Students from the Research Alliance for Disaster and Risk Reduction (RADAR)’s Disaster Risk Studies course took part in a fieldtrip to Touws River, Western Cape, South Africa from 4-7 May, 2015 to conduct a Community Risk Assessment (CRA) for residents living in the lower income suburbs of the settlement which has been plagued with issues of poverty, substance abuse, crime and flood risk.
RADAR, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the Stellenbosch University in South Africa is part of the Periperi U (Partners Enhancing Resilience for People Exposed to Risks) Consortium which is an IRDR International Centre of Excellence for Risk Education and Learning (IRDR ICoE-REaL).
The field trip gave students valuable lessons and experiences in conducting community engagement and risk assessments, and their report compiled from this data served as guidance to the community and local government for future risk reduction and management initiatives. The students met with community stakeholders and discussed prevailing issues and risks experienced by the residents. On the second day, members of the community took part in participatory risk assessment workshops. During these sessions, students sat with community members and asked questions concerning risk settlement issues, including the use of “problem trees’, ‘risk history tables’, ‘livelihood calendars’ as well as ‘community risk mapping’, which produced some very in-depth and colorful results.
The third day saw students continue their research by doing a ‘transect’ walk of the study site. The walk allowed students to see the settlement through the eyes of its residents, walking with and talking to them about issues and concerns highlighted at the previous days workshops.
On the final day, the students were invited to visit the Aquila Game lodge to witness the success behind the sustainable business and learn more about its contribution to the localities’ employment and economic needs of people in Touws River.
To see more photos of the CRA, please visit the RADAR – Research Alliance for Disaster and Risk Reduction Facebook page.