As part of our holistic approach to delivering humanitarian assistance, Global Communities aims to identify ways to mitigate against future risks while delivering urgent, lifesaving assistance, and supporting households’ and communities’ ability to recover from natural and man-made disasters.

Our disaster risk reduction interventions mitigate the impacts of shocks on vulnerable populations; prevent the erosion of household assets and livelihoods; and accelerate recovery from humanitarian crises.

Disaster Risk Reduction


On January 12, 2010, a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, resulting in the loss of more than 230,000 lives and massive destruction. Global Communities responded immediately. With funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Global Communities launched a major recovery program that focused on large-scale rubble removal and recycling, cash-for-work, construction of transitional shelters and a new type of disaster response using a neighborhood approach.

For example, Global Communities implemented the groundbreaking $8.6 million urban reconstruction program in the neighborhood of Ravine Pintade in Port-au-Prince. In just under 18 months, the integrated approach provided rubble removal and shelter building services, while working with the community on green spaces, plots for schools and proper access roads to cover the basics of sustainable urban improvement.

The program was successful in creating a livable neighborhood with adequate shelter, basic services and other physical improvements. Essential to that success were community mobilization and trust-building efforts, since the support and cooperation of residents were required in order to increase the amount of useful public space. Community mobilization was fundamental in the enumeration process, where local participation fostered consensus on the status of occupancy, tenure and family condition and needs, and in coming up with workable plans for temporary relocation of families while new shelters were built.

Our Approach

In urban areas, our disaster risk reduction work includes utilizing a neighborhood approach to reduce the impact of disasters by improving the conditions of informal settlements, transforming them into safe, healthy and prosperous neighborhoods.

In other urban areas and camp settings, we provide infrastructure upgrades – such as critical improvements in roads and drainage systems – to mitigate the risks of flooding and health concerns caused by stagnant water.

In rural areas, our disaster risk reduction work is tailored to address the unique risks faced by rural communities. In these areas, our activities may include efforts to mitigate the risks of, and respond to, crop fires that would otherwise create devastating agricultural losses for vulnerable farmers.