Disaster Resilience Planning—the Crafting of an Action-Oriented Approach Using Scenario Planning and the Case of the Kere, Southern Madagascar

  • Maixent Isidore Ralaingita

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    Resilience provides individuals and communities with the capacity to surmount adversity. For the last two decades, a variety of policies, projects and programs, both private and public, have sought to support the resilience capacities of at-risk communities. In disaster management, most community-aimed endeavors now aim to address and promote resilience, or more specifically, disaster resilience. Despite global interest and growing popularity, the application of concepts associated with disaster resilience in practice remains confused and problematic. Assessment of the relevant literature points to two interrelated gaps causing a practicality conundrum: the inadequacy of available operable holistic disaster resilience planning frameworks, and the lack of realistic disaster resilience implementation tools. In addressing these two fundamental gaps, this
    dissertation seeks to re-invigorate debate on effective application of disaster resilience, through the demonstration of an approach that empowers practitioners and communities to identify, comprehend, design, and implement inclusive disaster resilience practices. This developmental inquiry is based on a real-world disaster resilience planning case study.

    To achieve this aim, this dissertation research used a phased strategy of design and development focused action-research and deployed a case study method, utilizing a qualitative interpretivist approach. The Kere phenomenon that occurs in the southern part of the Island of Madagascar, which since the early 1900s has manifested as a recurring chronic and debilitating famine and poverty-causing socioecological disaster, was selected for the case study focused on two Kere prone regional governorates. The inquiry followed a sequence of four phases, as per the principle of design and development research Type-2: literature review and research design; data gathering, design and development; prototyping; and issuance of final artefact. Three data gathering methods were utilized: Focus Group Discussions, Participatory Scenario Planning, and the Delphi Technique. Focus Group Discussions and Participatory Scenario Planning were carried out in the Kere territory with the participation of 103 adult individuals; the Delphi method was remotely carried out with four technical experts.

    Key findings were twofold. First, the literature study uncovered a lack of disaster resilience practicality—specifically, an overfocus of research on theory, definitional polysemy and disagreement on conceptual meaning. Second, the empirical study of the Kere and Southern Madagascan’s resilience to it found that the Kere is a complex, socioecological disaster and peoples’ resilience to it is scant, haphazard and highly dependent on exogenous aid. These findings informed, enriched and were incorporated in the design and development of an innovative Evolving Resilience Planning Framework (ERPF) incorporating direct local community and stakeholder participation that can be used generically as a tool for addressing disaster resilience applications. Crafted from the Kere resilience planning, the ERPF is comprised of three nested steps: understanding the disaster; undertaking systemic resilience appraisal; and strategic resilience planning. The ERPF is a significant output of this dissertation since it addressesidentified research gaps and proffers an effective solution to the disaster resilience practicality conundrum.

    Date of Award2022
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorGretchen Ennis (Supervisor), Jeremy Russell-Smith (Supervisor), Kamaljit Sangha (Supervisor) & Thierry Razanakoto (Supervisor)

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