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Effectiveness of post-disaster aid examined

Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Effectiveness of post-disaster aid examined

The effectiveness of post-disaster aid is a focus of PhD study by psychology student Heather Taylor.

Ms Taylor's research into the role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in disaster management, primarily in the post-event stage, will take her to Indonesia in April. “My research will examines the idea that aid programmes would be more effective if they worked more closely with the community and better understood local culture,” she says.

The postgraduate student at the Joint Centre for Disaster Research on the Wellington campus says NGOs and donor countries are heavily involved in disaster management, particularly reconstruction and rehabilitation, through the funding and management of projects.

“My aim is to create a model of what an effective intervention programme would look like. I want to offer an answer the question of what an NGO should do when disaster strikes.”

Ms Taylor will examine projects in Indonesia to determine suitable sites and programmes. She will visit the island of Nias, which is still recovering from an earthquake in 2005, Yogyakarta (2006 earthquake) and communities around Mt. Merapi affected by this frequently active volcano. She will compare projects run by NGOs, those that are locally-operated or run by foreign managers, and projects that were requested by communities versus ones suggested by NGOs.

Measures of the effectiveness of reconstruction projects include their ability to minimise future risk, their long-term sustainability, and improvement in the quality of life for recipients.

She is supervised by Associate Professor David Johnston from the centre, Professor Stuart Carr from the School of Psychology and Associate Professor Robin Peace from the School of People, Environment and Planning.


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