The places we call home are continuously challenged with wide-ranging issues. The effects of such issues can oftentimes be greater on rural communities in particular than their suburban or urban neighbors. One approach to mitigate these effects involves building resiliency. Resilience refers to the capacity of an individual or community to cope with stress and adapt positively to change. It is a positive approach to promote greater well-being in rural communities.
Building a resilient community can serve as a protective factor from developing problems. Rural resiliency can also help communities when unforeseen factors occur such as floods, drought, mud slides or large company shut downs.
Community resilience is a complex construct with many interrelated factors. One issue impacts and overlaps many things. For example, social, environment and economic issues may seem different, but they all have an impact on each other. Economic issues impact all facets of a community. Infrastructure as a part of an economic issue includes water, transportation, and telecommunications are important tools. These economic issues are important to allow people in the community to carry out daily activities. Infrastructure as a part of rural resiliency is necessary to help the community function and provide support service to many different aspects such as housing and employment. The absence of these services within a community is detrimental to the quality of life of a community and its members.
What can members of a community do to enhance resiliency?
- Know how to access the support and services that are available.
- Collaborate with a wide variety of groups to apply for funding.
- Share resources and facilities collaboratively.
- Anticipate problems and brain storm solutions.
- Identify gaps in infrastructure and support services.
- Develop short term and long term goals.
There are many resources available for communities to enhance rural resiliency. If you have any questions or would like more information contact Cynthia Bond at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Submitted by Cindy Bond, Assistant Professor and County Extension Educator, Guernsey County & Crossroads EERA)