What is Community Resilience?
Community resilience is not a new concept; however, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated an important need to prioritize strengthening communities in the face of adversity. This looks different for every community, but we at AZCOVIDTXT-RH define community resilience as “the ability of rural people, households, communities, and systems to mitigate, adapt to, and recover from shocks and stresses in a manner that reduces chronic vulnerability and facilitates equity and wellbeing.”
Resilience is the ability to “bounce back.”
Specific examples of strengthening resilience within communities can include increasing access to health-related resources and services, engaging and prioritizing vulnerable or marginalized groups, and increasing community social connections and collaboration.
Why is resilience important?
More resilient communities (e.g., those that are more informed, more socially connected, and have access to resources) are more quickly able to overcome challenges and return to “normal” after experiencing disaster or hardships.
Through our platform, AZCOVIDTXT-RH hopes to contribute to building community resilience by incorporating health information on emerging health topics beyond COVID-19 alone to our users.
Why should it be a priority to build resilient, rural communities?
While rural communities are made up of resilient individuals, as a community they are often seen as vulnerable to certain disasters. This is largely because when compared to urban areas, rural communities often have limited local resources, including lower budgets for public health, less access to health resources, etc. Some of these limitations regarding resource allocation are difficult to combat (e.g., when certain funding is based on population estimates). However, these challenges present opportunities to build community resilience using other approaches to ensure that communities are able to recover more quickly from hardships or disasters.