Sunday, June 5, 2011

Pictorial tools encourage dynamic processes that permit a holistic evaluation of risks and resiliency factors

Joseph O. Prewitt Diaz[1], PhD

Pictorial tools in disaster-affected communities promote, participatory processes and dynamic processes that encourage disaster-affected people to initiate a self-propelled process of recovery. Disaster-affected people have the freedom to device their own methods of resolving problems by developing intervention that will work for them.

Pictorial tools are simple and provide a powerful space to elicit complex solutions. They keep the affected people active by providing the opportunity to think about the information being presented. These tools are used to search and identify different alternatives to attend to community needs.  One such tool, community mapping, promotes self and community knowledge that leads to community guided decision-making.

Participatory processes are used in such a way that they enhance the perspective between and within gender, and diverse community groups. Marginalized people may use illustrations to formulate a story and communicate their needs to stakeholders. Using illustration has increased group thinking and encouraging proposing organizational approaches.

The results of establishing equivalence lead to highlighting the importance of visual literacy amongst the affected people. By attempting to use pictorial tools universally, disaster-affected people develop the ability to (1) understand and make visual statements, (2) understand the world around them visually, (3) understand relationships, and systems of which they are part off, and (4) integrate personal experience and imagination with social and psychological experience.

[1] . Dr. Prewitt Diaz is Visiting Professor and Director of the Center for the Study of Disaster Law and Policy, School of Law, University of Puerto Rico. He is the recipient of the 2008 APA International Humanitarian Award. 

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