What can we learn from Caribbean style community engagement?
Road Town, Tortola is the capital of the British Virgin Islands. The hydrological catchment of Road Town is characterised by steep Ghuts which carry water down the slopes through the flatter Road Town basin then out to sea. Flooding following the passing of tropical storms is an ongoing issue for the town. Road Town experienced the worst flooding in recent memory in August 2017.
A flood risk reduction study in Road Town has highlighted how different their approach to community engagement is when compared to the UK.
The government of the BVI is direct in its communications with the community. The direct nature of their communication and community engagement is an inherent guiding principle in all they do. There is a strong community focus to all decisions made by the government. The challenge with this community focussed approach is that many decisions are made and implemented based on conversation, opinion and consensus, there is very little space for quantitative evidence to inform decisions.
The project is aiming to take advantage of the extensive community engagement matrix but create space for analysis and evidence (modelling, mapping) to make a real effective difference to how flood risk is managed in Road Town.
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