or economically powerful groups of survivors try to control the recovery mechanism, and the lower caste survivors become marginalised (Sekar, 2008). At this juncture community organisation principles become most crucial to ensure an integrated, inclusive approach to deal with issues of marginalisation for the weaker sections among the survivors. Establishing community control over the resources either external or internal depends on how the community as a whole is being empowered to work together. Through the trained volunteers, the community members become aware and able to deal with the traumatic experience, and also learn to join together to bring about a better rehabilitation process.
The integrated community recovery project was designed subsequently for implementation with an aim to strengthen recovery through community and school-based interventions and build resiliency among the tsunami survivors (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies [IFRC], 2008a). The outcome was envisioned as developing safe, healthy, and competent individuals, families and communities through community engagement processes, strengthening the community’s internal resources and developing better functional community organisations and institutions, such as schools, community training centres etc. The objectives were designed to empower the Tsunami-affected communities and schools with better functioning capacity and strengthen local resources and support systems (Hansen, 2008, p. 47).
Through a cascading model of capacity building, which ‘involves the delivery of training through layers of trainers until it reaches the final target group’ (Elder, 1996, p. 13) the project staff were trained and the staff intern trained the community volunteers.. There were two categories of volunteers to implement the program in the community. The first category of volunteers was given intensive TOT (Training of Trainers) training to work with the second category of community-level workers who were directly engaged with the families. This cascading effect of the training (Sekar, Bhadra, & Dyer, 2007; Des Marais, Bhadra, & Dyer, 2012), is one of the proved modes of transferring the required knowledge and skills, was adapted to implement and engage the community in the long term. As a natural process of this community engagement the local volunteers who were identified in the communities were provided various knowledge and skill inputs considering the objectives of the project to achieve the goal (IFRC, 2008b, p. 8). The volunteers were ordinary men and women from the community. Through the regular session with the volunteers and the project staff the specific factors of joining as volunteers were identified which can be seen as the milestone in the community participatory process. This mass level participation of the Tsunami survivors at the community level was an essential component of the capability building of the community that ensured their control over their environment, participation in the social life and ability to contribute to the rehabilitation of their own community. The essential features of the volunteers’ strength that encouraged them to participate were identified as the successive force in the project that sustained the effort at the level of individual commitment, group initiates and community recognition. The commitment of the volunteers was grossly connected with the importance that they received in the community as they were able to facilitate support to their own people. A feeling of self-worth, which was associated with the spirit of voluntarism in the post-disaster situation, also helped working as a community volunteer. The women volunteers felt that their position in the family had changed and many a time they were seen with more respect as they were engaged for the welfare of the community people at large. The volunteers also felt that they had been able to contribute something very different and a new experience that brought them closer to their own people and they got to know many new concepts and ideas. At times they were given various higher responsibilities even by the formal leaders of their community. Therefore, voluntarism as a pro-social behaviour in the post-disaster situation becomes an important determinant of community participation. Volunteers as the community representative become part of the larger civil society organisation and become the voice of the affected people, as it was recognised in the situation of the Tsunami response program in Kanyakumari district (Bhadra & Pratheepa, 2009). Though the selection and participation of the volunteers is a gradual process, the community members, the students, the women, men, youths of the community who continued to be part of the recovery program were able to engage the whole community as they were viewed with higher regard by the community people.
In this Tsunami rehabilitation project the psychosocial support intervention was used as a platform (Diaz, Bhadra, & Krishnan, 2007, pp. 4-7) to build the capability that the community could take up all other initiatives for recovery. The community recovery project was referred to as the actions that address both the psychological, social and health needs of individuals, families and communities. Therefore, this project targeted all three levels to strengthen the resiliency and well-being of the Tsunami survivors. Through the trained staff the community mapping was initiated. The process evolved as most interactive, inclusive to review the situation and assess needs identified by the community members. The map includes community facilities, special human capital, and specific liabilities of the community, marginalised and diverse groups (‘Red Cross comes to the aid’, 2009). All the targeted communities prepared their maps, which were updated regularly. These maps were effectively used for program planning in the communities. Subsequently the Community Committee (CC) was formed in every community. The committee comprised a group of volunteers from the village, village leaders, and local mass leaders of the community. The CC was involved in various stages of the recovery program like planning, implementing and monitoring and to ensure the sustainability of the project. The committee met regularly to discuss and designed the interventions for their own community and also contribute (financially and volunteer time) as per the requirement and consensus decision. The process was maintained in such a manner that the community representative could take control over the recovery process gradually and the intended program could be facilitated. Further, various community mobilisation activities aimed at ensuring that the community members joined and developed capacities to work together.
Rebuilding and Recovery Actions
Any disaster destroys the social fabric of the society. The Tsunami had a major impact on social life, and social gathering among the community people reduced; community-based celebration almost stopped. It was essential to normalise the situation through cultural intertwining of the program activities. Within the program framework the volunteers organised various community mobilisation activities, where participation of the community people was most essentially emphasised with mobilisation of local resources in terms of monetary contribution, giving volunteer time, sharing various responsibilities for organising the events, providing space, facilities, materials etc. These contributions from the community were always highlighted to encourage the strength and self-reliance of the community people. Simultaneously, there were other health activities in the Tsunami-affected communities to deal with various issues regarding water and sanitation, cleanliness and hygiene, prevention of communicable disease, prevention of malaria and mosquito-borne diseases in coastal areas etc. A CBHFA (Community Based Health and First Aid) approach was used to improve the health condition of the target communities (Indian Red Cross Society [IRCS] - Kanyakumari District Branch, 2008, p. 8; Bhadra & Pratheepa, 2009; Singh & Mini, 2009). Towards this direction community volunteers were specially trained on health assessment and topics like malaria prevention, diarrhoea and oral rehydration solution (ORS) preparation, breast-feeding, tuberculosis, etc. Moreover house-to-house visits to create awareness and mobilising the entire community to address issues were carried out. A clean-up campaign and hang-up campaigns for ITNs (Insecticide-Treated Nets), rallies on de-addiction, health promotion and hygiene promotion were conducted (IFRC, 2009, pp. 33-34). Through community participation and engagement all the activities were implemented and driven by the volunteers, community committee, and leaders in the community. Some such important participatory events that were organised for community resiliency building by strengthening the support systems, for gradual transformation of community ownership, rebuilding a sense of belonging, and capability to engage in higher order functioning are mentioned here.
Community-wide meeting: For wider acceptance of the program, and mass level communication with all the community members the ‘community-wide meetings’ were the most crucial step. These meetings were conducted quarterly so that the community people were made aware of progress. In these meetings there were a number of social and cultural programs with the children, women, youths, and lectures by local eminent persons to facilitate a better cohesive, cooperative atmosphere in the community. This motivated them to contribute their valuable services, develop a sense of ownership and ensured sustainability of the program. The community volunteers had taken the lead role in organising the meeting with the support of the community committee and other local agencies such as the local youth club, self-help groups etc. Prize distribution of various competitive cultural activities, recognition of local volunteers by giving training certificates and displaying the planning for the community were done as part of each ‘community-wide meeting’. In each of these meetings at least sixty per cent of the community members’ participation was needed to augment the process of normalisation. Dissemination of right information is a fundamental requirement in the process of community engagement and rehabilitation in the psychosocial support program that was practised in the recovery project.
Community health mela (fair): The objective of the ‘mela’ was to promote health awareness among the general community, encourage owning responsibility for their well-being, disseminating messages to other community members on health and psychosocial well-being (IFRC, 2009). Community health ‘melas’ as a community mobilisation activity were planned by volunteers, committee members where audio-visual displays, distribution of pamphlets, cultural events, rallies, community kitchen and exhibitions of various IEC (Information, Education and Communication) were conducted. Through a rigorous participatory process and following behaviour change communication (BCC) principles the IEC materials were designed and developed (Bhadra, 2012, p. 120). Health stalls were established and messages on disease prevention, health promotion, hygiene, sanitation, nutrition and the issues related to psychosocial well-being were provided. This event fetched a huge participation too, not only from the community, but also the volunteers and community members from the neighbouring communities too. Hence, the event helped to showcase a lot about the community initiatives and became a model to be followed by others too in the community. A similar community ‘mela’ was organised in every targeted community and subsequently the community volunteers themselves started organising and managing the same.
Clean-up campaign: Within CBHFA through a clean-up campaign awareness was created on mosquito-borne diseases and environmental hygiene factors that should be practised at the individual, family and community levels. The community members were motivated to keep the drainage clean, stagnant water areas identified and removed in order to remove the mosquito breeding sites and reduce the incidence of mosquito-borne diseases. In the campaigns entire communities including the young and aged participated and removed the bushes and other waste materials dumped on the streets and buried them in pits. This exercise was done at frequent intervals to ensure a sustainable change. This effort brought cohesiveness regardless of age and motivated people to keep the entire community clean.
Community Small Projects: This was called a resiliency building activity specifically as the activity had a very intense focus on communities’ capability to initiate, maintain, sustain and evaluate an activity that would bring some developmental scheme for the community people. Small projects were identified, planned, initiated and managed by the communities with the help of volunteers and about one-third of financial help was provided from the NGO project budget. These small projects fostered group identity, cohesion, partnership and a spirit of working collectively to identify local problems and find appropriate solutions that were culturally and traditionally appropriate. Small projects were intended to prepare healthy and safe communities by providing opportunities to develop social networks and contribute to the program by mobilising locally available resources. Small projects like waste management, refurbishment of library, tailoring unit, computer training, children’s park, providing play materials to youth clubs, were undertaken by the people in the communities. In every project community people made a significant contribution in terms of voluntary hours, providing space, giving a financial contribution and also organised sponsorship for the community projects and had monitored and sustained these efforts.
The Tsunami rehabilitation project in Kanyakumari was a combination of various psychosocial activities through the community development program where building coping and resiliency were considered very important. Therefore all activities that assisted in enhancing the capability of the community people through community participation became the keys. The grasping of the innate capital existing in the community and respecting the community’s own notions of well-being and resilience assisted the projects in reaching their goals. Building resilience in terms of community capital addressed the need to make disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery efforts more appealing to project partners and the stakeholders from the government. The key seemed to be when the local stakeholders from vulnerable populations were also involved in disaster planning processes. Certainly the notion of capital is one that is well recognised by social workers as well as planners. Thus, using community capital to describe matters related to resilience and recovery in our view would facilitate more meaningful dialogue amongst all stakeholders. In the final analysis the authors recognise that disasters affect different forms of capital in different ways including the cultural capital within the community. In the case of the Tsunami in Kanyakumari it was evident that the survivors left no stone unturned in developing their resilience and recovery. Understanding the availability of local community forms of capital, how they are related, and how to access and use them can help to offset policy-related challenges to resilience and recovery. In the initial days of the project while project staff interacted with the key community leaders, functionaries of local institutions, formal, informal community groups and organisations, the acceptance of the program was seen and gradually active participation was achieved (Bhadra & Pratheepa, 2009). Finally the process of engaging the community in active participation after a disaster is the most critical step by using the community organisation principles and process. The initial passive participation included giving consent to the program, joining in the program on call, but as the program needed to get active participation, the essential considerations became to obtain more of the community people’s voluntary time and energy, contribution in organising the program by providing resources, utilising human capital (i.e. skills) in the program and establishing stronger social capital (i.e. social support and networks) for the programmatic benefits.
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