Community Action

community-action1What makes a habitation safe? Habitation safety is assured by an infrastructure of physical assets combining with institution of social norms and community collective action, which govern the use and sustainability of these assets.  What makes individuals to be collective and cooperate with each other?

Human beings are rationale. They pursue their self well being all their lives on the path they believe will take them through.

In the history of human kind, the intelligent human beings have time and again demonstrated the rationale that the welfare, safety and security of individuals lie in community cohesion and collective action.

community-action2It is important to understand why some communities possess the capacities for collective action for an entirely endogenous solution, address common risks and ensure mutual safety, and why some communities can’t do so! Several studies have been conducted to understanding the community collective action for common interest, and most of the time it concluded that (i) finding self-interest in community interest, (ii) associating social norms, and social bonding with individual safety and progress, are the two most significant factors for an individual to participating in community collective action and ensuring safe habitation.

Several studies around “common property resource management” have suggested that, it takes a run of dynamic processes for communities to evolve an institution of norms, governance and revenue sharing mechanisms from common property resources. But communities come together relatively much faster may be for the purpose of safety against a perceived risk or natural hazards.

Strength and sustenance of community action varies according to the depth of risk and intensity of hazard. However, the community perception of risk sometimes gets over powered by the perceived opportunity of advancing short term economic progress.  Many times we witnessed, that the impact of major disasters increases when the post disaster hazards meet with the decisions of short term economic support by the agencies. But the important question that is probably paramount in the minds of people, especially who worry for long term community safety and sustainability, is how to assist communities and ensure their direct access to long term economic sustenance and safe infrastructure?

There have been global efforts by several international and local organizations to usher community collectiveness for creating safe habitations with technical and financial assistance. These initiatives typically motivate the communities to assess natural and technological hazards, integrate mitigation efforts in daily life, develop skills and enhance economic opportunities. However, studies that evaluated, have repeatedly pointed out that these efforts of short term benefits are not withstanding, since the community motivation and its natural coping mechanisms gets heavily depended on these agency driven short term interventions, therefore after a point, either community participation reduces or they fail to understand the holistic approach of long term economic growth and related safety grounds.

Key Message: The need of the hour is to provide sustained education and awareness efforts to individuals and the communities to understand their actual role and inherent power in creating safer habitations, which otherwise can be achieved through active participation, (like-making contribution in policies and regulations) in mitigating long term risks than enhancing short term gains!!!!!

Disclaimer: This article is a reflection of author’s personal thoughts, and all rights reserved by SAFE CITIZEN.ORG