“Preparing our Home” is a community-based resilience planning program. The program enables Indigenous youth to reach their potential in becoming emergency preparedness leaders in their communities.
In Canada, there are currently few initiatives that build the capacity of Indigenous youth leadership in emergency management, disaster risk reduction and climate change action. Examples in other countries (New Zealand, US) show that youth programs can help build, sustain, and improve community preparedness. “Preparing our Home” enhances activities directed at understanding risk from an inclusive people-centred community-based approach that connects youth, Elders and community members and weaves together Traditional Knowledge, Indigenous Science and Western Science. The program strengthens disaster resilience capabilities in Indigenous communities by building leadership through youth training and exercises.
The program is structured along the following activities (including some examples of implementation in different Nations):
Understanding risk: What do YOUth know?
Youth have an intimate knowledge of their communities, of social vulnerability (e.g. where elders live) and of their environment (as a highly mobile group). Using low-cost technology and participatory risk and asset mapping methodologies this phase allows youth to document hazards and risks faced.
Mitigation: what can be done to reduce the damage of the potential emergency event? Development of a Youth-led DRR Action Plan provides an opportunity to review and enhance community DRR, while incorporating scientific and Traditional Knowledge gathered by youth.
Preparedness: what can YOUth do to better prepare to emergencies personally, at home and as a community? Examples include delivery of community preparedness surveys; fridge magnets developed by the youth; evacuation road planning; social media communication campaigns).
Response: How can YOUth help during an emergency? (e.g. sand-bagging, help with food distribution, communication; door-to-door notification)
Recovery: How can YOUth help to recovery after an emergency? (physical recovery (debris removal) to social recovery (regularly visiting Elders to learn traditional language and heal together after emergencies).