An analysis of the role of social capital in disaster risk management and climate change adaptation: Case in study peri-urban Peru and rural Nepal

While previous research on social capital and disaster risk management has tended to focus on urban and rural settings separately, this study uses a case study approach to compare how social capital shapes disaster response in peri-urban and rural settings, frequently affected by flooding. Social capital refers to social ties, norms, and networks that facilitate group or individual access to resources. Social capital has a collective dimension, and its benefits are generally shared by members of a community. Communities with a high stock of social capital are better equipped to collectively and effectively respond to disasters. Various forms of social capital bonding, bridging and linking provide a comprehensive strategy for disaster response. Using qualitative key informant interviews and focus group discussions, the study examines ways in which communities utilise social capital to respond to disasters. Results indicate that vulnerable communities rely on their social networks to provide immediate support and aid the dissemination of risk information from Early Warning Systems. Participants also describe the process of social capital formation; it depended on the motivations and differing internal and external capacities of vulnerable communities. It was observed that policy could enhance social capital through institutions and leadership, education, community narratives, migration, and resettlement activities. This study concludes that social capital is relevant in both rural and peri-urban contexts and has a potential for improving disaster response and climate change adaptation strategies.

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