Implementing 'community development' in a post-disaster situation

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Community Development Journal, ISSN: 0010-3802, Vol: 48, Issue: 2, Page: 248-263

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Webber, Ruth; Jones, Kate
Oxford University Press (OUP)
Social Sciences; Sociology
article description
In 2009, after extremely severe bushfires in Victoria, Australia, social welfare agencies initiated recovery programmes. This paper examines the role played by three Catholic agencies over a three-year period as they sought to meet the needs of the bushfire-affected community in the recovery process. The recovery programmes began with the aim of using a community development approach to develop a sustainable response. The concept of community development was not defined at the commencement of the project so that there was flexibility in the way it was operationalized. The approach changed over time in response to changing conditions and the needs and responses of the community. After initially adopting the role of provider, the agencies increasingly adopted the roles of ally, facilitator and advocate. Not all projects received support from the community and others that were initially supported withered over time. The advocacy and capacity building work undertaken by the workers enabled community members to take a greater responsibility for existing and new projects. © Oxford University Press and Community Development Journal. 2012 All rights reserved.