Community participation in planning, construction and maintenance

Published: 11 July 2019
Last edited: 11 July 2019

Often disaster risk reduction measures are either not effectively meeting the needs of the affected people or are not sustainable in the long term. This can be caused by insufficient involvement of local people in the planning, construction and maintenance of such measures. People in the result do not feel enough responsibility and expect that the organizations, which had built the measures would also care for them.


The participation of local communities in the planning ensured that their knowledge is integrated and their needs and concerns are addressed. They became involved in the construction works and made substantial contributions in form of voluntary communal labour (so-called hashar) and locally available materials. This created a strong sense of ownership.The communities in an informal social selection process identified people with suitable technical and social capacity and appointed appointed them as persons responsible for future maintenance. They will call the community for joint work if necessary.


The persons in charge of caring for the protective measures get as a reward the right to use fuel and forage produced by the protective vegetation.


Alliance and partnership development
Communication, outreach and awareness building
Technical interventions and infrastructure
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution
Planning phase

Enabling factors

The tradition of voluntary communal labour (so-called hashar) was an important enabling factor. In a hashar people work jointly on an individual or community project and the beneficiaries provide them with food.


The access to special benefits in form of fuel wood and forage additionally stimulated people to take over long-term responsibility. The other people see this right to use certain resources as a rightful reward for taking the responsibility for the protective structures.

Lessons learned

For the success and long-term sustainability it is crucial to involve the community in all stages from planning over implementation to maintenance. The most effective way is to identify people with a high motivation and interest, which can act as initiators and drivers of the process and mobilize other community members.