Resilience is Capacity

Project: Learning Project 1st March 2018

In emergencies across the Philippines, the first responders are also the people closest to survivors – relatives and friends included.

In spite of meager resources, relatives accepted family members who were affected by the conflict in Marawi into their homes. Over 80% of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Marawi were reportedly home-based IDPs. Home-based IDPs can be found across the Philippines, particularly in areas reeling with the effects of natural disasters and conflicts.

In a disaster-prone country such as the Philippines, resilience as capacity must be inculcated in each household and community. Households are no longer just affected communities, but also survivors and responders.

ECOWEB, or Ecosystems Work for Essential Benefits, one of the first local NGOs which responded in the Marawi Conflict, noted the importance of Survivor-Led Response (SLR). The key principles of SLR convey that humanitarian response is not only about delivering assistance; it is a process of contributing to longer-term objectives of peoples’ empowerment. This approach is particularly relevant to the Philippine context where the majority of affected communities experience pre-existing poverty (i.e. prior to the occurrence of disasters and conflicts). Potentially, the response becomes an opportunity to move beyond alleviating human suffering towards catalyzing people’s empowerment.

Further, SLR emphasizes that affected people are not victims, they are survivors with capacity needing support for survival and recovery. This capacity is not missing, absent, or lost but it is something which must be recognized and harnessed.

ECOWEB, in a presentation during the Localization Conference in Manila, shared that the SLR approach strengthens local capacity; empowers and dignifies because survivors are not victims; fosters expression of citizens’ right to participate and claim accountability; rooted in the local culture, values and mutual help traditions; and helps address the root causes of the crisis. This approach complements the call towards localizing humanitarian response, essentially, a more effective response because it places communities at the heart of the response, after all, the humanitarian system exists because of them – because of their strength and will to survive.

On 14-15 March, the DEPP Learning Project will be convening donors, NGOs/NGO networks, government representatives, private sector, academic institutions, community representatives and practitioners working within the disasters and emergencies preparedness sector for the ‘Preparing for Shock: Is Preparedness the New Frontier?’  conference in Geneva. One of the plenary sessions will tackle community leadership and resilience. This is a vital and timely topic amidst emerging issues surrounding humanitarian response all over the globe. The conference will be an opportunity to elevate the importance of community resilience in the global discourse on preparedness.

For more information about the conference visit our events page here

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