Making Communities Safer

This community in Batticaloa worked together to renovate the bund which also doubles as the main access road to the village. Photograph: Nipuna Kumbalathara/Oxfam

We support communities exposed to and affected by disasters, climate change and conflict to lessen, prepare for and survive these shocks.

Our goals:

  • Members of vulnerable communities, particularly women and girls, will be more resilient to the adverse impacts of natural hazards, climate change and conflict.
  • Community members, especially women and girls, affected by disasters, will be provided assistance and protection by responsible authorities and civil society with support from the international community.
  • Government and private sector will be influenced to provide resources for reducing and mitigating risks and in responding to humanitarian crisis.

What we do:

We work to strengthen communities to be better prepared for disaster, to work together to reduce the impacts and to hold the government authorities to account for disaster preparedness and response. We support non-governmental and community-based organisations to respond to emergencies and fill gaps if the Government is overwhelmed. All areas of our work contribute to building stronger communities, and Oxfam promotes inclusive community-based Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) with government and partners for wider acceptance.  By working with the academia to establish better research evidence, we plan to strategically influence the business sector to invest in reducing risks and securing their supply chains.

In disaster response, Oxfam helps assess the damages and supports the responsible authorities to assist all affected communities. We advocate that the service delivery must be without bias and include those at high risk and are difficult to reach. In the event of extreme disasters and in situations where affected members of communities, especially women and girls, face extreme risks, we step in to save lives, both directly and with partners. In times of emergency, Oxfam will use its role as the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) coordination cluster lead to facilitate the exchange of information with the government agencies.

In DRR and humanitarian response work, we work together with Sri Lankan civil society, international organisations, Government and the private sector.

As a result:

  • To mitigate the impacts of disasters, the DRR plans of most disadvantaged and at-risk communities will be funded and supported by government authorities.
  • The private sector will invest in strengthening vulnerable communities against disaster.
  • Through early warning and coordinated responses to emergencies, lives are being saved and suffering will be minimised.
  • Better disaster preparedness and responses are built upon scientific evidence, assessment of responses and lessons learnt.