Capacity building and disaster response : a case study of NGOs' response to Cyclone Evan in Samoa : a research report presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Masters of International Development at Massey University, New Zealand
With natural disasters increasing both in number and economic impact, the challenge for governments is to effectively respond to the needs of affected communities. In difficult conditions, and often with resource constraints, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have contributed to meeting the needs of affected communities during disaster responses. NGOs usually have flexible structures, which enable them to respond to a rapidly changing environment. They also often have strong links to the communities in which they work, which creates good synergies when responding to disasters. The involvement of NGOs in a disaster response has been discussed widely in the international community. The challenge is to ensure that NGOs have the capacity to respond effectively when the need arises.
This report has a particular focus on Samoa and uses a capacity building lens to investigate a disaster response. It looks closely at the ability of NGOs to assist the Samoan government in a disaster response. The report used a document analysis and semi-structured interviews, with representatives from NGOs involved in the response to Cyclone Evan in 2012, to investigate capacity building in NGOs with a view to enabling them to respond effectively in disaster.
The key finding of the report is that the ability of NGOs to form relationships with other stakeholders and to maintain those relationships between disaster responses is important to building partnerships that contribute to the effectiveness of a response.