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Survivor-Led Response: Local recommendations to operationalise building back better

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rebecca Murphy , Mark Pelling, Helen Adams, Simone Di Vincez, Emma Visman

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-142
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Early online date24 Apr 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Apr 2018


King's Authors


Despite decades of interventions, emergency response is yet to be integrated effectively with long-term development.
NGOs have suggested resilience as a potential framework for bridging this gap. Simultaneously, there
has been a push towards localisation in development programming and a call for a shift of power towards those
affected by crises. However, resilience is a largely theoretical concept that has been driven from the top-down
and as such lacks local voice and a means for practical implementation. This paper responds by investigating
resilience building as a mechanism to align short term humanitarian aid with longer-term development from the
perspective of crises survivors and local field staff involved in eight humanitarian interventions. Transformative,
adaptive and absorptive modes of resilience are identified. Six mechanisms for Survivor-Led Response are
proposed: psycho-social support, early livelihood support, community empowerment, community cohesion,
government collaboration and addressing the root causes of vulnerability. Survivor-Led Response and reconstruction
show demonstrable ability to enhance local capacity and improve development prospects and, as
such, should remain an overarching ambition of humanitarian interventions in the context of the SDGs and Build
Back Better agenda.

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