Community rebuilding


August 18th, 2009

iStock_Tree regenI’m writing this as I’m watching a 7.30 Report on the rebuilding of Marysville, pretty much destroyed in the Feb 7 bushfires earlier this year. Live blogging a TV report, I guess. There’s concerns expressed by members of the community about the pace of the process, and ‘safe, unresponsive’ government authorities. Too much bureacracy. Too many committees. Result. Warring factions. Frustration. Finger pointing.

Oh my.

I can’t be sure what’s going on but I can take a pretty good stab. It seems that decisions are still being made by the Bushfire Recovery Authority on behalf of the community. Or maybe they’re organising meetings with an independent facilitator so as the community can make decisions about their future. These actions are necessary and reasonable immediately after a disaster, but six months later? By now, local people should have been given support – training, for example – on how to facilitate their own gatherings, make their own decisions and the authorities should have moved to a background, support role. The Government – State and Local – want the ‘community to be united’. That’s not going to happen until the community is ALSO given the authority and responsibility of making their own decisions about their future and the rebuilding of their town and their community.

If you would like information on the role of facilitation in response to disasters, there’s a wealth of information on the Global Facilitators’ Service Corps (a not-for-profit group) website. You can also listen to a podcast with Dr Gil Brenson Lazan, a world authority on community recovery after disasters.

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