Dissertation Abstracts

Youth Council Participation in Community-based Disaster Risk Reduction in Infanta and Makati, Philippines

Author: Glenn F Fernandez, glenn.fernandez@gmail.com
Department: Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies
University: Kyoto University, Japan
Supervisor: Rajib Shaw
Year of completion: 2015
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: disaster risk reduction , youth council , youth participation , community
Areas of Research: Disasters , Youth , Participation, Organizational Democracy and Self-Management


Participatory disaster risk reduction (DRR) is becoming an increasingly integral approach in enhancing community disaster resilience as it has the potential to make initiatives more sustainable, integrative, and empowering. The Hyogo Framework for Action 2005–2015 promotes participatory DRR and states that both communities and local authorities should be empowered to manage and reduce disaster risk by having access to the necessary information, resources, and authority to implement actions. In the Philippines, the necessity of participatory DRR is made more prominent by the need to develop and strengthen local disaster prevention, mitigation, response, and recovery capacities to complement national capacities. The Philippines is one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries and has been consistently among the top five countries with the highest number of reported disaster events in the last eight years. With the passage of Republic Act 10121 in 2010, the Philippine government has officially adopted Community-based Disaster Risk Reduction (CBDRR) as a model to engage communities in DRR undertaking, with the hope that heightened involvement would translate to communities being more responsive and self-managing when emergencies arise. Analytical research on the capacity of the youth to help reduce the impact of disasters is largely missing. Reliable data on the actual number of young people participating in DRR activities are very limited. Scientific journal articles on the subject rarely provide information on the magnitude of youth involvement in DRR projects and programs. Evidence confirming the value of young people’s participation in DRR should be compiled in order to make the case for youth participation stronger and more convincing. It is very important to increase our knowledge of young people’s capacities in order to better understand the roles that they can play in reducing personal and community vulnerability and to effectively design and implement programs that encourage their active involvement. The Filipino youth have been highly encouraged to participate in politics and governance and the Philippines is the only country in the world that has a formal mechanism of involving the youth sector in the local governance of all of its 42,000 villages, through the Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council, SK). Given their wide distribution across the country and their ability to integrate DRR into their activities, this research aims to investigate the potential of the Youth Councils as an effective vehicle for youth participation in CBDRR in the Philippines by attempting to answer these research questions: (1) How have the SKs responded to the different international frameworks and national policies related to youth participation in DRR? (2) How have the SKs interacted with other DRR actors and stakeholders and how can current networks and relationships be enhanced toward more meaningful involvement of the youth in DRR initiatives? (3) How effective were past SK DRR activities in contributing to community disaster resilience and what can be done to improve SK DRR activities so that these activities can be more relevant and responsive to the needs of the village?