Build a bridge

One the greatest sources of stress for those working in recovery, is the perception that others higher up the chain (within the organisation or in funders or recovery authorities) operate from a misaligned understanding of the challenges they face and the realities within the affected communities. It follows then that one of the most effective strategies for supporting those with a role in recovery is creating opportunities to increase the understanding of the faced realities.

You have to go to the team. They feel it acutely when you spend time in a community and in a team—but real quality time—not breezing in and giving an hour. If you can afford the time set up shop so you are around. Formal meetings might occur but what is really beneficial is the informal stuff you are exposed to. Have lunch with people. Listen and feed challenges up the chain—communicate ‘yep we’ve got that’ and keep people informed of the progress. You hold people’s trust and goodwill and let them know you’ve got their best interests at heart—even if you have to come back and say we couldn’t solve it—listen and demonstrate your intention; that engenders goodwill. John Richardson – Australian Red Cross

Take opportunities to let community leaders know they are not alone—that you are with them. Visit temporary houses and spend time, go to cultural meetings and festivals. And disseminate information about what is happening elsewhere across the country. Be a bridge between affected people and people elsewhere. Dr Toshiharu Makishima – Japanese Red Cross Medical Center

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