Tools for Community Risk Assessment and Action Planning


Over the last six months the methodology and case study section of the CRA Toolkit has been further expanded: missing guidance notes have been completed, existing guidance notes updated and guidance and explanatory notes for 20 new CRA case studies developed. The Toolkit currently contains over 30 methodologies and more than 40 case studies. It is expected that by the end of October an additional 10 case studies will be added. Also 10 updates of existing notes will be included. A Project Advisory Committee, consisting of key CRA experts, has been set up. This has contributed to the identification of a number of new case studies and the refinement of some of the newly developed guidance notes and updates. The CRA Toolkit has been widely promoted at several DRR and climate workshops and conferences, such as the COP 13 meeting in Bali in December.

The CRA Network continues to function as an active community of practice of over 170 risk experts and practitioners, regularly sharing information and resources on CRA.


Project goal and objectives

The goal of this project is to reduce the socio-economic impacts of natural hazards on vulnerable populations through improving participatory analysis of hazards, vulnerabilities and capacities and action planning at the community level.

The expected outcomes of the project are:

  • A review of current tools for community risk assessment, definition of elements of 'good practice' and identification of gaps;
  • A web-based collection of community risk assessment methodologies and case studies, supported by guidance notes;
  • The development of an active network of CRA practitioners and researchers;
  • The dissemination of the project outputs in order to promote risk reduction activities which are developed, implemented and sustained by at-risk communities in developing countries.


Main project partners are the Disaster Mitigation Programme for Sustainable Livelihoods (DiMP), University of Cape Town, which has been developing the web based register of CRA methodologies and glossary, and Ben Wisner, who has been in charge of the development of the compendium of case studies and the additional resource section.

CRA Network partners include IFRC and the network of National Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies, several UN agencies and programmes, academic institutions and training centres, INGOs and CBOs.

Outputs & events


An International Workshop on 'Social Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis' was held in Geneva at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on May 25-26, 2004. The workshop brought together some 26 leading academics and practitioners from different organisations and countries, with representation from Central and Latin America, Southern Africa, South and South-East Asia, who contributed to the initiative through presentation of case studies, research and workshop discussion groups. Participants highlighted key elements of good practice in VCA but also identified a wide range of technical, social, conceptual and developmental gaps that await closure.

On May 31st - June 2nd, 2005, a second International Workshop on Community Risk Assessment was held in Cape Town, South Africa. Forty-five delegates from Africa, Asia, Europe, Pacific, Caribbean and Americas participated in this three day event. They critically discussed the strategic use of community risk assessment, whilst sharing experiences on community risk assessment. For more information, see the workshop background note (0.1MB, pdf) and the workshop report.

Participants to these two workshops stressed that while a diverse range of community level risk assessment methods have been developed and field tested over the past two decades, there is a need to document and analyse different methods and collect good practice case studies. ProVention, together with the Disaster Mitigation Programme for Sustainable Livelihoods (DiMP) at the University of Cape Town, and Dr. Ben Wisner, therefore collected CRA methods and case studies and launched the CRA Toolkit in May 2006.

The Toolkit's aim is to document and analyse existing hazard, vulnerability and capacity assessment methods and applications in order to improve current CRA practice and inform decision making on risk reduction at the national and sub-national levels. It contains methodological resources from many different organisations and case studies. Guidance notes have been developed which provides a detailed analysis and brief synthesis of case studies and methodologies. The CRA Toolkit was completed with a search tool, a glossary, and a selection of key links to community based disaster risk management and participation materials.

Intended users of the Toolkit are international NGOs and their partner organisations, local government staff, risk researchers and community based organisations, active in developmental and/or humanitarian work.

A mailing list (listserve) for the CRA Network which aims at facilitating the sharing of information and resources on CRA amongst risk experts and practitioners was set up. It currently contains 160 names. The list is used for:

  • Sharing relevant documents on CRA, such as methodologies, case studies, conceptual articles, workshop reports;
  • Announcing CRA events with a global or regional relevance, such as workshops or training seminars;
  • Informing network members about links to web-based CRA resources.

To subscribe to the list, please contact


The second project phase (December 2005 - May 2007) entailed testing and further development of the CRA Toolkit (search tool, glossary, resources section). At a workshop in Cape Town in 2006, the CRA Toolkit was extensively tested and participants were asked to recommend ways to improve and further expand it. One recommendation concerned the revision of the homepage. As a result, the content of the homepage was made more accessible for a lay audience and a Q&A section was added. Also a CRA Toolkit flyer was developed following suggestions made at the Cape Town workshop.

In October 2007, an article on the CRA Toolkit was published by ODI’s Humanitarian Practice Network.

Next Steps

Next steps include analysis of findings and lessons from the CRA toolkit for potential publication in an academic journal and the further strengthening of ties between the CRA project and the climate change adaptation community.


Related past activities include: