The role of knowledge in resilience
In Year 2, the Alliance spent considerable time generating knowledge to share with decision-makers to influence policy, spending, and practice changes. We saw clearly documented success, as discussed in section 2.0, particularly at the country level where teams have: •
- Connected advocacy, knowledge generation, and dissemination to existing opportunities. Teams have tailored Alliance knowledge to fulfil stakeholder needs and priorities.
- Conducted research or used the FRMC to provide locally contextualised quantitative evidence to ground policy recommendations. Alliance teams have spent considerable time and resources conducting research, generating research products, and presenting that research to key stakeholders to influence change.
- Demonstrated long-term success of community actions to back up advocacy asks. Alliance organisations involved in Phase I of the programme have been able to gain considerable traction around resilience projects and strategies they implemented in Phase I during Phase II.
FRMC as a foundational approach for building resilience
The FRMC is a key approach within the Alliance for generating and enabling uptake of knowledge. The FRMC supports measurement of flood resilience through its 5C-4R framework. Over the past year its role as a foundational support tool for the resilience building process has manifested in manifold ways including:
- As a decision support tool for both community programming and policy change, the FRMC generates data on community resilience gaps and strengths. This data helps to generate resilience strategies and solutions by allowing users to connect knowledge generated to gaps through a systematic exploration of: (1) how gaps and strengths interact, (2) entry points for action, and (3) co-benefits of particular activities across a range of sectors to build resilience. Donors, organisations, and governments are starting to see the value of utilising the FRMC approach to aid community programming.
- As a capacity development tool, the FRMC cultivates a foundation for shared understanding of flood resilience, thus providing a platform for relationship building with and between community members and local government. Specifically, the tool fosters systems thinking which is fundamental to resilience and which supports informed decision-making. The capacity building functionality of the FRMC has resulted from an underlying and enabling Alliance structure that prioritises responsive internal learning to close knowledge gaps.
Although the FRMC is resource and time intensive, the success resulting from its use is illustrative of the importance of investing in a structured learning process to aid resilience programming. Community activities generated through the FRMC process may appear similar to business as usual, however the way in which they are selected by communities is not. By leading implementing organisations and local stakeholders through a structured learning process, the FRMC concretises the otherwise ‘fuzzy’ concept of resilience and builds their understanding. Their capacity to engage in and sustain the right resilience choices is also greatly enhanced.
Resilience during crisis
The Alliance was founded with a focus on flood resilience and has intentionally resisted shifting to a multi-hazard focus. However, with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, we recognised the need to quickly adapt our practices in the context of compound risk to ensure that flood risk continues to be recognised and planned for even as attention globally shifted to the pandemic.
We also realised that our flood resilience knowledge, processes, and tools, because of their foundation in systems-thinking, could be leveraged to address current compound risk conditions - both flood and disease risk - and build multi-hazard resilience.
All Alliance teams mobilised rapidly to assess stakeholder needs and opportunities to engage those stakeholders in the new Covid-19 context. Our advocacy teams conducted context analyses to identify key information gaps faced by governments, help them manage the crisis, and bring light to compound risk issues. By supporting government in their Covid-19 response and recovery, we are also maintaining relationships critical for improving flood resilience policy in the long-term.
Alliance community programming teams have applied relevant FRMC data to identify pandemic-related resilience gaps and generate evidence on systemic risk related to those resilience gaps. In particular, teams have been able to repurpose knowledge of community demographics, health systems access and WASH, livelihoods, risk awareness, and communications systems and channels to address the emergent risk from Covid-19 at the local through global levels. Finally, community-based groups formed or strengthened by Alliance teams have pivoted to provide their communities and local government with much needed information related to Covid-19.