12 principles of support
Based upon the exploratory conversations with over 80 people who are playing or have played a role in disaster recovery, these themes, or support principles, came to the fore.
As a prerequisite to the principles, a common message was that organisations, leaders, funders, must understand how disaster recovery differs from usual practice. 'Business-as-usual' (BaU) does not fit the recovery context—like trying to force a square peg into a round hole. Likewise, an appreciation for the complexity, the greyness and the inherent chaos involved in recovery is crucial. Recovery is an iterative process. It evolves. Like most complex social processes—it cannot be predicted, controlled, or rigidly planned.
We need to strike from the lexicon 'business as usual'. This is our business now and the usual is what we are knowing now. Anne Leadbeater – Kinglake Ranges
If you value ordered and structured and neat, then everyone will fail in their role in recovery. Accept the fact that
recovery is messy. Don't impose firm order. Bend and flex a bit. Kate Brady – Australian Red Cross
Recovery is about taking opportunities to grow great communities following hardship. Great communities emerge on the backs of great people. It is improbable that there will ever be a better return for your efforts or people more deserving of your support.
Local staff and volunteers might not have the network and resources that delegates or managers have, but you cannot achieve without them. Keep them and keep them well. Louise Steen Kryger – IFRC PS Centre
While wellbeing should be everybody’s responsibility and considered in all you do, there needs to be dedicated roles or responsibilities for creating and supporting the framework, expectations and systems, for raising awareness, providing training, monitoring levels and measuring the effectiveness of initiatives put in place.
Create connection opportunities for supporters in order to normalise struggles, offload frustrations with those who understand, and to problem solve. Build connections within the team and the organisation, with peers facing similar challenges from other organisations, with professional supervisors, with those who have previous lived experience of a role in disaster recovery...
One the greatest sources of stress, is the perception that those higher up the chain don’t ‘get it’ – they don’t understand the challenges or the realities within the affected communities. If you want to support, find ways to increase your understanding of the realities on the ground.