Disaster Resilient: Future Ready
The Disaster Resilient: Future Ready program is a national initiative that aims to support and strengthen the capacity and capability of remote, rural & regional communities to thrive and be resilient to the impacts of climate, natural disasters and other disruptions.
The multi-year, place-based program takes a community-led approach to build knowledge of climate risks, encourage collaboration, catalyse leadership and facilitate collective action to strengthen social capital and build community resilience.
This program partners with specific place-based cohorts of communities. Learn more below.
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Why is community resilience so important?
The occurrence of natural disasters in rural, regional and remote communities is on the rise, with significant consequences, including mental health issues, impacts to health and wellbeing, and increased disadvantage.
Communities that are engaged, connected, empowered, and have high social capital tend to respond and recover better from natural disasters and other disruptions than those with less capacity in these areas. FRRR and our partners know that they are also best placed to determine the most effective approaches to building their capacity and capabilities for their situation and context.
How the program works
As a multi-faceted model incorporating facilitation and development support, grants, and action research, DR:FR is focused on supporting and building the evidence base for community-led processes that strengthen resilience to natural disasters and other major shocks and stressors. DR:FR invests in social capital and in fostering the enabling conditions required for collaboration and innovation within communities and the ecosystems they are part of. The table below outlines how we do this.
The Disaster Resilient: Future Ready program has three key impact areas:
Community Resilience: We work alongside people and communities to build on assets and catalyse leadership, collaboration and collective action that strengthens social capital and builds community resilience.
Collaborative & valued relationships: We facilitate cross-sector and inter-community collaboration and support stakeholders to be led by and work with communities to enhance their resilience.
Sector change: We advocate for community led resilience approaches across the sector, by leveraging and sharing insights from our embedded participatory action research process with communities.
This program partners with place-based cohorts of communities and is not currently open for applications.
If you and your community are not participating in a current cohort but are interested in community-led resilience and/or participating in DR:FR in the future, please get in touch.
Participatory Action Research
Working in partnership with the University of Sydney, the DR:FR program leverages participatory action research to understand, describe, and analyse what supports community resilience and preparedness for disasters. The action research team works alongside communities, FRRR and others to build capacity, facilitate action learning processes and guide evidence-based, contextually specific approaches to community resilience. Through this work, FRRR and program partners are developing an evidence-based framework and documenting practical methods, approaches and tools that communities can adapt to lead and strengthen resilience.
The history of DR:FR
The Disaster Resilient: Future Ready program began in 2017 after FRRR and program partners agreed that applied research was required to understand what it takes for communities to be better prepared, and critically, develop practical and evidence-based methods that communities can adapt to be Disaster Resilient:Future Ready. Since then, through the DR:FR program, FRRR and partners have been working with communities to explore, learn and build on their existing strengths and capacities with a specific focus on adaptive capacity and increasing resilience to natural disasters.
Read more about the history of the DR:FR program.
In 2015, FRRR and The Prince’s Trust Australia co-hosted a roundtable with a range of interested parties, including Red Cross Australia, Phoenix Australia, Regional Australia Institute, and several philanthropic organisations interested in disaster preparedness.
There was agreement among this group, and others, that research was required to understand what it takes for community groups to be better prepared, and critically, develop practical and evidence-based methods that communities can adapt to be Disaster Resilient: Future Ready.
Leveraging our experience in community support, bridging disaster recovery and preparedness with community development approaches, FRRR and program partners established Disaster Resilient: Future Ready in 2017 to work with communities and explore and understand effective approaches, methods and tools that support community resilience, and how resilience is defined and measured in different communities.
The program is underpinned by a participatory action research methodology, which supports partners to understand and measure the Process, Activities and Solutions at a program and community level.
Since 2017 the program has been developed over several stages including a Literature review, framework co-design and place-based pilots in NSW. It is now currently operating in the National Extension phase with place-based programs across Australia.
The first iteration of the Disaster Resilient: Future Ready program was piloted in three communities in NSW from 2017-2020. In response to learnings from the pilot project and new research and practices in disaster recovery and community-led resilience, the model has been reviewed and adapted for the Victorian iteration in 2021-23.
More partners welcome
If you share our views about the urgency of this issue and have an interest in working collaboratively to develop systemic, sustainable and community-led, place-based responses, we encourage you to read the resources above and get in touch to explore how you can join the partnership and be part of leveraging a solution. Please contact Nina O’Brien, Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead.
“Every dollar you spend upfront in some type of resilience initiative can be helpful to prevent the same recurring events that happen if all you do is respond after disasters.”
Joe Ruiz, Director of UPS Humanitarian Relief Program