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Caribbean Disaster Mitigation and Community Empowerment Initiative UNITED CARIBBEAN TRUST-Caribbean Mitigation

Mitigation Challenges

Discuss how best to overcome the following challenges to initiating or completing mitigation projects with
emergency managers and CBO/FBO participants.

Scenario 1 - Personal Agenda City
In Personal Agenda City, community members are somewhat enthusiastic but also cautious about involvement in
a disaster mitigation project. The reasons:
• Fragmentation and disagreements among local government leaders
• Imminent closure of a local disaster recovery organization due to lack of funding
• Personal agenda, presented by one of the local CBO leaders, that presents a barrier to the
inclusivity needed for successful completion of the project

Scenario 2 - Lack of Leadershipville
In Lack of Leadershipville, interest in mitigation efforts is high. However, local CBOs/FBOs are confused
regarding the difference between disaster mitigation and preparedness. Additionally, the local emergency
manager has resigned and left a void in leadership.

Scenario 3 - Lack of Funding, USA
In the multi-ethnic city of Lack of Funding, community members initially display high levels of enthusiasm about
mitigation initiatives. However, because of lack of funding and a high level of government and outsider distrust,
no project moves forward.

Best Practices
The following are practices and processes that have been found to be effective in integrating FBOs and CBOs
into disaster mitigation programs across the country. These concepts and approaches are employed in
communities that have successfully integrated CBOs and FBOs in grassroots disaster mitigation activities.

Discuss how these apply in your community.

1. Help individuals and CBO/FBO groups understand what role they might play in creating their own disaster-resistant environment, as well as how they can work with others to build a disaster-resistant community. Individuals appear to be more motivated and enthusiastic when the focus is on empowering
them to take charge of their own safety and reduce their disaster risk.

2. Identify and recruit at least one champion or “cheerleader” for the process of enrolling the FBOs and
CBOs in working together to create disaster-resistant communities. These are people with “fire in the belly,” whose enthusiasm is contagious, and who are able to rally excitement – both within and among groups.

3. Educate groups and individuals on the importance of disaster mitigation and the benefits they and the community will see from working to reduce disaster risk. Clearly define and communicate how these benefits relate to each group’s mission, purpose, and goals.

4. Find simple ways to educate people about the main mission of the mitigation program, and develop a common understanding of vision and goals. Help them recognize the community’s risks and opportunities to work together to mitigate risk. A shared vision helps individuals and groups overcome potential and actual differences.

5. Involve the organizations in the mitigation planning process from the beginning, if possible, so they can
be invested in the program and feel a sense of ownership in it.

6. Take advantage of partnerships that naturally arise after a disaster. Nurture and build momentum after the urgency of the recovery effort is past.

7. Take advantage of, and actively encourage the process of “satellite networking.” Contact ambassadors
from different groups, and obtain their support and involvement. Ask them to carry the excitement to their groups, and encourage their group members to carry it further, within the individual group, and
within groups with which each person is involved.

8. Work collaboratively and inclusively. Share ideas. Give everyone a chance to contribute and “buy in” to the overall goal. Invite everyone appropriate to the table

9. Be flexible in all ways possible – in thinking, planning, approach, and action.

10. Be persistent, and keep a positive, “can-do” attitude. Brainstorm ways to overcome obstacles. If a project doesn’t work out the way it was initially envisioned, find another way to make it work or to capture value from the work that was done.

11. Keep information and approaches simple; get rid of “government-ese” and complicated language.
Simplify, simplify, simplify.

12. Maintain an ongoing list of projects and activities to sustain momentum and keep excitement alive. Make sure all groups and individuals are aware of this list, and how they could be supporting the various projects in which they are not already involved.

13. Be generous in recognizing volunteers and donors.

14. Adopt project ideas from other groups, agencies, and communities; most of them are glad to share what
they have learned and what has worked for them. Keep a good idea going by replicating projects in different parts of the community and from group to group.

15. Publicize successes to increase awareness and create a bandwagon effect. Use local media, neighborhood gatherings, and meetings of clubs, civic groups, and professional associations to create and maintain interest. Also, favorable publicity for groups and/or individuals can bolster their motivation
to continue with the process.

16. Recruit intermediary groups and/or individuals to network with potential partners reluctant to interface
with official authorities.

17. Create a structure that allows for autonomy so that individual FBO/CBO partners can conduct independent mitigation projects aimed at achieving the overall common goal. The goal is to centralize communication, rather than governance or control.

18. Teach new skills that would be valuable in mitigation projects (e.g., amateur radio and emergency
communication, safety retrofit skills, power tool use, etc.)

19. Engage the entire community in mitigation through intergenerational and multidimensional projects that
incorporate diverse groups, such as children, the elderly, the disabled, and groups that supply diversity socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, and faith backgrounds.

20. Demonstrate respect and sensitivity for each group’s knowledge, perspective, cultural background, and
internal governance structure (either formal or informal).

21. Recognize and address language diversity.

22. Identify a central point of contact for information exchange and referral.

23. Be assertive in asking for support and resources; think “outside the box” regarding potential partners,
volunteers, financial sources, and in-kind donors.

24. Strive to cultivate input and buy-in from the bottom up.

25. Emphasize public outreach, education, and other interaction so participants understand why and how
they can be involved.

26. Be able to articulate success of the program to the entire community.

27. Foster work groups that will produce tangible results – not just studies or recommendations.

28. Look at ways to obtain additional funding and keep the momentum going under the umbrella of mitigation.

29.Couple educational outreach with hands-on projects.

30. A monitoring program or annual plan update can help keep the project on the front burner.

Resource Guide: For more information tips on implementing community-based predisaster mitigation programs, refer to the Resource Guide. Acknowledgements
Successfully completing a project of this scale requires the time and commitment of hundreds of people. The success of the FEMA Integration of Community- and Faith-Based Organizations into
Local Pre-Disaster Mitigation study relied on a national Peer Review Team, as well as the generosity of the communities that graciously contributed their time, energy, commitment, and
enthusiasm to our success. We would like to thank the following individuals and communities for their tireless efforts in support of our goal: Making our communities safer for everyone.


Sourced from FEMA

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