Developing Self Sustaining Communities Post SHTF

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Gerhard V. who hails from South Africa. Who says the topic of prepping is solely an American phenomenon?  If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share, even if you don’t live in another country, to possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.


The title of an article received on February 24 2016 – Thinking of Starting a Prepper Network? Think Again! – set me thinking: What a pleasure since I’ve joined up on communication with the Prepper Journal. At last a source of expert information that I can consume like a glutton. Yeah, it comes mostly from a US perspective and the thinking on prepping there has advanced to far greater lengths than where I live, but is it so different? NOT AT ALL.

For a little background (as in your part of the woods only selective information is spread which many times depict other communities as backward, alarmist and ‘well, you were looking for trouble’), here in my section of Terra firma some of us have been prepping as long as 180 years ago. I’m living proof that it was successful. My forebears broke away from their communities (very much like your confederates for which I have great respect) for both political and humanistic reasons (and to get out from under the oppression of the British and their bedfellows from our language group – known as Cape Dutch at the time – even today known as ‘joiners’). They set out to populate the northern parts of our country (which in truth was populated extremely sparsely by nomadic African tribes only, without permanent settlements with infrastructure and no industries apart from jihad-type excursions against other tribes living – at closest – a number of weeks’ trek away), in an attempt to live out their own ‘life and world ethos’ in peace with anybody present (so stated in a newspaper at their point of departure at the time).

As you would surely know, in 1994, the first (so-called) democratic election were held over here – a time seen with doom and gloom by more local people than just my ‘prepping’ kind – and news was rife with the stashes that some people assembled and the hideouts they prepared.

I personally have been ‘prepping’ for the last decade (after ’94), starting with information collection and sorting and then actually collecting and stashing (on a small-scale only – about a month’s stock of food and water – not all of us can afford the expansive prepping done by our US cousins). Even today many of my colleagues at work (whom I attempt to influence towards prepping) are quick to criticize me and my views (but promising me that they would pitch up for my protection as soon as the SHTF). My work is not done here. I have amassed a wealth of information of food and water storage and preservation; manufacturing of survival items; medicinal and first aid info and strategic considerations. In my slightly younger days I served in the part-time military forces for more than 20 years (and is actually qualified and served as officer commanding a part-time force military unit, known to us as commandos – now defunct).

The one thing I learned there is that LEADERSHIP in a crisis situation (but also in normal life) is invaluable. A tool of leadership taught to me in the military which is based on ‘executive problem solving’ principles, is affectionately known as an ‘appreciation’. Where this would be of great value could be after bugging out in relatively large numbers, and gathering in a place of concentration for survival – your typical ‘bug out destination’. Someone has to take the lead in directing people and managing them before a lack of knowing the WHAT, HOW, WHO and WHEN foment unrest. The creation of something like a ‘kibbutz’, a self could be the result. It is not purported that this tool has all the answers, but in my view it presents a lot of solutions if deployed by knowledgeable people. Consider it. Surely lots of readers will be able to improve on it.

The interpretation of the tool is based on the following concepts:

  1. Fact. Known or determinable information.
  2. Deduction. How the information collected as ‘fact’ can be either misused by the adversary, or positively used by self.
  3. Conclusion. The best way (within ability) to utilize the known or determinable knowledge (fact) to your advantage and the disadvantage of the adversary.

Obviously an appreciation ought to be structured so as to derive a ‘Plan for Survival’ (even called a Community Management Plan). For this purpose I have taken from the military (with glee) and added as a civilian (with more glee), to construct an implementable version of the ‘appreciation’. It should perhaps not be as rigid as the military would implement it, but also not lackadaisical to the extent that it loses credibility. The rest of this script will be devoted to the construct of the ‘appreciation’.

What leadership elements will your self sustaining communities need?

1. Appoint/select/elect (maybe implemented in that sequence) a Management Body (with teeth if unrest is to be expected) to direct influx and settlement. In my milieu that could include,

  • A flexible religious/spiritual leader (this needs to be exceptionally flexible as the existence of more than 40 000 denominations should indicate).
  • A Camp Commandant, who should act as the Safety Commander for people and areas.
  • A Housing Official, who allocates areas to individuals or groups (to live and utilize).
  • An Agricultural Official, who will direct all agricultural activities (in the expected scenario of a lengthy stay).
  • An Educational Official, who should direct the continued education and training of especially young incumbents (even if it’s only in terms of survival skills).
  • A Logistical Official (which may also enact hunting activities), for taking responsibility for replenishment of stocks of all kinds from within and without the bug out destination.
  • A Communications Official, for collecting and spreading the ‘news’.

Typically the following would be needed for a proper appreciation of the area (and this is borrowed from the military):

  • Prior access to the bug out destination (in this case an area for the concentration of an appreciable number of people) for about three days to a week for on-site inspection and provisional virtual deployment of people and areas.
  • Aerial photographs or Google Earth prints of the area.
  • Topographical maps (1:50 000) that indicate the concentration and adjacent areas.
  • Topographical map (1:250 000) that indicates fair distances in all directions.
  • If available, 1:10 000 scale maps of specific regions within the concentration area.
  • Soft board for attaching these maps, transparent plastic sheets to be used as overlays for the maps, permanent marking pens or wax pencils and flat-headed pins on which identification marks can be written.

8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio

The aspects which may be ‘appreciated’ should include (but is not necessarily limited to):


  • Objectives
  • Tactics and methods (known, determinable or foreseen)
  • Armaments and equipment (known, determinable, expected)
  • Infiltration and ‘ex’-filtration routes
  • Known position and numbers
  • Strong points
  • Weak points
  • Expected actions
  • Most probable behavior (priorities 1; 2 and 3)

Available own forces (a nucleus force should obviously deploy ASAP after arrival of the first incumbents to ensure safety as well as possible).

Protection element

  • Advance guard (members serviceable, semi-serviceable and low duty deployment) and armament;
  • Numbers deployed midway during concentration (serviceable, semi-serviceable and low duty deployment) and armament;
  • Numbers for final deployment once full complement of incumbents has arrived and armament.
  • First aid abilities.


Numbers required for other (non-safety) portfolios (Management Body) and level of expertise.

  • Spiritual (and social) support.
  • Protection (and security trainable).
  • Housing (not only allocation, but also waste management, water supply, co-operation with other portfolios – such as protection).
  • Agriculture (layout, levies, irrigation, planting and harvesting, distribution and storage).
  • Education and training.
  • Logistics (baking, brewing, candle stick making, poaching, hunting and what have you ….).
  • Communication (whether radio communications or runners).


  • Access routes from outside and pass ability.
  • Routes in concentration area and pass ability.
  • Water sources for human needs and irrigation.
  • Dominant areas in concentration and adjacent area (defensive lines and observation posts) [look for places to deploy 3; 10 and 30 people groups].
  • Habitable areas.
  • Agricultural areas.
  • Strategic places for establishing communication network (antennas, repeaters).
  • Occurrence of game or domestic animals (in concentration area and adjacent).
  • Adjacent areas useful for replenishment (and protection thereof by self or adversary).
  • Boundaries and defensibility.



  • Rain fall per season and impact on accessibility/passability.
  • Prevailing winds per season.
  • Moon phases (available light).
  • Day and night temperatures per season.

[Thus far the borrowed military considerations in respect of the ‘appreciation’]

‘Personnel’ Management

The following considerations are based on personal perceptions and thus only a suggestion (not even a recommendation, many people function differently to their perceived age):

  1. Numbers and name lists of people above 55 years of age with low deployment capabilities (repair and maintenance tasks only).
  2. Numbers and name lists of people 45 – 55 years of age for light or medium duty (e.g. construction/erection and establishment tasks)
  3. Intensive duty in age groups (e.g.) 15-20 (general deployment for all types of work); 20-35 (e.g. area protection); 35-45 (e.g. guard duty and agriculture); women 25-45 (education and sick and frail care); women above 45 (e.g. food preparation and preservation).
  4. Potential ‘kibbutz’ activities (apart from protection, housing and spiritual care) could include vegetable, fruit and grain cultivation; animal care; baking and brewing; manufacturing of survival goods (candles, soap, compost, cleaning oil, dehydrating foods, preserved foods, charcoal, tailoring and maintenance, etc.).
  5. Typically the more military activities (apart from actual defending and guard duty) could include musketry on range; reloading; dry battle drills exercises on foot and vehicular; first aid training; manufacturing bows and arrows, etc.

Foreseen elements of the final protection plan (as part of the broader ‘Community Management’ overall Plan):

  • Deployment of stationary guards (pickets) (places and numbers).
  • Close vicinity deployable reserves (places and numbers).
  • Overt observation posts.
  • Covert observation and listening posts (some in area, some outside) (time of deployment and retraction; short-term, medium term; longer term – with close vicinity protection reserves).
  • Practicing of emergency deployments for area domination (consider priorities 1; 2 and 3 as expected adversary actions).
  • Boundary and area patrols (day and night, intermittent routine).
  • External intelligence operations required (and possible plans for same).

That is as brief as I can ‘pen’ it down. Just maybe it can serve to prompt someone who is still contemplative, or get someone far more knowledgeable to improve vastly on the above. Maybe the editorial decision makers may even think it ‘OK’ to be published.

Regards and strength with the leadership role.


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  • Chuck Findlay

    I think the media has given you a somewhat rosy idea of prepping in the USA. While I;m sure there are a few of us that have lots of money to throw at prepping, the truth is that most all of us prep one step at a time, a few extra cans of food each trip to the store. I’m doing OK as I have been prepping since the early 1990’s and it’s (being frugal and living within my means) been a gradual thing.

    Population wise there are not that many preppers, I can count on one-hand the people I know that are serious preppers and still have a finger or two left over. I see serious preppers as more then people that fill up the pantry with food. I see it as a lifestyle and it’s very hard to find people willing to throw-off the consumerism mentality and get out of debt.

    I know there is a lot of web sites pushing $100.00 flashlights and other expensive things geared for preppers, but these are mostly bought by arm chair preppers that don’t really understand. If they did understand they would be spending that $100.00 on food and living with a $20.00 or less flashlight. Multiply this by the hundreds and you get people that look like their ready for the end of the world, but are actually ill prepared because they have limited food and have made no effort to grow their own.

    This is going to sound weird coming from a gun enthusiast that has at least 3-doz guns, LOTS of ammo and reloads. But most new preppers focus way too much on guns, and not enough on homesteading / self-sufficient skills. I have a lot of guns because it’s been a hobby for 35-years. But really you only need a few guns. But there is a lot f money in guns, and Hollyweird pushes them hard. That in itself is strange given most all Hollyweird actors are very anti-gun.

    Sadly I know of only one person I would want to partner up with that I feel I could really trust.

    Another real concern in The USA is the government has decided people that are self sufficient are a threat to it. Most all of us USA preppers don’t want to fight the government, we just want a good life. But it’s hard to have that when your government is building a list of people it thinks it will nee to subdue or lock up. You can survive an economic collapse, but not the government when it focuses cross-hairs on you. So many of us (myself included) are not easy to trust others we don’t know.

    I don’t know about other countries, but in The USA cops are gearing-up like crazy, they don’t look like cops any more they look like the military. And they are not taught to calm a situation down. They are taught to pull their gun and shoot for almost no reason. And almost all the time they get away with murdering people.

    • Arcangel911

      Or could I have 5- $20.00 flashlights???? Cause once that one goes dead or breaks… it’s now a $100 paperweight. If you can find paper that is.

  • Martin Reed

    built no survival communities in grt britain ?

  • Martin Reed

    or other countrys built any survival communities maxx?