On June 20, 2013, southern Alberta experienced heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding, described by the provincial government as the most severe, damaging, and costly disaster in Alberta’s history. 32 states of local emergency were declared and 28 emergency operations centres were opened. Five lives were lost and over 100,000 people were evacuated from their homes.
In response, the RbD lab generated principles and ideas to work with flood-affected communities to better understand and improve the experiences of children and youth, aged 13-22 years old, and their communities in the post-disaster recovery process.
The Resilience Social Innovation lab process (R-SIL) was designed as a set of experiential process-based workshops or ‘labs’ based on the steps of a child and youth-friendly social innovation process, and tested initially with a diverse group of 40 youths from Southern Alberta who had experienced the 2013 floods.
The RbD research team worked with a group of committed community and system stakeholders to conduct the labs to improve understanding of the factors that contribute to resiliency among children and youth in post-disaster recovery:
The process generated information to better understand the flood’s effects on young people’s lives, and their perspectives on the recovery process with their families and communities.
As an output of the social innovation process, the youth generated prototypes for community resilience initiatives that they implemented with the support of mentors and community connectors.
The Alberta Resilient Communities (youth-stream) contributed to the development of innovative youth-informed resources, tools, guides, and frameworks for a positive impact on resilience and disaster recovery.
Using arts, technology, storytelling, and other creative methods, youth designed resilience initiatives that addressed disaster and climate change-related problems relevant to their communities.
These initiatives created space for youth to:
- meaningfully and creatively share their perspectives
- drove positive change into their environment
- encouraged ethical consumer habits
- ostered critical thinking skills, and
- deepened the ability of people to respond and communicate after a disaster.
To maximize their reach and strengthen their projects, youth partnered with adult allies and local thought-leaders in their communities.