Community Risk Assessment Toolkit

What is Community Risk Assessment (CRA)?

Community Risk Assessment (CRA) uses participatory action research methods to place communities in the lead role for the assessment, active planning, design, implementation and evaluation of activities aimed at reducing the community’s risk to disaster. Whether they are rural, urban or semi-urban neighbourhoods, it is crucial that communities exposed to hazards can contribute to the risk assessment and planning process. CRA focuses on identifying the most vulnerable groups in a community, and explores what local capacities can be used to enhance the resilience of the community members. The risks facing a community can include natural hazards, such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and droughts, as well as other threats such as environmental health risks, epidemics or conflict.

CRA forms part of community based disaster risk management (CBDRM). Once a community has assessed the risks it faces and an action plan has been developed, disaster risk reduction measures need to be taken. These measures might include practical disaster mitigation measures, such as building dams or dykes, forming emergency response committees, developing community based early warning systems and practicing response and evacuation, advocating at the local or national government level for policy change in favour of preventive action, or even measures to reinforce the livelihoods of the poorest in the community, hence their resources for self-protection.

For more information on CRA and CBDRM, please see the FAQ page or visit the additional links section.

Why this Toolkit?

Over the last two decades a diverse range of community level risk assessment methods have been developed and field tested, mainly by NGOs and community based organisations. ProVention, in collaboration with the Disaster Mitigation Programme for Sustainable Livelihoods (DiMP) at the University of Cape Town, and Dr. Ben Wisner, launched the CRA toolkit in May 2006. This web based tool documents various CRA methods and applications and assists users in identifying a method or case study of particular relevance to their context. The CRA Toolkit is part of the wider ProVention-supported 'Community Risk Assessment and Action Planning' project.

What does the Toolkit contain?

The Toolkit has four main parts:

  • A collection of methodologies and case studies. For most methods and case studies, a 3-6 paged guidance note summarises the resource and enables users of the CRA Toolkit to identify the most appropriate assessment methodologies and applications. Each guidance note provides a detailed analysis of the method and case study concerned and presents a brief abstract.
  • A search tool, which allows users to carry out a search according to a wide range of predetermined categories.
  • A glossary of terms provides a detailed description of the different CRA concepts, methods and tools.
  • Additional links to CRA, Community Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM) and participatory materials

Who is the Toolkit for?

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.

If you would like to give feedback on the Toolkit or would like to submit your organisation's method or case study for inclusion in the Toolkit, please contact

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