Harnessing informal education for community resilience

Shihui Feng, Liaquat Hossain, Douglas Paton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Disaster education is considered as a newly emerging area of research and practice, which promotes community-based educational approaches for building resilience. Given the atypical nature of these disturbances, people and communities need to develop the knowledge required to anticipate and understand what they could have to contend with and proactively develop strategies that can minimize their risk and afford ways to cope with and adapt to adverse situations in an effective manner. The purpose of this paper is to suggest that informal education resulting from daily activities related to work, family life, or leisure can be harnessed to develop disaster resilience within community settings. Design/methodology/approach: This conceptual paper provides the discussion and synthesis of literature covering community resilience, disaster risk reduction (DRR) and informal education. In doing so, this study proposes a conceptual framework and implementation strategies for harnessing informal education in building community resilience. Findings: To harness informal disaster education for community resilience, the authors suggest a conceptual framework and four implementation strategies with the corresponding implications: cultivate social environment for conversations, discussions, reflections and learning; design social activities for promoting and encouraging informal learning; appropriate interventions by informal educators in social activities; and transparent resources and channels for information and social supports. A compilation of a number of community-based DRR practices involving civil society organizations has been incorporated in the proposed framework for exemplifying informal disaster education for community resilience. Originality/value: Promoting informal education in community settings is aimed at building community resilience in a collective way, which is especially important in disaster-prone areas. Informal education for community resilience not only educates individuals how to deal with disasters, but also connects individuals together to be more resilient in their ability to cope or bounce back from adverse events in their life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-59
Number of pages17
JournalDisaster Prevention and Management: an international journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


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