By the community, for the community
Resilient Villages is a three-year pilot project which has been funded by the Federal Government’s Preparing Australian Communities Local Stream grant program, following the devastation of the 2019-20 bushfires.
The RV pilot project is one of a number of grant-funded projects in the Blue Mountains that have been underway since bushfires swept through the region in 2013, that aim to increase the resilience of our communities - street by street, one village at a time.
One defining feature of the RV project is that its vision is to see communities lead the engagement and consultation process at the grass-roots level. The RV team understand that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to managing the complex processes of response, recovery, and resilience cycles. As each community has its own, unique set of geographical, cultural and historical features that inform its response to, and recovery from disasters, we believe that these processes and features must be managed by the people that understand them the best - the community themselves.
Similarly, we believe that working in a community-led way to build local resilience means that local community members act as equal decision makers with a range of other stakeholders (such as local government, emergency services, service providers, business) to address issues which are priorities for their particular community.
Rather than enacting a top-down approach where decisions are made outside a community or are made by government or other formal authorities, community-led resilience building starts and continues with listening and collaborating on the priorities of community members.
The RV team believes that genuine ownership by the local community requires their active involvement in all aspects of resilience building, not merely consultation.
One practical example of how this approach can work lies in the area of information. While there is a mountain of information available on disaster risk and management, very little is locally generated. However, by drawing on local knowledge to design information and by working with information as a discussion, rather than a one-way process, community members can tailor information to their local context while also building support for community led work more generally.
The RV team also understand the need for transformative, systemic change and adaptation in the area of disaster preparedness and we are excited by the prospect of working side by side with you to help achieve this.
We look forward to listening and learning from you and in supporting you with our skills, resources and experience in the important and meaningful process of strengthening resilience in your community.
Residents of the communities of Bell, Clarence and Dargan come together on Sunday 28 August 2022 to celebrate the rebuilding of the Community Hall in Clarence which had been destroyed in the 2019/2021 bushfires