INCREASE Conducts First Session of The Cross-Learning Platform for Resilience-Building
The first week of July marked the implementation of the first session of the INCREASE Cross-Learning Platform for Resilience-Building, an initiative that aims to bridge the gap among INCREASE partners and knowledge-sharing, particularly because of the restrictions brought about by the pandemic.
Climate change and ecosystem degradation place new demands on disaster risk reduction approaches. Philippines: Increasing the Resilience to Natural Hazards (INCREASE) Project, leveraging on the decade-worth of learnings from the PfR programme and other projects implemented by CARE and partners, advocates to mainstream Integrated Risk Management (IRM) as an enhanced, holistic approach to increase community resilience by integrating disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and ecosystem management and restoration.
Following INCREASE’s commitment to place at-risk and vulnerable communities at the center of resilience building, we aim to engage our partner communities not only in the design and development of early warning systems, early action protocols, and emergency procedures in the process of developing their contingency plans, but more importantly, in working with their local DRR committee members, as they jointly test these actions and systems through community drills, among other simulation exercises.
Conducting community drills have been proven effective in testing whether community members are able to interpret early warning information correctly and duly execute operational procedures for evacuation and protection of their households and livelihoods. Further, DRR committee members are also tested whether they are able to work closely with community members, provide timely information, evacuate and rescue affected persons, and consider targeted support for vulnerable persons, following different scenarios (e.g. worst case, amid a pandemic, etc.)
However, the feasibility of conducting community drills amid a public health emergency where social distancing protocols are enforced, as well as in conflict-affected areas with mobilisation restrictions, still remain to be seen and are presently put on hold in many areas.
Thus, considering alternative approaches to conducting drills through mixed modalities (i.e. virtual, face-to-face, or a hybrid of both), and how effectiveness can be strengthened with other activities (i.e. household- and community-level IEC campaigns) is a forward-looking approach DRR practitioners can look into.
This session was aimed at achieving the following objectives:
- Reviewing key characteristics of an effective tabletop exercise (conducted in lieu / or in support to community drills);
- Going through the three main phases conducting remote tabletop exercises, referring back to main steps discussed in Part 1
- Conducting a sample simulation exercise testing the capacity of INCREASE barangay / municipal DRR committee partner participants
- Demonstrating participants’ familiarity of a contingency plan (based on the sample CP) and how it translates to actual actions
- Gathering feedback on participants’ experience from the simulation exercise, and identifying areas that need further localization and adoption
- Sharing key learnings on community inclusion and participation in DRR activities
With over 90 participants from Cagayan, Mt. Province, Surigao del Sur, and Northern Samar, INCREASE conducted the first virtual, Remote [Mock] Tabletop Exercise or RTTX which is an adaptive measure to ensuring the continuation of resilience- and capacity-building for DRRM in lieu of face-to-face community drills. Some attending partners participated in the session through mixed modalities, facilitators virtually present while the participatns from the same local government attended as a group.
The Cross-Learning Platform for Resilience-Building is set for three more sessions until October.
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