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Unearthing Collective Wisdom: Strengthening Disaster Preparedness & Early Action with Participatory Learning and Action Tools and Principles

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Technical Guidance | Tools & Manuals
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Access PLA Resources in French

Early Warning Systems (EWSs) are an important part of achieving relief and development goals. Their purpose is to prevent and mitigate the effects of disasters—be they related to weather, conflict, or disease. Most EWSs, however, still focus on triggering action by governments and official stakeholders that enhances the timeliness and effectiveness of humanitarian relief efforts. While more attention is being given to designing people-centered EWSs, especially to developing the warnings, less progress has been made in understanding how best to elicit early preparation, prevention, and mitigation actions from the exposed and vulnerable populations themselves. Food for the Hungry conducted a comprehensive literature review based on decades of psychology, social and behavioral change theory, and practice to propose a socially- and behaviorally-informed approach to EWS design, development, and implementation. The approach focuses on identifying proper early actions and the determinants of those behaviors to improve the likelihood that affected populations heed early warnings and take proper action to protect themselves and the resources they may require for recovery. While the paper makes a strong case for applying a behavioral approach, it does not provide stakeholders with practical tools.

The purpose of this set of tools and resources is to equip EWS designers, implementers, and stakeholders with a simple methodology to identify behaviors that are potentially impactful and feasible for the affected populations and to identify the determinants that support or inhibit the adoption of these behaviors. You can access the PDF version of the PLA Tool here. The customizable version of the tool and complementary customizable PLA resources are  available for downloading and use through the following links: