STEP 8

STEP 8. INTEGRATING LOCAL AND OUSTIDERS’ KNOWLEDGE

8.1 Integrating local and outsiders’ knowledge

One  of  the  main  assets  and  advantages  of  using  P3DM  for  disaster  risk assessment  is  that  it  allows  for  the  integration  of  local  and  outsiders’ knowledge.  Indeed,  P3DM  makes  local  knowledge  credible  to  scientists and government officials. In contrast to most other forms of participatory mapping, the exact scale of a 3D map through P3DM allows scientists to delineate threatened zones in their expected extent as they usually do on topographic  maps  or  computer-based  tools.  Because  the  map  is  scaled and  geo-referenced,  scientists  are  able  to  rigorously  integrate  their  own knowledge with local people’s data.

It  is  therefore  suggested  that  P3DM  involve  stakeholders  beyond  the community, especially scientists and local officials, so that it builds upon a large and integrated set of knowledge. P3DM enables marginalized people, including the illiterate who may have a limited grasp of scientific concepts, to  discuss  DRR  with  scientists  who,  on  the  other  hand,  may  have  a  poor understanding of the local context. P3DM is often acceptable to both local people  who  built  the  map  and  plotted  most  of  the  information,  and  to scientists who could easily overlap their own data. P3DM thus contributes to the  empowerment  of  the  most  marginalized  individuals  by  granting them access to scientific knowledge and by rendering credible their own knowledge in the eyes of local officials and scientists. It therefore balances the power relationship between local people and scientists.

8.2 Facilitating the dialogue between members of the community and outsiders

Ideally, outsiders, whether they are scientists or local government officials, participate  throughout  the  P3DM  activities.  This  fosters  rapport  building and facilitates the reproduction of the methodology by local government officials  in  neighboring  villages  afterwards  (Figures  45  and  46).  In  certain cases, however, such a strategy may intimidate the local participants who may  be  out  powered  by  outsiders.  In  that  case  the  facilitator  has  to  be very careful and try to limit the contribution of outsiders while raising the confidence of the local participants by emphasizing their knowledge.

Figure 45: Climatologists plotting hazard-prone areas on a 3D map in Bourg Saint-Maurice, France (JC  Gaillard, May 2010)

Figure 45: Climatologists plotting hazard-prone areas on a 3D map in Bourg Saint-Maurice, France (JC Gaillard, May 2010)

In  other  instances,  it  is  impossible  to  get  outside  stakeholders  involved for  the  entire  duration  of  the  activities,  as  their  schedules  limit  their involvement.  In  this  case,  specific  sessions  during  their  available  time. In  that  context,  specific  sessions  should  be  organised  to  facilitate dialogue between members of the local community and scientists or local government officials. Such specific sessions have to be carefully facilitated to avoid unbalanced power relationships.

Figure 46:  Specific session conducted for facilitating dialogue between the local community and the  municipal planning officer (in red shirt on the right) and a volcanologist (in yellow shirt on center right)  who are all discussing potential lahar hazard on a 3D map in Irosin, Philippines (JC Gaillard, January 2010)

Figure 46: Specific session conducted for facilitating dialogue between the local community and the municipal planning officer (in red shirt on the right) and a volcanologist (in yellow shirt on center right) who are all discussing potential lahar hazard on a 3D map in Irosin, Philippines (JC Gaillard, January 2010)

If properly moderated such multi-stakeholder sessions prove powerful and enable the integration of both local and outsiders’ knowledge into disaster risk assessment.

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