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