Building Resilient Communities

All individuals and societies face challenges – be they environmental, economic, cultural or social – and must respond to change. How each prepares for and responses to these challenges is often as important as the solution that is implemented. Resilient communities recognize the importance of addressing issues of sustainability, inclusion, social justice and equity as they strive to create solutions.

Developing effective preparation and response mechanisms requires an approach that focuses on the role of communities in building local, national, and ultimately global resilience. The Coady Institute’s approach starts with ordinary citizens and their local organizations and aims to acknowledge their existing capacities and potential; strengthen their ability to organize to use these assets to address problems for themselves, see possibilities, seize opportunities within volatile environments, and use their initiative as leverage for external assistance as they require.

Citizen-Led Sustainable Change

Over 150 community development practitioners, policymakers, researchers and funders from the U.S. and Canada met to share insights and explore 11 case studies of successful citizen-led and community-driven developments in both countries during a major forum hosted by StFX’s Extension Department and the Coady International Institute.

The forum, entitled Citizen-Led Sustainable Change: Innovations in North American Community Development, took place June 23-25, 2013, at StFX’s Gerald Schwartz School of Business and the Coady Institute.

Case study authors and community leaders gathered to share best practices among a wide range of development practitioners, researchers and policymakers from across North America, along with intermediaries and funders who support community-driven social and economic innovations.

For more information on the case studies, please click here.


In these times communities face challenges – be they environmental, economic, cultural or social. Resilient communities are ones that are able  draw on their own resources, assess future impacts, and respond positively while simultaneously addressing issues of sustainability, inclusion, and social justice. Resilient communities thrive by creating their own future well-being by enhancing their abilities to respond to difficulties and leverage the support they need for sustainable change. Coady’s suite of certificates in this area includes Climate Basics for Community Resilience, Community-led Action in a Changing Climate, and Building Resilient Communities. Each certificate stands on its own, and can also be combined with certificates in other thematic areas.

The Coady International Institute’s education programs are highly participatory courses designed to deepen the understanding and effectiveness of leaders working in these areas. A wide variety of presentation, case study, and experiential and participatory education methods are used in the programs. The programs give leaders the opportunity to share ideas and to exchange experiences with global peers, to benefit from the expertise and field experience of skilled facilitators, and to gain insight and inspiration from innovations and relevant action research from around the world.