Poor planning of participation

The issue

Time and convenience are crucial to community participation in resilience plans and actions – but are rarely considered.

Convenience is the number one reason why community members participate in resilience-building processes. 

Key facts

Community consultation meetings on risk reduction plans and initiatives often clash with people’s work and childcare commitments.

When scheduling consultations governments rarely consider potential ethnic or religious differences that can hinder the participation of some people.

Some community members think participation in disaster planning is a waste of their time.


“To attend local government meetings I have to cross three rivers. It takes two hours and several modes of transport.”

— Dologobinda Samal, Odisha, India


When people’s time is considered carefully communities are more likely to take part in consultations on resilience plans and actions.

Governments must take into account people’s work and childcare commitments, farmers’ seasonal calendars, as well as ethnic and religious differences, to ensure that everyone can be involved.

When parents are responsible for child-rearing, there will be times in the day when it’s not convenient to leave home. Where people work out of town, government consultations during working hours aren’t convenient. In many communities these roles are traditionally undertaken by women and men respectively.

Timing is the key determining factor for women, people affected by disabilities and the elderly to participate.

In times of disaster, consultation with communities is more important than ever, but people are busy just trying to survive. Experience of GNDR members during the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that consultation with communities can help governments get timely information on their needs.

Anecdotally, some civil society organisations say that community members have developed research fatigue. Coupled with a potentially long journey to a municipal office for a consultation, participation may not feel like a good use of their time.


All Views from the Frontline data is publicly available to explore online – with options to disaggregate by country, respondent type and more. You can also find out about the survey methodology.

References and photos

Photo (top): A woman with her baby in Senegal. Two-thirds of community members who took part in Views from the Frontline in the country report that they are rarely engaged by the government in assessing threats, disaster planning and policy making, and implementing actions. Credit: Srijan Nandan/GNDR

Photo and quote (above): Dologobinda Samal, 63, a resident of Jayasankhpur, India, took part in the Views from the Frontline survey. An accident two years ago means he is unable to walk. He says: “I have requested a battery operated tricycle several times in the Panchayat (village council) but no one listens. At sixty-three, it is difficult for me to use a hand-driven tricycle. In the monsoon season it would be helpful to evacuate quickly.” Credit: Sarika Gulati/GNDR