Tuesday, September 5, 2023

๐Ÿ’ชIMEA: "The case for Investing in Community Resilience: Social Capital as a currency after a Disaster Response." ๐Ÿ’ช

 ๐Ÿ’ชImagine Pacific Envisioned Analysis (IMEA): "The case for Investing in Community Resilience: Social Capital as a currency after a Disaster Response." ๐Ÿ’ช

๐Ÿ’ญ I. Imagine...

A future where disaster-affected communities are rebuilt with resilience, powered by the strength of their social capital. In this vision, communities come together through volunteerism and community building, creating deep social connections and civic engagement that safeguard the vulnerable during disasters and foster collective strength.

๐Ÿ’ก II. Imagined Endstate:

Envision a world where communities are not just physically prepared for disasters but socially and emotionally resilient. Communities in this future proactively cultivate social capital, which becomes the bedrock of their resilience. Through volunteerism, civic engagement, and mutual support, they are well-prepared to face disasters, ensuring that no one is left behind in times of crisis.

๐Ÿ’ผ III. What's the Case:

Every disaster, whether natural or man-made, reveals vulnerabilities not just in our lifesaving essential resources like our medical supply chain; it also impacts the very fabric of our communities. Disasters lay bare the inequities and shortcomings in our collective ability to respond and recover. Ensuring the swift delivery of essential life-saving resources during a crisis is crucial for saving lives, but resilience is necessary for the community to carry on in the aftermath.

As evident in the Maui wildfire of 2023, though the local, state, and federal responses were needed and necessary, the community remained the linchpin and guidepost for recovery. It was quickly recognized that the most reliable, nimblest, and dependable resources communities had were the communities in and of themselves. Here it was proven that the benefit of social capital in a response was valuable and substantial. Communities were bound by deep social connections, civic engagement, and adherence to the cultural significance of the “sense of place”. It allowed for an environment of community-based mutual support that safeguarded the vulnerable and fostered a collective strength for those impacted by disasters.

๐Ÿ”Ž IV. Consider This:

Fig 1. Provides a Table of Methods How to Invest with Social Capital in Disaster Response:

Fig 1:  Social Capital Methods (SCM)

(SCM) Descriptions

Citizen Involvement

Ordinary citizens are often the initial first responders in emergencies, providing invaluable assistance to affected communities.

Digital Volunteerism

Advanced tech enables digital volunteerism, allowing remote contributions.

Cultural Competency Experts

Informal volunteers can provide much-needed expertise in understanding the host culture of the community to aid in the response effort.

Data Analysts

Adaptive and projected impact models provide avenues for better planning and strategy in the response.

Cooperation and Coordination Liaisons

Field experts can create avenues for responders to interact and message their efforts to the community.

Observers and Recorders

Capturing data that can be used in research is needed and will be beneficial in future disasters that impact communities.

๐Ÿ“š V. Research This:

1.     Whittaker, J., McLennan, B. J., & Handmer, J. (July 2015). A review of informal volunteerism in emergencies and disasters: Definition, opportunities, and challenges. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 13(4).

2.     U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (February 9, 2023). Fact Sheet: COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Transition Roadmap.

3.     Homeland Security News Wire. (19 August 2023). Hurricanes Have Become Deadlier, Especially for Socially Vulnerable.

4.      Schwartz, G. (2023, August 9). Community Preparedness for the Socially & Civically Isolated.

5.     IMSPARK: Disaster Resilience with Community Building and Volunteerism, August 25, 2023, Imagine Pacific Pulse

6.     IMSPARK: Imagine Empowered Communities in Disaster Response: Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), August 17, 2023, Imagine Pacific Pulse

๐ŸŒ VI. Secondary Benefits for Communities:

1.     Enhanced Disaster Resilience: Social capital allows communities to withstand disasters with resilience, ensuring that even the most vulnerable are protected.

2.     Inclusive Preparedness: Ensures vulnerable and marginalized communities, including those with impairments, have access to accommodations, vital medicines, and treatment.

3.     Unity and Support: In an era of increasing loneliness and isolation, embedding social capital into emergency strategies fosters unity, support, and resilience. Socially isolated individuals become integrated into a network of mutual aid.

๐Ÿ“Š VII. QR Reader Survey:

To better understand the importance of social capital in disaster response, we invite readers to participate in our QR Reader Survey. Your insights will contribute to Imagine Pacific’s understanding and assessment of how communities leverage social capital for resilience.

๐Ÿ“ข VIII. Call to Action:

We call upon communities, organizations, and policymakers to recognize the pivotal role of social capital in disaster response. Here's how you can make a difference:

1.     Support Initiatives: Back initiatives that promote volunteerism, civic engagement, and community building.

2.     Engage with Communities: Reach out to vulnerable and marginalized communities, ensuring they have access to necessary accommodations, vital resources, safety and security.

3.     Embrace Unity: Encourage unity and support within your community. Support networks that work toward the mission leaving no one behind in times of crisis.

4.     Advocate for Inclusivity: Advocate for inclusivity in disaster preparedness strategies. Every individual, regardless of abilities, deserves protection from the threat of disasters.

5.     Collaborate: Encourage local organizations and authorities to integrate social capital into emergency responses.

๐Ÿค IX. Conclusion:

In a world where disaster response is often measured in terms of resources and logistics, let us not forget the most valuable resource of all - the strength of our communities bound by social capital. The most crucial asset to ensure stays online is the power of community. If we successfully sustain this most vital utility, we can create a world where disaster response isn't just about recovery; it's about building stronger, more resilient communities that can recover from any disaster.

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