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Examples of Impact and Engagement

DDN research has focussed on how people in marginalised locations can control ecological and socio-economic risks. The risks, frequently thought to be a result of climate change, resurgent pathogens or physical instability have also been found to be exacerbated by intersecting socio-economic vulnerability and local systems of governance. DDN research funded by DFID, ESRC, and NERC elaborates, in practical terms, the paradigm of disaster risk reduction through enhanced community resilience.

Examples also show how community self-organisation, sense of security and health attributes can define resilience to disaster. Research supported by DFID, WHO, UNICEF and other partners showed how risks to health can be reduced by improving local management, allowing communities to play a major role in identifying and managing risk. Whilst risk perception is usually guided by visible assessments, individual cognition and local context, community involvement in local governance has proven to facilitate collective control and responsibility.

Further projects, including those supported by DFID and the British Council, have shown that whilst it is difficult to overcome natural environmental influences it is possible to reduce the ‘anthropogenic landscape’ effect of human activities that contribute to environmental disasters and other risks. DDN research demonstrates the viability of community based risk reduction approaches and roles of varied institutions in disaster prevention. Projects have focussed on primary resources such as water supply, the importance of children in disaster risk reduction and rights based approaches using participatory action research, such as for example in Southern Africa where increasing numbers of children are orphaned by HIV and AIDS. Other activities have involved more quantitative methods. 

NEWS - Northumbria research into disaster resilience secures top 20 spot in UK university rankings


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