STEP 2. BUILDING RAPPORT WITH THE COMMUNITY
2.1 Building rapport and trust with the community
Building rapport and trust with the community is considered an invaluable part of the P3DM process. In the first place, the commitment and dedication of the local people to participate in the activity could depend on this relationship. Thus, community immersion and integration of the outside stakeholders such as the scientists and NGO workers to gain the trust of the local people is a must. Until a relationship based on trust between stakeholders outside and within the community has been achieved, it is not an ideal time for conducting P3DM. Building rapport with the community requires time. In some cases, it requires living within the community for a period of time especially in areas where local people are not used to visitors from the outside. Learning local language and culture is also necessary to communicate easily with the local people. To show to the local people the sincerity of the purpose of the activity, they should be implicated in the entire process. The local people should understandthat they are the key actors of the activity who should not just be involved but should also participate in the decision making process. To foster this process it is important to work in partnership with local organizations who have long term relationships with communities.
2.2 Identifying key stakeholders
This is also the ideal time to identify key stakeholders of the activity. Aside from local officials within the community, there could be other important persons who do not hold official designation but are trusted and respected by the local people for cultural and economic reasons (e.g. clan head, indigenous tribal chieftain, landowner, church or faith leaders, professionals, people’s organization leaders). The participation of these key persons within the community could convince the local people to participate in the activity without hesitations and suspicions. On the other hand, in some instances, the heavy involvement of leaders may also cause a barrier for equal participation amongst marginalized groups in the community so great care should be taken. In some other contexts, the facilitators may need to gain government permission to work with local communities, which proves particularly important to ensure both government and community buy in and participation in the activities.
2.3 Getting to know the community
The initial rapport-building stage also provides room for better understanding the community, its needs and priorities, as well as for collecting secondary data which often proves useful afterwards when conducting the actual mapping activities. Those include historical chronicles, censuses, local government records (across a wide array of sectors, e.g. housing, education, health, agriculture, fisheries, industry, politics), project reports and academic publications. This data collection process should cover a wide range of stakeholders (e.g. local community, government, NGOs, scientists, private sector) at different scales (local but also provincial/regional and national). It is particularly important to focus on past disasters to be aware of the potential impact of hazardous events and predict issues which may arise during the mapping activities and therefore anticipate appropriate facilitation. This baseline survey often constitutes a key factor of success in conducting P3DM for DRR activities.
At this stage, several participatory methodologies can be used to gather data, consult the local people while identifying key stakeholders and preparing them to get involved in decision making. Key-informant interview, focus group discussions, Venn diagrams, and participatory observation methods are just a few of the participatory methods that can be used. Venn diagrams, for instance, can be used to understand the relationship between the local people and the key persons and organizations (Figure 1).