Program on Resilient Communities

HHI’s Program on Resilient Communities uses evidence-based approaches to interpret how communities mitigate the impact of disasters. The program takes at its starting point the central role local communities play in disaster preparedness and response as the front line and locus for interactions with local civil society organizations, the private sector, national disaster management agencies, and the international humanitarian community.

High Ground: Disaster, Risk, and Resilience in the Philippines

DisasterNet - Philippines

DisasterNet is the core project of the Resilient Communities Program. DisasterNet seeks to support local and national capacity for disaster preparedness and response by enabling grassroots organizations to:

  • adopt evidence-based tools and practices
  • build leadership capacity
  • promote intellectual exchange across national and disciplinary boundaries.
  • leverage existing HHI best practices, data collection systems, and online educational tools to enhance research and training

DisasterNet will establish a foundation for better integrated, more coordinated, and effective evidence-based preparedness and response structures for humanitarian disasters.

Prioritizing Disaster Preparedness: The Albay Model

Featured Case Study

Upcoming Projects

Coastal Community Resilience

Our work examines how coastal communities are preparing to cope with impacts of climate change. We seek to understand:

  • How coastal community organizations learn from the science on climate change and disasters?
  • How do community-based organizations understand the threats posed by climate challenge?
  • What are the factors associated with communities leading as agents of their own change? 


Challenges like climate change and disasters require investments that lead to social change. Creating positive social change requires understanding who the key stakeholders are that play a part in or have some ownership in the problem and it requires an understanding of what benefits and losses these members will experience in order to get to an improved equilibrium. 

The exercise of leadership provides an opportunity for communities to take ownership in and resolve the problems they face in light of very major impacts from disasters. We incorporate leadership into our work with coastal communities through training for and with community-based organizations in the coastal communities we work with.

Disaster Networks

Two studies are being undertaken, one in the Philippines, and another in Bangladesh to provide insights into how communities, community-based organizations, local government, academia and other institutions interact. 

These studies will:

  • Map and define the system of groups working on community resilience and to identify the key features or characteristics of their interactions.
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses within the networks as a means of identifying intervention points for donors, governments, or NGOs. 

Featured Publications

This scoping study maps government, community-based organizations, NGOs, and others working on disaster preparedness and response in the Philippines.

This paper examines the interdependence between human and environmental systems, especially in the urban slum context.

This paper explores the policy and institutional mechanisms for disaster risk reduction management and research which have been conducted in the Philippines.

Ways to Get Involved

The DiasterNet team is always on the look out for students and researchers interested in this field.

 To find out how you can get involved email:

Vincenzo Bollettino


Director of Program on Resilient Communities / Research Associate
Research Director, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
Program Manager, Program on Resilient Communities
Research Consultant, DisasterNet - Philippines
Project Lead, DisasterNet Philippines
Research Assistant
Communications Specialist, DisasterNet Philippines